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by Carl Brookins
Top Publications, June 2000
262 pages
ISBN: 1929976011

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Michael Tanner owns a highly successful Seattle public relations firm and has decided to fill his spare time learning to guide a small sailboat. The lure is not only relaxation, but the proximity of the famed Georgia Strait Inside Passage, a stretch of coastal waterway between

Anacortes, Washington and Desolation Point, British Columbia that is regarded as one of the most beautiful and dramatic bits of navigable water in the Western Hampshire.

Tanner, his wife Elizabeth and their artist friend Alice George set out to explore this natural wonder in a rented sailboat. Near Texada Island they are rammed by a large motor yacht and both women are killed. Tanner is nearly destroyed by the incident. Those investigating the deaths refuse to believe Tanneržs recounting of the events and his life is thrown into turmoil. Depression brings on heavy drinking and eventually his partners in the p.r. firm force him to take a leave of absence.

In an attempt to clear his name and seek revenge, he takes a lowly job at a marina on the Inner Passage and begins to gather information about the mysterious yacht. There follows a series of events that are a bit contrived, relying a bit too heavily on coincidence. Tanner rents a yacht from Mary Whitney and eventually she becomes involved in the search for the large motor yacht that he now knows is called Goldenrod. It is at this point that all that putting up with all the plot contrivances pays off. There follows a long but thrilling water-borne cat and mouse game that is a pleasure to read. The couple in the small yacht stalk the monster boat and it in turn uses all its high tech equipment to chase the smaller prey.

There is much inside small craft lore brought out in the exposition, but most of it is quite necessary to the plot since it is only through clever and innovative sailing techniques that the couple eventually are able to triumph over their naval nemesis.

Reviewed by Rudy Franchi, March 2002

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