cover image Scorpion in the Sea: The Goldsborough Incident

Scorpion in the Sea: The Goldsborough Incident

Peter T. Deutermann. University Press of America, $22.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-913969-49-6

A high-octane compound of techno-thriller and military procedural with a contemporary setting, this first novel by a retired Navy captain satisfies on several levels. A Libyan sub is dispatched to the waters off the Florida coast on a top-secret mission of vengeance: to sink a U.S. carrier in retaliation for the 1986 bombing of Tripoli. A naval establishment no longer energized by the Cold War refuses to credit fragmentary evidence of the undersea threat. Only Cmdr. Mike Montgomery, captain of the obsolescent destroyer Goldsborough, comes to believe that something is out there. But his reputation as a maverick and his involvement with a superior's wife handicap his ability to make a case to the men in power. Deutermann tells a convincing naval detective story as the Goldborough 's crew assembles the puzzle's pieces. The final showdown between destroyer and submarine combines high-tech gadgetry and human conduct under fire in the manner made familiar by Tom Clancy. And Deutermann's description of a Navy so intimidated by force reductions and budget cuts that even good people are reluctant to ask questions and take risks is wryly convincing but never cynical. As a final bonus, Montgomery's love affair is an adult passion, depicted deftly and without salaciousness. (Oct.)