A retired doctor takes a seniors cruise but discovers a terrorist plot to unleash smallpox on the ship.
Several years after the death of his beloved wife, retired physician Dr. Marson Thornberry decides to get back into the swing of things. He books passage on a “Nostalgic Rock and Roll Cruise” for seniors, featuring performers such as Petula Clark and the Shirelles. He does the usual cruise things: samples the ship’s many restaurants, explores the Caribbean ports of call, and meets available seniors, such as the attractive Myra, a recently retired drug researcher. He also gets to know the ship’s physician, Dr. Taufic Quraishi, who at first appears rather aloof. Unknown to Marson and the other passengers, the luxury liner is about to become the target of a Middle Eastern terrorist attack—a diabolical two-step scheme in which the unsuspecting passengers will first be exposed to the norovirus, forcing the ship to pull into the nearest U.S. port, then infected with the deadly smallpox virus, which will spread from the vessel to the mainland population. Fortunately, Marson thinks that there is something amiss about the outbreak, yet when he takes his suspicions to the ship’s captain, his warning falls on deaf ears. Will Marson be able to stop the cruise liner from reaching port before he can prove the truth in his allegations? For a thriller, the novel isn’t in the best shape. The author makes readers privy to the terrorist plot right from the outset, so they know what will happen and who is responsible for the diabolically clever dual infection of norovirus and smallpox. Readers spend the rest of the novel waiting for Marson to stumble onto the terrorists’ dastardly scheme, which vitiates any suspense the plot might otherwise have generated. What does hold steady, though, is the non-clichéd look at what it means to be a still-vivacious senior citizen.
Love Boat infiltrated by Homeland—a solid premise with possibilities left unexplored.