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OCEAN COMMANDER by Jonathan Cross


by Jonathan Cross

Pub Date: March 31st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1460998014
Publisher: CreateSpace

In this maritime adventure, a castaway meets a ghost and discovers that his spiritual apotheosis involves strafing bad guys from a glitzy yacht.

Ruined in the real estate collapse, 55-year-old British-American ex-cop Jonathan Porter has nothing left except his ability to communicate with spirits. That serves him well when a plane crash deposits him on an uncharted Caribbean island inhabited only by the shade of the Commander, a crusty British naval officer marooned there 100 years before. With plentiful fish, a magic pool of healing rainwater and lots of automatic rifles and ammo gleaned from the drug- and gun-running gangs who occasionally do battle offshore, Jonathan thrives, adopting the motto “How lucky was that!” Alas, his spirit guides insist that he shove off from his island paradise and fulfill his destiny by helping to cast down “the traders and money-makers”—jacked-up credit card rates are a sore point—and usher in world peace. Fortunately, his luck holds when it comes to pursuing that mission. With the Commander’s spectral assistance, Jonathan commandeers a 200-foot, $80 million yacht; acquires diamonds, gold doubloons and a trust fund so immense that he crafts an economic stimulus program for the Bahamas, where he is hailed as a deity; and recruits crew members who look just as good slaughtering pirates with long-range sniper fire as they do sipping champagne in their bikinis. There are many clashing genres of wish-fulfillment here—Crusoe-esque idylls and New Age mysticism colliding with special ops shoot-’em-ups and girls-gone-wild lasciviousness; Capra-style populism bumping against luxury cruising and high-end retail. The story sometimes languishes in the doldrums during extended scenes of shopping sprees and Jacuzzi parties, despite the Commander’s efforts to shake things up by invisibly levitating the drinks. Still, Cross pens some lively, intriguing set pieces, and his commitment to gonzo escapism lends the proceedings a certain charm.

A blithe, goofy, hit-and-miss fantasia.