When Doc Adams buys a purse adorned with genuine carved ivory for his wife Mary, he unknowingly purchases a ticket into the underworld of modern-day piracy. In this case, the treasure is the precious ivory of endangered elephants and walruses, and the plunderers are part of a ruthless multimillion dollar international poaching operation.
When Mary's sharp eye detects that the ivory on her purse is ill-gotten, U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents deputize her to help carry out a sting operation. But while Mary plays a dangerous secret-agent game, Doc finds himself fingered as the prime suspect in the murder of an illicit ivory dealer, and becomes the prime target of the smugglers' most murderous henchmen . . . .
"Boyer is up there with the best: the Parkers, the Higginses, and the Macdonalds."
The Boston Globe
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"Then the fog lifted; it all made sense. Fit together like the floating pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that come together in your head" (Ch. 20) ***** Those are the words of the narrator of PIRATE TRADE by Rick Boyer (1995). Like all nine DOC ADAMS detective thrillers, this novel is narrated by series hero Charles Hatton Adams, M.D., D. D. S, aka "Doc" to everybody but his wife Mary (to her he is Charlie). Doc Adams is an oral surgeon who lives and practices in Concord, Massachusetts. The Adamses also have a summer cottage, The Breakers, on the west side of Cape Cod and are likely to drive to and from it year round. They also have a small motorized sailing ketch kept in a nearby harbor. ***** Doc Adams is easily bored. He runs 50+ miles/week, usually skips lunch, is a gourmet cook, works out in a Boston gym with an ex-Special Forces martial arts master named Laitas Roantis. Not even a beautiful wife and two intelligent young adult sons can keep 50-something Doc from being bored. Fortunately, Doc has a way of blundering into other people's attraction to killers, maimers, kidnappers, smugglers, headhunters, poison dart blowers. When that happens, Doc sheds his surgeon's gown, figuratively, and becomes a dangerous and endangered mixture of Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones. ***** in PIRATE TRADE Mary Adams has been active for a year now in CAPE WATCH, an environmental, save-the-fishes voluntary association run by a married couple. The husband, Bill Bedford's career had been guiding fisherman out into the deep to find their trophies But now times are hard and the temptation is to do something to offset fishing losses. Why not use fishing boats to smuggle into the Boston area prohibited ivory: elephant, walrus and narwhal? ***** Maybe the Carpenters aren't into ivory smuggling. But Mary Adams incautiously hinted to them that she had been recruited by the U. S. Government to do some discreet snooping around Cape Cod as to who is bringing in the ivory. Suddenly, Mary disappears. Kidnapped? ***** The marriage of Doc and Mary had been going through a rough patch and Mary had recently caught Doc in an incriminating scene with his operating room assistant Susan Petri. Even before the possible kidnapping, Mary had stormed out and Doc feared she was gone for good. ***** Nonetheless, love conquers all. Doc Adams deals himself actively into the search for his missing wife. In the process he heads toward a showdown in a remote Maine cabin with more bad guys than you can count: men with at least two murders to their credit, one with a carved ivory eskimo in a kayak -- shoved straight into the victim's chest. ***** Doc had been floundering around. Nothing made sense. Suddenly, in the words quoted at the beginning of this review: "Then the fog lifted; it all made sense. Fit together like the floating pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that come together in your head" (Ch. 20). ***** When it comes to unraveling convoluted mysteries, Doc's mind is slow and bumbling like those of many of his readers. Something always clicks in a DOC ADAMS mystery. And readers can check their hunches against Doc's. -OOO-