During a severe blizzard in 1978, Gloucester, Massachusetts, mariner Frank Quirk II took his 49-foot pilot boat out into the teeth of the storm in an attempt to aid Coast Guard vessels in peril.
Just as had been the case with the three Coast Guard boats, Quirk lost his radar almost as soon as the Can Do passed the shelter of the breakwater. On the open ocean, facing waves that topped 30 feet, wind gusts slamming his boat at nearly 100 miles per hour, and driving thick, swirling snow, Quirk had few clues to his location, and jagged ledges, invisible in the maelstrom, loomed perilously close. With failing radios, he had occasional contact with those on shore, providing an intermittent narrative of impending disaster. Before the night ended, the Can Do and her crew of five were lost at sea. This young readers’ adaptation of Ten Hours Until Dawn (2005) reads like a thriller, suspenseful and ultimately tragic, effectively capturing the desperate situations of the three Coast Guard boats that were dispatched to aid a supposedly sinking tanker (it wasn’t) and that of the spirited crew of the Can Do. The tale concludes with an epilogue that briefly chronicles the lives since 1978 of some of those involved, even delivering one final gut punch. Characters depicted in the archival black-and-white photos are all white.
Riveting. (Nonfiction. 11-16)