Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book Review: Tenacity by J. S. Law

Author: J. S. Law
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (November 3, 2015)

Description: Two hundred meters below the ocean's surface, you can't run, you can't hide, and the truth won't set you free.

An officer hangs himself in the engine room of naval submarine HMS Tenacity. A woman's murder bears disturbing similarities to an old case. Lieutenant Danielle "Dan" Lewis grasps for the truth before it submerges in the gray waters of the English Channel.

Cramped, claustrophobic, and under strict command, the confines of HMS Tenacity are unwelcoming in the best of circumstances. For Dan, the only female aboard, who must methodically interrogate a tight knit and hostile crew, it's her own special place in hell.

Recently reassigned to the Special Investigation Branch's Kill Team, Dan's hardheaded reputation precedes her. But facing an obstinate ship's company, a commanding officer too eager to close the case, and a constant threat of unfriendly male interest, she learns that under enough pressure everyone has their breaking point.

My Thoughts: Lieutenant Danielle Lewis is just coming off a year's leave and is assigned a case on a submarine wherein a sailor she knew from training committed suicide. His suicide comes quickly after his wife was killed after being raped and beaten. Her death was very like another attack that is haunting Dan and was a large factor in the reason she took her leave.

Dan finds herself investigating on a submarine where she is the only woman on board and the only outsider. She is subjected to sexual harassment and other techniques designed to thwart her investigation. Most of the sailors are obstructive at best. The Captain is a major despot who is beloved by his crew but who cycles between rages and being avuncular.

Dan has problems of her own having blown her reputation and credibility on an earlier investigation when she didn't keep her partner in the loop and went off to do her own "lone wolf" thing. Since a small woman facing a large enrage murderer doesn't usually come out well for the woman, Danny was badly hurt. However, the murderer was apprehended and tried. The problem came when some papers Danny wrote were leaked to the press making her a target. She called into question Navy procedures and floated the idea that the murderer wasn't working alone.

On the one year anniversary of the murderer's conviction, Danny is ambushed and beaten. For some reason that I still don't understand, she decided to keep it a secret, took her leave to try to get over it, and didn't seek any professional help. She is still a psychological mess when she is handed this new case which bring back all sorts of flashbacks for her.

The story was tense. I could feel the claustrophobic and hostile atmosphere of the submarine when Dan was trying to investigate. I will admit that the final exposure of the identity of the criminals and the reason for their activities took me by surprise. Like Danny, I am not happy with the resolution of the case provided in the story and wonder just how high up in Navy ranks the conspiracy actually reaches.

Fans of military thrillers will enjoy this suspenseful story.

Favorite Quote:
"Really?" said Dan, mouth dropping open in mock shock. "How rude and yet startlingly accurate."

"I know," he agreed. "We submariners are known for our vulgarity; we've been putting the naughty in nautical since 1901. Com on, I'll introduce you."
I got this ARC for review from the publisher. You can buy your copy here.

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