Gibbs, former editor of Yachting magazine, knows the boating world and his first novel reflects it. Young Gillian Verdean's great-uncle Dennis dies of a brutal beating on board the ketch Glory. Dennis's pastmainly rum- and gun-runningwas shady at best and it soon becomes clear that some of his associates are after Glory, which apparently holds a treasure, the nature and whereabouts of which were known only to Dennis. Two arms-suppliers to Col. Qadaffi, the slick Visconti and the nasty Hals, vie to wrest the boat from Gillian. Hals even plants ex-mercenary Patrick O'Mara aboard as a spy, a plan that seems destined for success when hunk O'Mara and Gillian fall into bed. Even the beautiful Emerald, ex-girlfriend of Uncle Dennis, a porn star looking for money to set herself up as a madam, has designs on the ketch. Eventually Gillian, O'Mara, Emerald and rum-soaked skipper Barr join forces to fight the Visconti and Hals faction. Most of the action takes place ashore, but the climax, in a storm off Fire Island, is a bang-up one. And although characterization isn't very deep, readers will enjoy the terrific pace. Troll Book Club alternate. (June)
This sailing thriller employs an old but serviceable plot: both good and bad guys chase after unidentified hidden treasure on an old sailboat, Glory. Gibbs knows and loves sailing, but the novel itself is pretty thin. The stock characters include the whore with a heart of gold; the sexy, quick-thinking Irishman; the emotionally scarred sailor-preppy (who speaks in the author's voice and is the best of the lot); and Gillian, Glory' s thin-but-spunky owner. There are also gangsters with Italian names or shady paramilitary pasts, and some very strange anomalies. For example, Gillian is supposedly impoverished, but she drives an RX-7 Mazda and lives in Westport. Such inattention to details reinforces the reader's sense that the novel does not take place in real time with real people. Louise A. Merriam, L.E. Phillips Memorial P.L., Eau Claire, Wis.