cover image SEA HUNTER


Paul Garrison, . . Morrow, $25.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-06-008167-6

This maritime escapade takes the same tack as Garrison's Buried at Sea, a wave-tossed thriller, but drifts into becalmed waters. Grief-stricken after scattering his former lover's ashes at sea, journalist-turned-sailor David Hope is rushing back to Tortola in the Leewards (where he ekes out a living chartering his catamaran, Oona, to scuba-diving tourists) when he sees a dolphin as large as a killer whale. Arriving back in Tortola, Hope finds his much-needed end-of-the-season charter—which was to provide the money for long-overdue boat repairs—has canceled. Serendipitously, he is approached by Sally Moffitt, an underwater filmmaker intent on making a film on the breeding habits of short-snouted spinner dolphins. She charters his boat, and they scarcely make it out to sea when they encounter the giant dolphin. After the sighting, they are invited aboard a huge, anachronistic sailing vessel owned by a wealthy naturalist, Bill Tree, who is doing suspicious research on dolphins. While they're aboard, Tree bugs the Oona so he can eavesdrop on Hope and Moffitt, and all are led north by the dolphin, which is soon revealed to be a "killphin," programmed for a mission of doom. Garrison has a knack for snappy dialogue, and his characters are lively creations, even when they're stereotypes (the massively fat Tree is a classic over-the-top James Bond villain). But as Hope and Moffitt predictably become lovers and the repetitive plot blurs into a mind-numbing sea chase, waterlogged readers will long for dry land. (Jan.)