Gale Force
by Laukkanen, Owen

Playing it safe in spite of significantly reduced profits after witnessing her father's death in a freak maritime accident and assuming his rank as captain of an Alaskan salvage boat, McKenna and her crew take a last-chance job helping an imperiled freighter only to discover that it contains valuable cargo that is being targeted by powerful enemies.

Owen Laukkanen is the author of the Stevens and Windermere series, beginning with The Professionals, which was nominated for the Anthony Award, Barry Award, Spinetingler Magazine Best Novel: New Voices Award, and the International Thriller Writers’ Thriller Award for best first novel. His follow-up, Criminal Enterprise, was nominated for the ITW Thriller Award for best novel. A resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, he is now at work on the next book featuring Stevens and Windermere.

*Starred Review* A massive car-carrier ship, the Pacific Lion, transporting 5,000 Nissan autos, leaves Yokohama for the U.S. Stowed away is a Yakuza accountant carrying a briefcase containing $50 million in negotiable bearer bonds to be laundered in the U.S. In Seattle, McKenna Rhodes, captain of the oceangoing tug Gale Force, is still mourning the loss of her father to a rogue wave and the end of her brief affair with a handsome, full-of-himself naval architect. She's also worried about finding the money for major engine maintenance. But news of the Lion dead in the wild seas south of the Aleutian Islands, and listing 60 degrees, could mean an eight-figure payday if Gale Force can get a line on the ship and keep it from sinking. McKenna and her crew head west, aware of the risks but not expecting Yakuza gangsters and even piracy. Laukkanen has lots of rich material to work with: a woman competing in a male-dominated, cutthroat business; the laws of salvage and the sea; giant cargo ships; the cold, dangerous North Pacific; the role of the Coast Guard; and, of course, the Yakuza. Gale Force is compulsively readable-and a ripping-good yarn, perfect for all lovers of sea adventure. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

The author of the Stevens and Windermere novels (The Forgotten Girls, 2017, etc.) taps into his nautical knowledge for this rousing seafaring yarn. In Yokohama, Tomio Ishimaru sneaks onto the cargo ship Pacific Lion with a silver briefcase containing $50 million worth of bearer bonds he's stealing from the yakuza crime syndicate. On its way to the United States, the ship changes out its seawater ballast incorrectly and begins to list to one side. Soon it founders and might even sink. Everyone except the stowaway abandons ship and its cargo of 5,000 Nissans 200 miles off the coast of Alaska. The ship desperately needs a tow, so several salvage tugs race to the scene, including Gale Force. McKenna Rhodes inherited the tug from her father after he was killed in an accident at sea. Now she and her crew head out to right the crippled ship and tow it to safety, her first salvage job on her own. The stakes are high—the Pacific Lion's owner agrees to pay Rhodes $30 million if t hey haul it safely into port, "but the crew wouldn't be paid one salty dime if they couldn't save the ship." It's an unusual story premise, and a good one—quick, name the last tugboat thriller you've read. The crew respects Rhodes as "a damn fine salvage captain" in an overwhelmingly male profession. Smart, brave, and worried, she knows how to command her crew and guide the tug through towering crests and swells. In the midst of all this, the crew must board the damaged ship and pump water back in to right it before beginning to tow. The beleaguered vessel may well take some Gale Force crew to the bottom of the sea. Belowdecks, Ishimaru hides with a treasure and a pistol, setting up an inevitable confrontation. Someone will get rich, and someone will die. Action-loving readers will be thrilled with this one. Laukkanen is a damn fine storyteller. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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