cover image Thief of the Deep

Thief of the Deep

Jon Coon. Aqua Quest Publications, $11.95 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-9623389-9-1

John ``Doc'' Holiday, an ex-Navy SEAL, takes a leave from his post-SEAL career as an English professor to rescue his daughter, who has disappeared after discovering a number of wrecks off the coast of Bermuda that don't show up on the U.S. government's satellite systems. One wreck contained dead bodies, cocaine and marijuana. What follows is a complex plot involving underwater raiders who strip virgin wrecks of priceless archeological treasures, a drug lord and a Bermudian police inspector locked in bloody battle, an ex-German Navy U-boat captain still fighting his own private war, double- and triple-dealing by the U.S. government, an undetectable state-of-the-art submarine a la Tom Clancy and a copy of the chalice from which Socrates drank hemlock. Coon, a professional diving instructor, clearly knows the undersea world in which most of the action is set, and the drama is tense. Unfortunately, however, this author is overly ambitious in his first novel. The excess of plot and pages weighs down what could have been a first-rate thriller, and the ending seems contrived to justify the planned sequel. (Aug.)