Most complicated yet from the writer of sea-faring thrillers (Sea Hunter, 2003, etc.).
Boat bum Aiden Page seems a standard Garrison hero: fortysomething and ruggedly good-looking, he handles charters around the island of St. Martin and, due to unresolved conflicts in his past, remains wary of female entanglements. This past conflict, though, is a doozy: once chief financial officer at a small investment bank, Page, on 9/11, was in the World Trade Center office he shared with his sleazy CEO brother Charlie. Both survived the terrorist attack, but Page chose to let his wife and 15-year old daughter Morgan believe him dead. When he glimpses his newspaper obit, though, he comes unhinged and calls his daughter, who shares the Page family enthusiasm for sailboats. Garrison leaves us guessing what the two talk about as he piles up an unwieldy backstory. We learn that Page had had an affair with brother Charlie’s wife, did some very peculiar investing for a tug boat company work that literally blew up—when a barge loaded with dynamite exploded—and that brother Charlie, who once taught bin Laden’s fighters terrorist techniques in Afghanistan, is also alive and has fled to Blind Man Island, a South Pacific refuge owned by Henry Hong, the shadowy Hong Kong businessman and funder of Page’s bank who’s married to evil Jin-Shil, North Korean secret agent. The story doesn’t really begin until feisty Morgan, visiting her grandfather in Santa Barbara, steals a boat and sails to meet her father at Blind Man Island. Then things soar as Morgan masters the magnificently dangerous, character-building lessons that only the sea—or incipient romance with a Tongan native—can teach. Garrison’s overblown, plot-driven high jinks, culminating in the discovery of the superweapon in Hong’s island paradise, will turn pages but little else.
Nonetheless: satisfying effort from a high talent, even when he’s entangled in his own rigging.