DEAD RUN by Tony Gibbs


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Rival gangs search for hidden loot aboard a yacht moored on Long Island Sound--in a competent but hackneyed thriller, slightly enlivened (too little, too late) by a yacht-chase finale. Gillian Verdean, young and attractive sail-loft manager, more or less inherits the grand old yacht Glory when her debt-ridden great-uncle Dennis Falk (already dying of cancer) is murdered on the boat by persons unknown. Furthermore, in one of many cornball touches here, Uncle Dennis' dying words to Gillian suggest that there's some secret legacy aboard. So Gillian is determined to find the mysterious treasure--presumably acquired by Uncle Dennis during his decades as boot-legger/gun-runner/mercenary. Meanwhile, however, no fewer than three groups are also out to locate and grab this unspecified hoard (cash? jewels? drugs?). A mobster named Visconti sends thugs. Evil international mercenaries Hals and Bellairs start terrorizing Gillian; they also hire handsome young skipper Patrick O'Mara to work undercover for them by offering his services--sexual and otherwise--to Gillian. (Patrick is reluctant, but the villains threaten to harm his illegitimate child if he doesn't cooperate.) Uncle Dennis' mistress, porn-queen and brothel-keeper Emerald, is treasure-hunting too--in tandem with a mobster-ish boyfriend and the Glory's former skipper Barr (a quasi-noble type with a tragic past). And eventually Gillian and Emerald team up--just in time for a predictable series of climactic action-sequences: fleeing from the bad guys via yacht; hiding out at Emerald's brothel (where Gillian dons hooker disguise and resists a lesbian pass); plus chases and shootouts, along with the not-very-surprising discovery of where--and what--the treasure is. With unengaging people. B-movie dialogue, and humdrum plotting: hard-working but routine and derivative suspense, from a first-novelist whose sailing expertise generates only a few nautical thrills.

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1988
Publisher: Random House