cover image Death Roll

Death Roll

Sam Llewellyn. Summit Books, $18.45 (246pp) ISBN 978-0-671-67045-0

Sabotage at a boatyard reveals a maelstrom of deadly intentions in this first-rate, fast-reading thriller by the author of Blood Orange. The yard belongs to Henry MacFarlane, whose surrogate son, famous helmsman Martin Devereux, has returned to England after his long-time nemesis Paul Welsh unfairly blames him for the sinking of an America's Cup yacht. Henry tells Martin that a mysterious real estate firm is after his property on England's south coast; then the older man leaves without explanation. After a murder, an attempt to destroy a dock-full of yachts and Henry's phone call from Spain, pleading for help, Martin sets sail with Paul to deliver a broken-down sailboat to a Mediterranean resort. There, they plan to resume their seething rivalry in a prestigious race. A horrendous storm nearly takes their lives, and Martin wonders why the buyer, wealthy thug Deke Kellner, wants the hulk. He also wonders why Paul is in Deke's employ. After several attempts on his life and a like number of spellbinding escapes, exciting races and a dangerous affair with a beauty in Kellner's entourage, Martin learns the startling answer. Other surprises abound thanks to Llewellyn's tightly wound plot, augmented by splendid nautical details and featuring fully dimensional characters. (Apr.)