This is a good read that will appeal to sailors as there’s quite a lot of detail around boats and sailing - one of the main characters has the misfortune to be caught out not once, but twice by hurricanes, and those sections are tightly and very tensely written - although why he wasn’t as sick as a dog is beyond me! It’s not all sailing though, so don’t let that put you off - the sea and boats are key elements, but there’s plenty of land based shenanigans as well.
The author clearly knows his Caribbean islands, and maybe shows that off a tad at the start, but the story soon takes over. There are two principal characters - Elliot, a English drifter, and Andrew, a US marine working on a big flashy yacht. The chapters sort of alternate between them, although there are some stretches where one or other of them hogs the story for a few chapters. They’re ably supported by some local police officers, a very fine Dutch marine and various other locals and boat crew. There are baddies aplenty, much politicking, drug running, gun running, some casual violence, some of it pretty nasty, and a teensy hint of romance with no sex. So a lot of characters, and it took me a while to remember who was who, but it all settles and those you need to remember get fixed in the brain. The two main characters run separately for a long time, and I was beginning to wonder if they’d ever meet, but the storyline begins to make the connections clear, and they do - finally.
I loved Elliot’s post-hurricane brief I-can-rule-the-world euphoria that had him taking on the world and winning, just for a bit, and the Dutch marines are very fine - “Four tall muscular and bronzed men sitting in the boat, their hair glistening like gold in the rays of the sun, all in army fatigues and dark shades, weapons in racks and the whole boat painted in black and green camouflage.” They’re big, competent, powerful…
There’s a glossary at the back which would have been useful if I’d known it was there - now you do!
Not so very cheap for an e-book, but a long, detailed, well written book that holds the interest and engages the brain, so worth its pennies.
As a thriller, 'Summer Storms' holds its own with the best of them. It engages with that which lies beyond contemporary foreign policies, espionage, corruption, and the drugs trade, with a focus on relationships between the US and Caribbean states. An understated hint of romance emerges towards the end, nicely inverting the usual gender stereotypes.
Where this book rises above the norm, is in the detailed descriptions of single handed passage making, island hopping in the Caribbean, and surviving brutal storms that prey on this beautiful part of the world - there can be no doubt that the author has had terrifying first hand experience of these.
Each of the players are given a strong sense of personality, characters are fully developed and convincing. I have the impression that it might be stretching it a little to state that any similarities between characters in this book to real persons is entirely coincidental. I suspect the author must have met some charming and some very nasty people in his life! These are used to good effect and do not preclude a healthy dose of dry humour and bitter sweet irony.
I enjoyed the parallel narratives of the two central characters whose paths eventually cross. There is very little that is predictable in this book, consequently it's a true page turner, and truly a thoroughly enjoyable read. Hopefully the author is putting pen to a follow up!