BRIGHT SHARK by Robert & Tony Chiu Ballard


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Verisimilitude is a not unexpected virtue in this deep-sea thriller centered around the search for a long-lost Israeli submarine, given that Ballard is a renowned oceanographer credited with discovering the Titanic. Still, he and coauthor Chiu (Port Arthur Chicken, 1979) offset that advantage for the most part with a slow-paced story marred by excessive and often unnecessary scene-shifting. Navy Lt. Edna J. Haddix is in charge of what is seemingly a civilian research ship operating in the Mediterranean off the shores of Crete in the spring of 1988, but her real purpose is to deploy the vessel's underwater robot vehicles to find and explore the wreckage of the Dakar, which was lost 20 years earlier. The US hopes to find evidence that will verify the smuggling of nuclear materials to the Israelis in 1968, but there are far darker secrets aboard the doomed sub--secrets that will reveal a decades-old pact between right-wing Israelis and their counterparts in the Soviet Union. The action is spread over six clays as elements around the world try to aid or hinder the search. In Washington, Department of Energy official Clifford Zeman dispatches old friend Wendell Trent to aid Haddix and fends off the bureaucratic and political forces who want to shut down the operation. In Israel, aging hero Leon Rose is willing to do anything, including sink the American ship, to preserve the veil of the past. His allies in Russia give him unsanctioned help in the form of a new undersea missile, as everything moves inevitably to a frightening confrontation at sea. In the end, Ballard and Chiu salvage their story with a slam-bang finish and the clever postponement--until the closing pages--of the final, horrifying secret of Dakar.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 1992
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Delacorte