I had been eyeballing R.E. McDermott’s Deadly Straits for far too long, before I finally jumped in. This is an eye-opening, intense read. High quality all around. I can’t sing R.E. McDermott’s praise enough. If you’re a fan of my Black Flagged series, you’ll sink right into this novel. You can find Deadly Straits on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble and other ebook sites. They are also available as audiobooks through Audible.com or iTunes.
My official review:
“There are few reading experiences more rewarding, than delving into a well-written novel, by an author who is a subject matter expert in the “fictional” world presented. R.E. McDermott’s Deadly Straights justifiably earns a place at the top of my list of rewarding reads. Having served in maritime and petroleum industries for over thirty years, he knows a thing or two about maritime operations, world-shipping trends and the vulnerabilities of sea-lane chokepoints (Strait of Malacca, Panama Canal, Bosphorus Strait)—and it all comes out in crisp detail, providing the framework for an intricately balanced, international thriller.
Deadly Straits introduces the reader to Tom Dugan, a salty maritime executive, who prefers to spend more of his time in the field, inspecting ships, than managing shipping schedules from his desk. He has a quick wit and keen eye for the business—it doesn’t take him long to recognize that something is off with his long time business associate and friend, Alex Kairouz. A self-made ship industry mogul, Kairouz has displayed unusual signs of strain lately, concealing questionable business decisions from his employees and implementing sudden changes to long-standing procedures.
When a U.S. Navy contracted merchant ship is hijacked in the Strait of Malacca, and all evidence suddenly points to Kairouz and Dugan’s complicity, covert government agencies will make him an offer he can’t readily refuse, along with a chance to prove himself and Kairouz innocent. What follows is a roller coaster ride to unravel a conspiracy of epic proportions, with the capacity to cripple world economies and shift power into sinister hands.
R.E. McDermott masterfully combines the macro level details of international politics with an intensely personal story of struggle and desperation. Just the right mix of “chessboard” maneuvering with powerful first person action, as an all too realistic and frightening conspiracy unfolds across the globe.
Several scenes stand out, each well worth the price of admission. The Russian Spetsnaz shipboard assault is unbeatable, by far one of the most realistic close quarters battle scenes I’ve read in years, and the Panama Canal scene? Unbelievably realistic and intense. Only a talented author with an intimate knowledge of ships and the Panama Canal inner workings could have pulled it off.
Deadly Straights is a one of kind book. R.E. McDermott has found an incredible niche, with this gritty maritime conspiracy thriller. I look forward to Deadly Coast, and the continuation of the Tom Dugan’s character.”