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by Patrick Hasburgh
Harper Perennial, January 2018
352 pages
ISBN: 0062742779

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Nick Lutz, a former Southern California car salesman and super surfer, has escaped his former life and now lives in Sabinita, Mexico. After a terrible car accident, he lost his eye (hence the nickname Pirata for his eye patch), and his family but has found his feet, quite literally, in an imaginary town near Puerto Vallarta where the waves are perfect for longboard surfing.

However, when his best buddy’s girlfriend Meagan puts the claws of a hammer into her lover’s skull, Nick finds himself in the awful position of disposing of the body. Meagan and her two sons move in with Nick as they weather the monsoon season, appropriately named tormenta in Spanish.

Nick becomes the surfing mentor to the two boys who almost fill the hole in his heart for the loss of his own son, Marshall. Things continue to happen to Nick and when a drug cartel comes calling, the action becomes worthy of the fastest paced thriller. And when he finds he must rush to the US to save his son from placement in a foster home, it gets very hairy.

Patrick Hasburgh has created a great story, part thriller and part family saga. Even those who don’t know anything about surfing will find the surfing scenes exciting. Nick’s love of the three boys warms the heart as he leads them into surfing competitions. We are rooting for him as he struggles to care for the boys, while the free spirited Meagan follows her own path, with the assistance of her favorite drugs.

This is A-one. I would recommend it to anyone.

§ Susan Hoover is a playwright, independent producer and retired college English teacher. She lives in Nova Scotia.

Reviewed by Susan Hoover, June 2018

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