Garrison surpasses his first seafaring thriller (Fire and Ice, 1998) with a grippingly realistic cross-Atlantic chase for stolen technology that doubles as a winning tale of mentor-pupil redemption.
Yes, it isn’t quite believable that Jim Leighton, a muscular but somewhat feckless personal trainer from Connecticut, thinks he's making easy money to accompany aging millionaire Will Sparks on a carefree sail from Barbados to Rio de Janeiro. The occasional trite phrase (“the huge catamaran careened, as out of control as an unexamined life”) doesn't help either as we learn that not only is Jim leaving behind Shannon, the woman he wants to marry, but he’s also completely ignorant of sailing and finds himself horribly seasick on Sparks’s 50-foot yacht, even while talking the millionaire through a stationary-bike spinning session. But things pick up when Sparks discovers that the bad guys are on his tail and heads the ship for Africa to escape vicious Andy Nickels, a henchman for the super-rich McVay clan. Led by preppy Lloyd and his ice queen daughter Val, the McVays want some crucial gadget that Sparks has, and to get it back they’ll chase him through the Bight of Benin and farther down the African coast to Antarctic ice flows. Garrison adds skewed family values—unresolved complexities haunt Jim’s and Shannon’s pasts—as Jim gains his sea legs and learns to trust Sparks, who can't quite reveal every secret before he dies, leaving Jim to puzzle through numerous conflicting loyalties and nautical calamities, including a clever climax in which he learns, quite literally, to swim with the sharks.
Action-filled, wave-pounding page-turner.