I like stories about boats on the ocean. Not boats on lakes, which are commonplace where I live, but boats on the deep sea. Perhaps it’s an atavism out of being descended from Norwegian islanders, or more likely it’s just a quirk. In any case, such stories make me feel good. Bernard Cornwell used to write such books, but they didn’t sell, certainly not like the historical novels he moved on to.
I also miss John D. MacDonald and his Travis McGee series. I’m always looking out for a new McGee substitute; nobody quite fills the bill. But Wayne Stinnett’s Jesse McDermitt gives me some of the same vibe.
Fallen Out is the prequel (now the first volume) to the Jesse McDermitt series of thrillers. As it opens, we observe Gunnery Sergeant McDermitt retiring from the Marine Corps. He has a fair amount of money from an inheritance, but is unsure what to do with himself. As he notes, his chief job skill is killing people from up to a mile away.
But he has an old Marine Buddy running a bar in the Florida Keys, and he heads south to see him. While he’s visiting, someone mentions being a fishing charter captain to him. On a whim, he purchases a very nice, large boat, complete with souped-up motors, confiscated from drug runners, at a government auction. He also buys a very small island, planning to build a home there. Soon he’s becoming part of the Conch community, and enjoying his new life. Except that, sometimes, he misses the action.
Then one day he and a friend rescue a couple women from a group of men he suspects might be human traffickers. In time he becomes close to one of them. Then he and some of his friends move their boats into a river mooring to ride out a hurricane. And the traffickers show up again.
Fallen Out wasn’t great literature, but it was a fun story which I enjoyed a lot. Pure entertainment reading. And a very satisfying climax. I recommend it. Cautions for language and adult themes.