cover image Barracuda, Final Bearing

Barracuda, Final Bearing

Michael DiMercurio, Author, Michael Demercurio, Author Dutton Books $23.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-55611-458-8

As a former officer of the USS Hammerhead, DiMercurio knows his submarines, and the high-tech detail that he brings to his fourth undersea thriller (after Phoenix Sub Zero) should delight fans of the genre. Especially impressive here are the futuristic methods employed by a Japanese spy infiltrating a new nation's atomic missile site, and the unique means employed by Japan to try to render that site useless. When those means backfire, events escalate into a U.N. blockade of Japan and a confrontation between the U.S. and the Imperial sub fleet. All this takes place early in the next century, as the first female president follows the lead of a returning DiMercurio hero, the maverick Admiral Michael Pacino, in agreeing to the step that puts the world at the brink of war. The initial confrontation with Japan leaves Pacino in charge of a minimal fleet against overwhelming odds, but a lone, specially armed American sub may save the day--if it can reach the Sea of China in time. DiMercurio's matter-of-fact style squeezes much of the tension out of the story, and some readers may find his characters' sub-speak awfully dry. Those who thrill to the blip of sonar and the thud of torpedoes, however, will relish the author's latest deep-water dive. (Feb.)