cover image Windward Passage

Windward Passage

Jim Nisbet, . . Overlook, $25.95 (448pp) ISBN 978-1-59020-194-7

The compelling tale of a dead smuggler known only as Charley forms the backdrop for Nisbet's ambitious if meandering thriller set largely in the Caribbean. When Charley's sailboat sinks in shallow water with him chained to the mast, Charley's sister, Tipsy, and his drug lord boss, Red Means, launch their own personal salvage operation. Hidden among many bricks of cocaine below the ship's deck is thought to be a DNA sample from an unidentified U.S. president. Together, Tipsy and Red try to figure out who killed Charley and why someone would want some president's DNA, guided by the incomplete log they find in the dry part of the partially submerged boat. Nisbet (Dark Companion ) has his own eccentric plotting style that tends to create parallel worlds within his main story. Long-winded and often tediously detailed, these digressions detract from an otherwise addictive narrative. (Apr.)