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DOUBLOON by Jay Amberg


by Jay Amberg

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-765-30100-8
Publisher: Forge

Amberg follows up the police procedural Blackbird Singing (1998) with a Florida Keys thriller.

FADE IN: Storm-tossed treasure galleon sinks in the Florida straits. DISSOLVE TO: the near-present and Nick Gallagher, who abandoned job and family two decades ago to become a seagoing treasure-hunter out of Key West. We’re aboard the good ship Sea Devil when its intake valve bursts, floods the cabin, kills the generator, and turns the boat topside down, drowning Nick. In Chicago, Annapolis grad Jack Gallagher, a retired Navy fighter pilot who now flies for American Airlines, receives news of his father’s death and is called to Doubloon, Inc., Nick’s company in Key West. Jack finds that he’s inherited ten percent of Doubloon, which is run by a board and Nick’s second wife, Rita. Meanwhile, reporter Josie Hernández runs stories in the Key West Tribune hinting that Nick’s death was murder. Divorcé Jack falls in with Josie, and romance blooms along with the obligatory sex scene, but Josie remains a tough cookie and relentless investigator. Doubloon is being looked over as well by Robert Lee Beecham, director of the Florida Office of Antiquities, who thinks the company is cheating on taxes by selling antiquities undercover. And the state office that oversees salvage may revoke Doubloon’s license to hunt in a choice ocean area where Nick was certain the treasure would be found. One night the office is ransacked, its computer disks stolen, and Jack stabbed in the arm with a Spanish rapier while Josie gets knocked for a concussion. The big climax times the discovery of the mother lode with the arrival of Force Ten Hurricane Brenda. Amberg has great fun explaining the routines involved in diving for treasure, safe methods of decompression, how artifacts keep in salt water, and other seagoing details.

Salty sailor talk. And the reader gets greeedy for that bullion.