St. Martin's, Jun 2003, 24.95, 352 pp.
Off of South Florida, pirates using satellite tracking to select targets, invest their ill-gotten gains in real estate. These buccaneers kidnap preadolescent Janey Sugarman from the yacht of Dr. Andy Markham, boyfriend of the child's mother. The victim's father, a private eye, observed the event on a video feed from the chatroom he and Janey were logged onto when she was abducted.
Pirate Captain Vic Joy offers to return the girl safely in exchange for Sugarman's friend Thorn giving him his Key Largo property valued at $3 million. Former Navy Secretary Jimmy Lee Webster protects Vic while romancing the pirate captain's sister Anne Bonny Joy. An angry Sugarman learns that the incident could have been avoided if Thorn had provided some information to Webster on Anne, whom the latter sleeps with. With no help from any quarter, Thorn goes after the pirates to rescue an innocent girl.
This is a fast-paced fun thriller that requires a bit of letting go of reality and just sailing with the flow. The story line hooks the reader due to a strong cast, especially the pirates, inside a modern day corsair voyage. The contrast between the intellectual approach of Sugarman and the in your face brawn of Thorn adds to a delightful spoofing of the action genre.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner