Forge, Jan 2003, 24.95, 320 pp.
Retired Navy aviator Jack Gallagher learns that his father Nick drowned when his ship topsided. Jack has ambivalent feelings because twenty years ago Nick deserted his family to search for sea treasure off the Florida Keys. Though he originally planned on attending the funeral and immediately returning to Chicago, Jack thinks the recently changed will that provides him with ten percent of Doubloon, Inc. is a cryptic message from his dad. Jack decides to stay for now.
Key West Tribune reporter Josie Hernandez writes stories that imply that someone murdered Nick. At the same time that the Florida Office of Antiquities investigates Doubloon for tax evasion through the illegal sales of antiquities, the company's salvage license may be revoked by the state. As Josie and Jack make strange bedfellows, danger mounts as the duo is assaulted. Not long after, they close in on a special treasure with thugs wanting them eliminated, a step family that seems untrustworthy, a hurricane ready to destroy the duo, and dubious bureaucrats ready to dry-dock the pair.
DOUBLOON would be another run of the mill treasure seeker thriller except Jay Amberg has had a great time providing insight into various seafaring processes that his enthusiasm becomes contagious. Fans receive a taut albeit standardized thriller but it also provides insight into treasure diving and the state of artifacts in salt water (think of some of monuments like the Statue of liberty or Washington Monument needing a cleaning), etc. This is cleverly intertwined into the plot, bit also done with such elation that many readers will consider a vacation off the Florida coast.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner