DARK TIDE by William P. Kennedy


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 The well-worn plot in which people are thrown together on a small boat and mortally threatened by both the forces of nature and the sort of evil that only people can devise is given full and effective treatment in this chill-a-minute thriller from Kennedy (Guard of Honor, 1993, etc.). Two troubled couples--Bill and Jeanne Chester, and Howard and Marilyn Hunter--arrive on Tortola for a vacation cruise on the yacht Cane Maiden. Bill's a teacher in an alternative school whose apparent lack of ambition frustrates his interior designer wife; Howard's a quick-tempered architect whose business is being destroyed by the faltering economy, driving a wedge between him and the more practical Marilyn. Those emotional difficulties are nothing compared to what happens when the captain of their vessel, Steve Berlind, kidnaps the quartet after tying up with a young woman who was acting as a ``mule'' for a major smuggler and has fled the botched hijacking of her latest shipment. Cindy Camilli wasn't part of that hijacking, but events have conspired to make it appear that she was, so there are some very dangerous people on her trail. They're after the more than $5 million in bearer bonds and diamonds she's still carrying, a jackpot that proves more than enough incentive for everyone involved to cross some lines they might never have imagined they would. Spouse turns against spouse, the balance of power shifts and shifts again, and a violent storm almost renders all the disagreements moot. Ultimately, the vacationers are confronted with a great moral dilemma, which finally strips away all their masks and pretensions. A spectacular helicopter attack on the battered ship and a deadly man-to-man confrontation ashore finally settle things. A superb story, with a perhaps not totally unexpected twist at the very end.

Pub Date: Feb. 18th, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-11768-X
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1994


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