Dark Ocean ISBN: 9780992902841, Seaward Publishing, an e-book by Nick Elliott.
Angus McKinnon is a seasoned Marine investigator who, although working independently, semi-officially works for Alastair Marshall’s CMM investigative company based in Greece. Angus is in Hong Kong investigating a situation with respect to the Lady Monteith, a ship being used by the Japanese and sunk by an allied submarine during WW II. The vessel reportedly was carrying a huge amount of gold and Sinclair Buchan, the original owner is interested in its reclamation. Angus receives a call that Alastair has died suddenly and so must return to Greece. There he discovers that his employer/mentor/friend actually has been murdered apparently after escaping from the Toyama Maru, a small Japanese ship. He again meets Clair Scott, the British Intelligence agent he had rescued several years before when she had been abducted during a Russian entanglement. She verifies his collateral knowledge that Marshall had worked for years with British Naval Intelligence since merged with the Ministry of Defense Intelligence Department. Together they were concerned about information that some of the radical imperialistic Japanese groups were more than just bugle blowing, mega-noisy, people parading the streets. Angus, somewhat reluctantly agrees to investigate for them while pursuing his on-going process with respect to the Lady Monteith. From this point, his life becomes filled with frenetic activity. He discovers that one Japanese group in particular, the Genyosha or Dark Ocean, has ties to a Geneva based study group and that combined, their objective seems to be much more extensive than previously would have been surmised. His job then, is to discern how extensive it is and exactly how it is to be implemented and he must accomplish this feat by gaining the information piece by piece and assembling it. The story proceeds at breakneck speed as it follows his activities as he approaches this herculean task with unexpected help from unlikely organizations who cooperate because it is a necessity for the good of all. Unfortunately for Angus and everyone close to him, the activity is one fraught with constant danger and the imminent threat of death.
Discussion: To quote from this reader’s review of the directly preceding novel ‘The Sea of Gold’: “… the complicated plot and constantly changing world locations may not be to everyone’s liking but for the more sophisticated reader the author has quite masterfully assembled these perhaps somewhat disparate elements into an engrossing story that is quite difficult to put down.” This statement again applies but one somewhat disconcerting feature must be mentioned that does not seem to be apparent in the preceding volume. Here, Angus’ serendipitous survival repeatedly depends on a sizeable amount of good fortune, karma, or whatever. His Extra Sensory Perceptive abilities (perhaps more frequently referred to as instincts or ‘6th sense’) seem somehow to be lagging with respect to: recognition of danger producing situations, places and/or individuals; loss of, or slowed, ability when quick thought/action required; or perhaps he never had developed these necessities to the extent required for individuals in his present ‘secret agent line of endeavor’. This latter perhaps is the best explanation as Angus himself recognizes. He is an excellent Marine Investigative Agent but never thought about, or was not particularly enamored of being, a clandestine field agent, more vernacularly referred to as a ‘spy or spook’.
Conclusion: A fast paced international thriller with overtones in accord with today’s headlines and a somewhat reluctant but still very efficient, protagonist who appears to be only partly temperamentally equipped for this ‘new’ job.
4* Fast paced international thriller with a slightly reluctant protagonist