I had read “Black Pearl” by Peter Tonkin a while back and I found it to be an interesting thriller so I jumped at the chance to read the new novel by Tonkin starring Richard Mariner, “Deadly Impact,” hoping to once again be thrilled by another tale of high adventure.
Sayonara is the world’s largest tanker of Liquid Natural Gas and a huge investment of Heritage Mariner. It also represents a huge risk for the company as it is the first tanker that will sail based solely on the guidance of a computer rather than a crew to guide her to her port in Japan. The risk becomes a reality when the boat is overtaken by a group of pirates who take over the computer system and effectively hijack the boat.
Richard Mariner has 99 hours to get a team together and retake the tanker before it is too late. Not only does his company face the prospect of losing the ship and its cargo, the ship is also on a collision course for the construction site of the floating city of Kujukuri. A collision with the floating city could set off an explosion with the force of 55 atom bombs just off the coast of Japan causing untold death and destruction. It is a desperate race against the clock as Mariner leads to the team to reclaim the boat and save the lives of millions of innocent people.
I started “Deadly Impact” with the expectations that I had developed from reading “Black Pearl” and I found a book that was very different. While “Black Pearl” was more of a fast-paced adventure novel, “Deadly Impact” was more of a densely written novel with more of a build up to the story and less action. This caused me to spend a little more time in unweaving the story and delving into the intricacies of the story rather than just being swept along by the action. At first, I found this to be a bit of a letdown as I was expecting the same fast, almost frantic, pacing of “Black Pearl” when “Deadly Impact” is a much different book. Still, I was soon caught up in the story and enjoying the ride.
While I did not enjoy “Deadly Impact” as much as I did “Black Pearl,” I was surprised at the difference in the stories and how Tonkin was able to make this novel an enjoyable read even though it had very different tone and pacing. “Deadly Impact” is a well thought-out novel that dwells more on the details that occur behind the action rather than an action-centered thriller. Reminiscent of some of Tom Clancy’s earlier works, I found myself thinking more about the reason for the events rather than the events themselves which suggests a great deal of preparation by the author. Tonkin obviously knows the material that he writes about and works to ensure that he not only crafts a solid story but one that is grounded in the possible rather than in the author’s imagination. This made “Deadly Impact” and interesting read that lacked the need for unnecessary suspension of disbelief that can plague some thrillers when authors use pacing to cover holes in logic. “Deadly Impact” can be read quickly and as nothing more than a source of entertainment but the reader who would like to delve into the story for the subtext is sure to find it a much more satisfying read.
I would like to give a special thank you to NetGalley and Severn House for this advanced review copy. “Deadly Impact” is scheduled to be released by Severn House on May 1, 2014.