Daniel and Vanessa Parker are an American success story. He is a Washington, DC, power broker, and she is a physician with a thriving practice. But behind the gilded façade, their marriage is a shambles, and their teenage son, Quentin, is self-destructing. In desperation, Daniel dusts off a long-delayed dream - a sailing trip around the world. Little does he know, the voyage he hopes will save them may destroy them instead. Half a world away on the lawless coast of Somalia, Ismail Adan Ibrahim is living a life of crime in violation of everything he was raised to believe - except for the love and loyalty driving him to hijack ships for ransom and plot the rescue of his sister, Yasmin, from the man who murdered their father. There is nothing he will not do to save her, even if it means taking innocent lives. Paul Derrick is the FBI's top hostage negotiator. His twin sister, Megan, is a celebrated defense attorney. They have reached the summit of their careers by savvy, grit, and a secret determination to escape the memory of the day their family died. When Paul is dispatched to handle a hostage crisis at sea, he has no idea how far it will take him and Megan into the past - or the chance it will give them to redeem the future. Across continents and oceans, through storms and civil wars, the paths of these individuals converge in a single, explosive moment. It is a moment that will test them and break them, but it will also leave behind an unexpected glimmer of hope - that out of the ashes of tragedy and misfortune, the seeds of justice and reconciliation can grow.
Washington DC power broker Daniel Parker wants to do something about his crumbling marriage. He also needs to find a way to reconnect with his self-destructive son. Daniel arranges a sailing trip for himself and his son, with the hopes that his wife will join him somewhere en route. Partway into the trip, Daniel's boat is overtaken by Somali pirates led by Ismail Adan Ibrahim, who will stop at nothing to gain enough wealth to reunite with his kidnapped sister. Daniel and his son are taken hostage with the promise that they will be safely released once the ransom is paid.
FBI hostage negotiator Paul Derrick is called in to mediate the situation, with assistance from the U.S. Navy. On the other end, Paul's twin sister Megan, a lawyer, is serving as a calming force for Daniel's wife. Her legal background also comes into play further into the story when Ismail is brought to trial for kidnapping charges.
In his afterword, author Corban Addison mentions that this novel was loosely inspired by actual events.
Okay, first off -- props to whoever thought up the title! When I was first sent this book, without even looking at the synopsis, it instantly had me thinking "ah, pirate story I'm guessing." Imagine my surprise to find that it involves modern day pirates! It's not a topic I see come up a lot in novels, so I was definitely intrigued.
Given the pirate idea, I was thinking this one was primed to be quite the action-thriller but something about it missed the mark a bit for me. While the story did have its entertaining and edgy moments, I thought that the characterization work as a whole was a little lacking. This kind of story is perfect for the style of writing that is quick, terse, to the point, but here it felt like the plot got bogged down a bit with too many minute, unnecessary details. I was missing that sensation of pure nail-biting suspense. And side-note, can I just put in here that I was a bit icked out by Paul's multiple "if you weren't my sister, I'd marry you / I'd be all over that" lines to Megan in the early parts of the story. Thankfully he reigns that in later, but ... blech.
Back to the plot being bogged down -- my initial reaction to seeing that this was a story involving a kidnapping / hostage situation, my initial thought was 440 pages for that?! Seems a bit long. And I did find that there were portions of dialogue that did feel repetitive, could definitely do with a hack down in parts. Also, the heavy use of acronyms had me thinking of one of my favorite scenes from Good Morning Vietnam. I know it's the military, but lordy! Still, the length of the book makes sense when you see that part of it is the hostage situation itself, but a good portion of the book gets into the aftermath / recovery process -- how the victim characters heal, how the criminals are made to answer for their actions. That level of tense action I was hoping for does pick up during this second half, starting with when a metaphorical wrench is thrown into the negotiations.I actually found that to be one of the most interesting parts of the story myself. My favorite part though was the story of Yasmin, Ismail's kidnapped sister. Though her story is only a tiny portion of the entire novel, I found her character to be so brave, yet so real. I seriously could have read a whole novel just on her experiences!
FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.