Today is Friday and it’s guest author day. I have known R.E. McDermott (or Bob for his friends) for a while and had his book in my list to read for a very long time. We exchanged some information recently, including his contribution to my enquiries about paid promos, and I finally read his first book. And I thought as he hadn’t featured yet, I’d combine a post about him with a review. Two for the price of one!
Just in case you don’t know him, here is a bit about R.E. McDermott:
I grew up on the Gulf Coast and a seagoing career just came naturally. After graduation from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, I sailed as a ship’s officer for a number of years and then spent a decade in shore side ship management before becoming an independent (i.e. self-employed) marine surveyor in 1986. Some years later I formed a company specializing in ship construction management and supervision. I’ve been a lot of places, seen interesting things, and lived for extended periods in both South America and the Far East (Singapore and China). By far the most interesting aspect of travel (and life in general) is the people you meet along the way, and I’ve had the good fortune to encounter a lot of interesting characters. Bits and pieces of some of them make their way into the characters of my novels.
I write the type of stories I like to read. For me, that means ordinary people forced by circumstances into extraordinary situations. I dislike stories in which the hero is some combination of brain surgeon/nuclear physicist (or who has some equally far-fetched skill set) and who just coincidentally happens to be an ace helicopter pilot and a fifth degree black belt in several different martial arts. Like the rest of us mortals, my characters are normal people who screw up from time to time and have to live with the results.
I’m currently retired from the marine business and living in Tennessee with my lovely (and patient) wife of 39 years. Our current and mutual ambition is to return to Singapore for several months each year. In addition to writing and travel, I occasionally (when cornered) complete a task on my ‘honey do’ list, and from time to time, join my wife in badgering our children to produce grandchildren. All in all, a rewarding life.
In case you want to keep track, this is his Amazon page:
And now, his books:
Deadly Straits (A Tom Dugan Novel) Kindle Edition
by R.E. McDermott:
When marine engineer and very part-time spook Tom Dugan becomes collateral damage in the War on Terror, he’s not about to take it lying down.
Falsely implicated in a hijacking, he’s offered a chance to clear himself by helping the CIA snare their real prey, Dugan’s best friend, London ship owner Alex Kairouz. Reluctantly, Dugan agrees to go undercover in Alex’s company, despite doubts about his friend’s guilt. Once undercover, Dugan’s steadfast refusal to accept Alex’s guilt puts him at odds not only with his CIA superiors, but also with a beautiful British agent with whom he’s romantically involved.
When a tanker is found adrift near Singapore with a dead crew, and another explodes in Panama as Alex lies near death after a suspicious suicide attempt, Dugan is framed for the attacks. Out of options, and convinced the attacks are prelude to an even more devastating assault, Dugan eludes capture to follow his last lead to Russia, only to be shanghaied as an ‘advisor’ to a Russian Spetsnaz unit on a suicide mission.
Deadly Straits is a non-stop thrill ride, from London streets, to the dry docks of Singapore, to the decks of the tankers that feed the world’s thirst for oil, with stops along the way in Panama, Langley, Virginia, and Teheran. Richly spiced with detail from the author’s 30 years sailing, building, and repairing ships worldwide, it is, in the words of one reviewer, “fast-paced, multilayered and gripping.”
“An awesome book! It has a very Tom Clancy feel. Kudos to Mr. McDermott. Well done, Sir.”
D. Bosshardt, Amazon – 5 Stars
“An absolute cracker of a thriller, quite simply on a par with Clancy et al. When I’d finished I wanted more! A terrific story superbly written.
‘Tao” Amazon (UK) – 5 Stars
“A little Clancy, a bit of Ludlum, and a lot of Mr. McDermott!”
Libby Dunkin, Amazon – 5 Stars
“Move over WEB Griffin, Cussler, & Ludlum. Weaving together come-alive characters, McDermott takes us through an all too realistic plot involving oil tankers used to cause havoc to the worlds’ shipping … a page turner.”
Bob Hopfe, Amazon – 5 Stars
“A brilliant thriller. I was quite surprised that this is a first novel. On par with high ranking thrillers. Action non-stop …a great read.”
Cheryl M-M, Amazon (UK) – 5 Stars
“In 1994 (Debt of Honor), Tom Clancy used a jumbo jet as a weapon … it happened on 9/11. In 2011 R.E. McDermott published “Deadly Straits” where supertankers are used as terror weapons with deadly results. Let’s hope we don’t look back and say McDermott predicted that. This is a book of action and suspense, well written with multiple plots woven into one coherent whole. I’ve read several best-sellers that are legends in the genre and this book is as well done as any of them, if not better.”
Stephen C. Lovely, Amazon – 5 Stars
“McDermott consistently gets it right. The captains, mates and engineers sound like captains, mates and engineers … like visiting old friends. Tom Dugan – a skilled professional a bit rough around the edges – works well as the protagonist. Smart and educated, he also regularly gets grease under his nails, and moves easily between action and insight. A book even a thriller skeptic and ship geek can love. A gripping read – highly recommended.”
