Buried at Sea: A Novel of Suspense

Buried at Sea: A Novel of Suspense

by Paul Garrison

"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…  See more details below


"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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The salt spray flies in this ocean-soaked adventure thriller by a writer (Red Sky at Morning) who really knows the sea. Physical training expert Jim Leighton knows nothing about sailing boats, but signs on for what should be a pleasant and profitable body-conditioning six-week ocean voyage to Rio as the personal trainer of an elderly and eccentric capitalist, Will Spark. They will sail alone on Spark's new diesel-powered sailboat, the Hustle. But Jim soon finds himself on a wilder ride than he had expected, forced to crisscross the Atlantic to escape Will's implacable enemies. Garrison paints a somber picture of rampaging capitalism, with financial predators stopping at nothing to acquire power. In Nigeria, one of Will's former lovers is hired to murder Will; he kills her, but is seriously hurt. With Will sidelined, Jim learns much about sailing as they recross the Atlantic to Brazil. Meanwhile, Jim keeps getting e-mail updates from Shannon Riley, the woman he loves back in Connecticut, who researches the checkered past of his likable but devious employer. A man of many aliases, Spark is being pursued by the ruthless and powerful McVay Humane Foundation, whose directors want the microprocessors he has invented, which may be inserted into the bloodstream to detect and counteract a number of physical problems, so are worth a fortune. There are surprising revelations as the trip gets deadlier and the harried sailors flee to the Falklands and skirt Antarctica. Garrison ratchets up the suspense in deft segments, and his portrait of an angry sea is fully alive, from nights of star-filled beauty to tornadolike waterspouts and hazardous ice floes. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
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.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.57(h) x 1.39(d)

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Chapter One

Nothing Jim saw, nothing around him was familiar. Not the moving gray back of the sea, not the shifting sky, not the ropes that were called lines nor the lines named sheets nor the pulleys dubbed blocks. The navigation instruments were magic, the machine that made fresh drinking water a mystery.

He had not seen another vessel in two weeks.

On the chart that Shannon had found on the Internet when they decided he should take this crazy job, shipping lanes crisscrossed the North and South Atlantic like highways. But the ocean itself was empty as space and almost as barren. The only sign of civilization was the occasional silent glow of a satellite moving through the stars. The only living creatures were flying fish thumping into the hull and a barrel-thick shark that sometimes swam in their shadow. His only companion: his employer,Will Spark.

It had to be the strangest gig ever. Personal trainer for a rich old guy on a sailboat in the middle of the ocean. This evening Jim was leading a spinning class, pedaling sprints and hill climbs beneath a heavy, cloudjumbled sky.

“Big hill. Increase resistance. On a scale of ten, call it a seven, and... up to second position.”

Will, who was some kind of venture capitalist, had squeezed a pair of Schwinn Spinner Elites into his luxurious fifty-footer so they could work out just like they did back home in the health club, with Supertramp blasting and heart rates nudging threshold. All by themselves, closing in on the equator, somewhere between Africa and Brazil.

“Pick it up, Will!”

Jim jumped off while the pedals were still turning, a trick he'd done a million times ashore. The boat surprised him with a sudden tilt and a sharp pitch. Catapulted toward the water, he saved himself by grabbing the lifelines that fenced the deck. Then he slogged across the cockpit -' it really was a pit, two big steps lower than the decks'to adjust Will's bike.

He loosened the resistance knob, which squeezed the flywheel to simulate a hill climb, and beat the tempo with his running shoe'boom, boom, boom, boom'until Will pedaled faster. “Good. Hold that count. If you can't maintain the RPMs, reduce your resistance.”

He made his way back to his own bike, toweled his face, drank water. Will had even wired his headset receiver to the boat's loud-hailer, so that Jim's amplified order, “If you're thirsty, drink. If you're not thirsty, drink,” echoed against the hard, smooth hollows that the trade wind forged in the sails.

“Resistance on a scale of one to ten, fairly heavy... seven... seven and a half'and up to third.”

Will Spark rose from the saddle and extended his hands over the handlebars to third position. Hewas dripping; hiswhite hairwas pasted to his scalp and matted to his chest; perspiration soaked his faded Yale running shorts. The humid heat was like a steam room when the trade wind slowed at sunset. You could break a sweat just cranking one of the winches that controlled the sails.Willwas sucking air through his mouth, and it suddenly struck Jim that he was utterly dependent onWill Spark to sail the boat to land.

What if Will had a heart attack?

The personal trainer's nightmare: You let an aggressive type A geezer push too deep into oxygen debt and suddenly you're cracking ribs with your best CPR and praying the ambulance comes ahead of the negligence lawyers. That was on land. What would happen out here if the trainer was a novice sailor in nautical culture shock and the old guy fell over dead?

Jim knew a little about how to steer the boat, next to nothing about the sails, even less about navigation. Most of the time he had been too seasick to take note of his surroundings, much less learn the mechanics of this strange new world.

“Back it off, spin 'em out.”

Both men drank from their water bottles.

“How you doing, Will?”

“Better than you, sonny.”

There was truth in that. Jim had been so seasick it had been two weeks before he could properly hydrate, much less stomach his regular protein drinks or the fruits, which had gone moldy in the tropical heat as Will had warned they would. His legs still felt as if some gigantic seagoing vampire bat had drained his veins. Hard as he pedaled, the highest his heart-rate monitor would read was 175.

Sicker longer, Will had bitched, than anyone he had ever seen. “I've had better company sailing with houseplants.”

“Seated climb. Call it an easy six.”

The boat topped a big wave just as Jim stood tall on the pedals. Glimpsing the suddenly longer view to the horizon, Jim was astonished to see a dark smudge that looked sharper than a cloud, smaller than a rain squall. A ship? Another vessel crawling into the uncertain space between the leadgray sky and the sea's bare surface?

Be a luxury cruise ship, please. With an air-conditioned health club, Cybex machines, and hot showers. And while we're dreaming, make it headed for a port where a guy can catch a flight home. Except even if he could somehow magically beam aboard, he had signed on for the entire voyage with Will. And to Jim Leighton'who owned little but his skills, a pleasant manner, ripped abs, and his good name'a deal was a deal.

He probably should alert Will. The old man was kind of obsessed on the subject of ships. One night last week Jim thought he'd spotted a light. Will, catnapping in his hammock, had issued his usual strict orders to wake him if he saw anything; but in the seconds that took, the light had vanished. He said that Jim had probably seen a star sinking in the west.

Buried at Sea. Copyright © by Paul Garrison. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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