TV journalist Autry weaves an unlikely, but intriguing, tale of espionage, murder and suspense in this enjoyable first novel centering on the crew members of a German U-boat sunk off the North Carolina coast in 1942 who were interned at a camp in Oklahoma. The publication of a book about the sinking and crew's capture leads the few survivors to plan a reunion some 60 years later, but the surrounding publicity has an unnerving side effect when someone starts bumping the old men off. A discredited FBI agent, Martin Dunlevy, and Carolyn Baker, a young mother in search of her biological parents, form an odd couple seeking to uncover the long-hidden secret that makes these aged seamen a killer's target. The author introduces his ruthless assassin in the book's opening pages, but manages to keep the reason for the murders concealed while Baker's personal search and Dunlevy's professional one begin to merge. There are perhaps too many stories here—the fate of the U-boat's crew, the assassin's trail of death, a current political campaign involving a prominent Rhode Island family, and more. A 10-month-old baby is just so much excess baggage in the plot, while in the end Autry fails to establish a convincing motive for the killer. These relatively minor flaws, however, don't detract from the strong suspense and action elements, which make this mystery debut a natural candidate for film treatment. (June 30)
FYI:The author is the television news anchor at station WRLH in Richmond, Va.
Release date: 06/01/2002