Tag Archives: Jesse McDermitt

‘Fallen Hunter,’ by Wayne Stinnett

Saying that a series is losing my interest is not precisely the same thing as saying it’s lost its way. I have definite (and limited) tastes; lots of books that don’t interest me have wide and enthusiastic followings. So what I’m about to say about Wayne Stinnett’s Fallen Hunter shouldn’t be taken as a condemnation.

Series hero Jesse McDermitt is back on his private little island as Fallen Hunter begins. He’s still recovering from a personal loss, but now he feels ready to start engaging the world again. A friend’s wife tells him of a problem in her family. Her father, a shrimp fisherman, has gotten himself into trouble. He agreed to make a few deliveries for a drug smuggler to get his business over a tight spot, but now he wants out and the smugglers won’t let him go. In fact, they’re talking about more dangerous goods.

Jesse arranges to take over the shrimping operation for a while, presenting himself as an enthusiastic scoundrel eager to play ball with the smugglers. Then he learns that the “more dangerous” cargo they’re talking about is armaments for a terrorist group. That sends Jesse to his covert operations buddies, and they draft a plan to stop the terrorists.

In his spare time, Jesse meets an attractive local woman and begins dreaming of a new future.

My personal problem with Fallen Hunter was that it shifted the series (not surprisingly, in light of the previous book) into military thriller territory. As a large number of fighting men (and women) converge on Jesse’s island and start doing their operational stuff, I began to grow bored. That the second half of this book consisted largely of people pretending to be on a diving vacation, doing rather languid tourist things while waiting for the action to start, did not increase the suspense.

I was also annoyed, as before, by Jesse’s over-willingness to confide in people he hardly knows. And the final climax of the book was pretty melodramatic.

Still, I like the character enough to give him another chance. I’ll probably read the next book. But not right away.

‘Fallen Palm,’ by Wayne Stinnett

The second book in Wayne Stinnett’s Jesse McDermitt series was actually the first one published. I think there are some signs in Fallen Palm that the author is not yet completely sure of himself, but it’s nevertheless a pretty good story.

Jesse, retired Marine sniper, is living a solitary life on his private island in the Florida Keys, fishing, diving, and taking occasional charter jobs with his fishing boat. Jesse gets a visit from the son of the Marine who trained him and had been his good friend. His father, says “Deuce” the son, drowned while diving. Which makes no sense. He was too good and careful a diver to have gotten into that kind of trouble. He had been diving with a young partner, and that partner turns out to have sinister connections. Then Deuce tells him he’s part of a very hush-hush commando unit fighting the war on terror. Later (in the kind of coincidence that author Stinnett is prone to) that mysterious diving partner turns up in a terrorism probe. On top of that, Deuce’s boss in Washington very much wants to recruit Jesse for their unit.

Meanwhile, a fascinating woman, a fellow fishing professional, comes into Jesse’s life and touches him in a way he has not experienced in many years.

Fallen Palm is an enjoyable story, though I’m not sure Jesse’s character has been fully developed yet. I’m particularly troubled by Jesse’s approach to security – he reveals his secrets too easily, I think. And a shocking event at the end was no surprise to me at all.

Oh yes, Jesse gets a dog in this one. That part worked really well.

Recommended. I don’t recall if there was offensive language or not, so it can’t have been too shocking. Attitudes toward sexual morality and marriage are thoroughly secular.

‘Fallen Out,’ by Wayne Stinnett

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.