PIRATE ALLEY by Stephen Coonts


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A swashbuckling thriller from Coonts.

The Indian Ocean off the Horn of Africa sees heavy commercial traffic as ships ply their way to the Suez Canal. Given the great poverty on the continent, some men take to piracy—they commandeer a cruise ship or freighter and hold cargo, passengers and crew for ransom. One such victim is the Sultan of the Seas, a luxury liner with almost 900 souls aboard. Sailing the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, it catches the attention of Muslim pirates operating out of Mogadishu, Somalia. Once they board the unarmed vessel, they kill a few infidels to frighten the rest, then issue their demand to the world: $200 million, or everyone dies. Meanwhile, passenger Mike Rosen secretly sends emails to his employer about deteriorating conditions on the ship, and his messages become worldwide news. The CIA and Navy SEALs get involved, since the U.S. thinks the pirates may intend to kill everyone onboard regardless of whether they get the ransom. Former Navy pilot Coonts expertly builds the tension as plans develop to take back the ship, conflicts brew between pirate factions, copious blood flows and an old coastal fortress turns into a potential bomb. Coonts’ fans will welcome back series characters Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini, who see to it that readers have fun while lots of bad guys take the express route to Paradise. Meanwhile, readers considering an Indian Ocean cruise might want to pick something less adventurous.

Thriller lovers will enjoy this one for its fast pace, colorful locale and satisfying conclusion. There’s never a doubt as to which side will win, of course, but Coonts takes us on a heck of a good ride.

Pub Date: May 14th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-312-37284-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2013


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