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Gale Force


Gale Force

Author Owen Laukkanen confesses that he literally has the ocean in his blood. Born in Vancouver to generations of seafaring mariners and their families, it would seem that GALE FORCE is the one novel he was destined to write. In fact, he briefly steps away from his terrific Stevens and Windermere books to pen this stand-alone tale of high-seas adventure.

The action begins three years in the past aboard the salvage tug Gale Force on a mission to rescue a much larger freighter, the Argyle Shore, dead in the water in the face of a monster storm just off the Oregon coast. Aboard the ship is 30-year-old McKenna Rhodes, a young woman who has spent much of her life on the ocean. Nearly all she knows about seafaring came from her father and the captain of Gale Force, Randall Rhodes. The ship makes it through the storm but at a high price.

"GALE FORCE is a non-stop adventure story that is extremely authentic due to the firsthand experience provided by Owen Laukkanen."

Our story then jumps to the present day as we now find McKenna at the captain's seat on Gale Force, a role she took on in the wake of her father's tragic death three years earlier. Little does she realize that her next adventure is already starting in Yokohama, Japan. The cargo ship Pacific Lion is on its way to North America carrying mostly automobiles. There is, however, something far more valuable on board that ship. Two Japanese men --- Hiroki Okura, a member of the Lion crew, and his friend, Tomio Ishimaru --- have absconded with nearly 50 million dollars’ worth of bearer bonds that were stolen from the mighty Japanese gang, the Yakuza.

Unfortunately, Okura spends more time worrying about the stolen bonds and less about his job on the ship, which leads the Lion into serious trouble as it is struck by several mighty swells and begins to capsize. Much of the crew is lost, and Ishimaru and the briefcase with the bonds are also trapped somewhere within the ship and out of Okura's reach. As Okura begins his mission of finding the briefcase, a message is sent out to whatever ships are nearby and able to come and attempt a salvage of the Lion.

McKenna is gung ho about living up to her father's legacy, but is still grounded enough to recognize that she cannot do it alone. She reaches out to one of the most brilliant naval architects in the world, young Court Harrington, and pulls him away from the World Series of Poker to join her crew and assist in saving the Lion. However, McKenna and Gale Force will have many obstacles in their path that include other salvage ships trying to cut in on their mission, as well as one beauty of a Pacific storm heading their way. There is also the special briefcase that is being sought not only by the crafty Okura but also by some nasty members of the Yakuza who are seeking to insert themselves into the middle of this conflagration.

GALE FORCE is a non-stop adventure story that is extremely authentic due to the firsthand experience provided by Owen Laukkanen. He also has created a heroine in McKenna Rhodes who is the equal to every form of adversity thrown her way and is a true leader. She shows strength of mind and character throughout this novel, and you cannot help but root for her. The only question I have is whether Laukkanen returns to his Stevens and Windermere series next or decides to spend more time with McKenna. Either way, everybody wins!

Reviewed by Ray Palen on May 18, 2018

Gale Force
by Owen Laukkanen

  • Publication Date: May 8, 2018
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0735212635
  • ISBN-13: 9780735212633