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Ghosting by David Poyer

Ghosting by David Poyer carries a heavy duty message to anyone taking to the high seas with a sail boat. Don’t go unprepared, don’t go in arrogance and ignorance of what may be demanded of you. A tense, sea thriller, Ghosting starts off easily enough with a fun bon voyage party. Fun is taken out of the equation early on. Then it’s all about an epic storm, smugglers, and survival.

“Dr. Jack Scales, a prominent neurosurgeon, is at the peak of his career. To celebrate, he decides to make up for lost time and buys a sailing yacht christened Slow Dance, for a family cruise to Bermuda. But the family is strained: Jack’s wife Arlen is secretly considering leaving the marriage; Rick, their mentally disturbed 20-year-old son, may need to be committed to a group home; Haley, a rebellious teenager, would rather be anywhere but trapped on a boat with her family; and Jack himself is not prepared for the challenge of the open sea.

“Day by day, the Scales face mounting dangers. A lightning storm nearly destroys the boat, Rick’s unstable condition worsens, and both Arlen and Haley realize that Jack is in over his head. Still, emerging from the storm, they find a fragile unity…until a man adrift on a raft leads them into danger against a terrifying gang of smugglers, who will stop at nothing to gain control of Slow Dance.”

Poyer’s novel is not to be confused with a cozy mystery. There is nothing cozy about it. There’s real terror and desperation in these pages. If terror is not your cup of tea, you may not like this novel. However, the author has done a great job of capturing a sailing trip on the ocean and it’s fun to read just from that aspect. For those who want more than a dash of danger in their reading, this one fits the bill.

Perseverance in the face of extreme danger plays a large role in the novel and the reader will come away with strong sense of admiration for the teenage daughter. Without being in danger of spoiling the novel, I cannot say much more than to say that Haley is a wonderful character. When the going gets tough, she stands tall.

Ron Samul, from Library Journal, said, “Poyer draws on his nautical expertise to create a thrilling and disturbing portrait of what people will do when they have nothing else to lose. This dynamic sea thriller casts plot twists, conflict, and fear into the dark waves of uncertainty and will appeal to fans of Charles Williams’ Dead Calm.”

Poyer’s 30-year career included service in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Arctic, Caribbean, Pacific, the Pentagon, and the Mideast. He has written 18 Navy and sea novels, as well as sailing and nautical articles for Chesapeake Bay Magazine, Southern Boating, Shipmate, Tidewater Virginian and other periodicals.

Highly recommended.

~Ginny

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