Buried at Sea
Jim Leighton is young, fit, and hungry for excitement—and his dream of adventure is coming true, now that he's been hired as a deckhand and personal trainer to a wealthy investment banker and setting sail for Rio de Janeiro aboard the luxury yacht Hustle. But Jim's enigmatic employer is not what he seems. With all his money, charm, and seafaring tales, Will Sparks is a man who's guarding a terrifying, potentially lethal secret. And in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Sparks makes a startling announcement: They are changing course for Africa because someone is pursuing them. Someone who wants them dead.
With no previous sailing experience—far from the sanctuary of land and in the company of a stranger who is possibly delusional and certainly dangerous—Jim is suddenly trapped in a harrowing race for survival across the vast waters of the globe, fleeing a faceless threat that inexplicably knows where they are and where they are going. And when destiny places him alone at the helm, Jim's options are reduced to two: sail or die, because the terror relentlessly approaching at breakneck speed will not be shaken off or deterred—nor will it rest until Hustle and Jim Leighton both lie broken and lifeless on the ocean floor.
Garrison surpasses his first seafaring thriller (Fire and Ice, 1998) with a grippingly realistic cross-Atlantic chase for stolen technology that doubles as a winning tale of mentor-pupil redemption.
Yes, it isn’t quite believable that Jim Leighton, a muscular but somewhat feckless personal trainer from Connecticut, thinks he's making easy money to accompany aging millionaire Will Sparks on a carefree sail from Barbados to Rio de Janeiro. The occasional trite phrase (“the huge catamaran careened, as out of control as an unexamined life”) doesn't help either as we learn that not only is Jim leaving behind Shannon, the woman he wants to marry, but he’s also completely ignorant of sailing and finds himself horribly seasick on Sparks’s 50-foot yacht, even while talking the millionaire through a stationary-bike spinning session. But things pick up when Sparks discovers that the bad guys are on his tail and heads the ship for Africa to escape vicious Andy Nickels, a henchman for the super-rich McVay clan. Led by preppy Lloyd and his ice queen daughter Val, the McVays want some crucial gadget that Sparks has, and to get it back they’ll chase him through the Bight of Benin and farther down the African coast to Antarctic ice flows. Garrison adds skewed family values—unresolved complexities haunt Jim’s and Shannon’s pasts—as Jim gains his sea legs and learns to trust Sparks, who can't quite reveal every secret before he dies, leaving Jim to puzzle through numerous conflicting loyalties and nautical calamities, including a clever climax in which he learns, quite literally, to swim with the sharks.
Action-filled, wave-pounding page-turner.