Rick Spilman, The Old Salt Blog – 5 Stars
“In a book that takes no prisoners, McDermott tells a tale of high seas terrorism and tells it well. Go get this one, right now!”
Nancy, Cheryl’s Book Nook – 5 Stars
“In 20 years at sea as mate and captain, I’ve been through the Panama Canal too many times to count, and through the Bosphorus and Malacca Straits as well. You nailed it. Yours was the first novel to convince me the author had been there too. Well Done.”
Captain Dave Fath (via email)
Oh, and the book is also available as an audiobook:
Here, my own review:
What would happen if the great straits of the world were left out of action? How would petrol and other goods move around? This is the question at the heart of this novel, the first in the Tom Dugan’s series that focuses on a number of international secret agents (and some amateurs that get caught in the crossfire) who by default end up working together investigating a terrorist threat affecting the oceans. I must admit I know very little (being generous) about tankers and the ins and outs of high seas transportation, but that did not detract from my understanding of the plot or my enjoyment of the novel.
We have Tom Dugan, a reluctant hero, an independent and fairly free agent, who is recruited because of his inside knowledge (he is a marine engineer) and because, through a friend, he becomes embroiled in the conspiracy. Although we don’t know him well (this being a series there should be time to get to know more about him), he has an interesting backstory, he is likeable and engaging, friend of his friends, honest and loyal.
His friend, Alex Kairouz, is also a strong character, and especially his friend’s family, his daughter Cassie (a great character) and Mrs. Farnshaw are in a league of their own.
And one of the strongest points for me was not only the many stranded plot, detailed enough to result convincing (and make you hope somebody is really organising a team to look after this aspect of international security), but the assorted and totally credible secondary characters.
Even those who have a very small part (like the Turkish pilot), are unforgettable, and some, like Arnett, the female second mate, the whole of the Italian crew, and the Russian special forces team, deserve books of their own. Some of the baddies have their epic moments too, and you do get attached to the characters and by the end, care for them and with them.
When you read this novel, you can see it in your mind’s eye. This is a big adventure, if it were made into a movie, a huge blockbuster, a thriller/conspiracy theory novel following a number of complex plots, international terrorism using religion, nationalist ideology, and greed as a way of manipulating a number of players. Chechens, Iranians, Venezuelans, Americans, Russians, Panamanians…
This is an ambitious novel that I recommend to people who like their adventures on a grand scale and who love complex and detailed stories.
And another one in the series:
Deadly Coast (A Tom Dugan Novel)
DUGAN THOUGHT SOMALI PIRATES WERE BAD NEWS. THEN IT GOT WORSE.
As Tom Dugan and Alex Kairouz, his partner and best friend, struggle to ransom their ship and crew from murderous Somali pirates, things take a turn for the worse. A US Navy contracted tanker with a full load of jet fuel is also hijacked, not by garden variety pirates, but by terrorists with links to Al Qaeda, changing the playing field completely.
With a possible link between piracy and terrorism now in play, the US and British goverments order the halt of all negotiations for captive ships, and enraged pirates ratchet up the mistreatment of the captive crews. When one of their crewman is murdered in front of him on a live video feed, a frustrated Dugan takes matters into his own hands and starts his own rescue operation, only to stumble across something far more sinister — a rogue salvage operation for a long lost weapon of mass destruction. Isolated at sea on an old tanker previously destined for the ship breakers, Dugan and his hastily assembled little force of Russian mercenaries find themselves the last line of defense between the world and a terrifying bio-weapon.
Weaving historical fact with speculative fiction, Deadly Coast takes the reader from London board rooms into the very real world of modern day pirates — and their victims.
Here a review, and now that I know the Russians are back, I must read this book too!
McDermott hits it out of the park with this book!
By Adoptive Dad on September 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
McDermott has hit it out of the park with his follow-up to Deadly Straits. We have the same players from Deadly Straits, but this time they are taking on the pirates in Somalia. What I love about McDermott is that the story could actually have happened. He takes fact, adds a little spice of fiction, and comes with an awesome recipe of a successful story.
The Russians are back in action with this book, and they are funnier than ever. McDermott totally made me laugh out loud several times with the antics of the Russians.
Fantastic book!!! Can’t wait for the next one.
I read on this genre a lot, so I feel I have some real experience as to what is good, and what is not, and I am not afraid to say so!! I’ve created a Listmania of the books I’ve read over the last few months. If you’re interested, it’s here: http://www.amazon.com/lm/R2KYHEUDVSOR2M/ref=cm_lm_pthnk_view?ie=UTF8&lm_bb=
And in case you want something on a smaller scale, a short story:
Waiting for Jimmy Dean (A short story)
A humorous short story.
Things looked pretty bleak for Buddy in the Fall of 1961. His aspirations to be a cattle baron dashed by his parents’ refusal to let him enter the calf scramble, he didn’t think life could get much worse. And then it did.
A poignant and often hilarious tale of growing up in a simpler time.
Thanks so much to R.E. for coming to visit my blog, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know, like, share, comment, CLICK…and don’t forget to read books!