The fates of three strangers collide in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Journalist Jonno Bligh is flying high with a bestselling book and an Oscar for Best Screenplay. But along with the accolades he picks up a cocaine habit and a case of writers’ block.
Under pressure to deliver his next blockbuster, Jonno sails to the Indian Ocean in his beloved yacht The Scoop Jon B. When a violent storm cripples the boat he takes refuge on a beautiful remote island, where he vows to get clean. Little does he know that the murderous gangster BangBang Budiman uses the island to hide the spoils of his heists in the notorious Malaccan Strait.
Jonno watches in horror as BangBang and his crewmen brutalise two women on the beach before leaving them to die. He manages to rescue Annie Greenwood, whose husband has already been murdered. Together they flee the island with the stolen loot, relentlessly pursued by the vengeful BangBang.
As the killer hunts them down in the treacherous waters of South East Asia, Jonno and Annie are forced to come to terms with their own destructive demons – and a discovery that will change their lives forever.
The devil waits for you … even in paradise.
PRAISE FOR DEAD IN THE WATER
‘Clear the decks for this riveting tale of crime on the high seas …Tense, gripping, Dead in the Water grabs you from opening line until the last page and leaves you wanting more.'
Anna Smith, author of Blood Feud and The Dead Won’t Sleep
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Terence J. Quinn has populated his debut with the kind of characters we just love to hate. An Oscar-winning former journo with a terrible coke habit, a London-born socialite becoming bored in her marriage, a psychotic pirate with a penchant for casual violence—on the high seas of South-East Asia, the lives of these revoltingly self-absorbed strangers entwine. Quinn wants you to feel every shocking act of brutality, delivered in short chapters that each end in a tooth-clenching cliffhanger. His prose is relentlessly tense, even during brief, “idyllic” lulls in the action. Treasure Island was never this visceral.
Dead in the water
Scottish born tabloid journo and editor who has worked in the UK, US, Canada, NZ, and Australia. Now lives in Noosa where he pens novels about an Aussie tabloid journo turned author named Jonno Bligh. This is the first one. It was published as The Scoop then retitled Dead in the Water, possibly to align it with the follow-up, Deadline, published Feb 2020. Or not. What would I know?
Jonno Bligh survives a mythical Jesuit boys school in Sydney called St Judes (any resemblance to St Ignatius, Riverview is purely coincidental I’m sure), becomes a cadet journo, moves to London to work for a tabloid, brings down the UK government by uncovering sleaze (ho hum), then writes a book about it which gets optioned by Hollywood. Our boy goes to LA where he gets hooked on cocaine, as you do, but wins an Oscar FFS. Now he’s back in Oz, blowing the advance for his second book on blow, and generally dicking about on Hamiition Island. He puts his last $2 million down for an ocean going super sloop with all the bells and whistles. He names it, get this, the Scoop Jon B , and calls up an old mate from back in the day. The lads head north without a clear plan past Indonesia. Our boy promises to stay clean but doesn’t. The mate jumps ship in Jakarta before the local cops find the stash. Jonno acquires a stray cat and soldiers on, gets caught in a storm, loses power, manages to manoeuvre into a concealed inlet on a small island off Sumatra where he dries out, both meteorologically and pharmacologically. He has the Blue Lagoon vibe happening when pirates, who are definitely not loveable Johnny Depp/Geoffrey Rush types, land on an open beach nearby with a couple of white girls they’ve kidnapped and proceed to do what pirates do with girls they’ve kidnapped. One of the girls dies. Jonno rescues the other one after the pirates have left, and nurses her back to health. Pirates come back and find buried treasure (gold, diamonds, bearer bonds, jewellery etc) missing. Jonno and his gal try to get away using Oscar statuette as weapon. Pirates chase them, Indo navy intervenes, our heroes get locked up because drugs are found in false bottom of pirates’ suitcases (whatever happened to treasure chests), things get sorted, the cat survives, multiple rape victim gal needs therapy, then needs more after she finds out she’s preggers, chief pirate does his Phantom impression (man who cannot die), Jonno rediscovers his writing mojo, yada, yada. Cue happily ever after time, at least until the next instalment.
Main protagonists are Jonno, Annie, and Bang Bang the pirate. They are developed as well as they need to be for this sort of yarn.
Third person from POVs of three protagonists. I’ll give it an A for action, but the pacing was erratic.
What you’d expect from a tabloid journo, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s easy to read.
Meh. When it comes to Aussies getting themselves in trouble in boats off Indonesia, Jock Serong’s On The Java Ridge (2017) has got it all over this. The blurb for the follow-up, Deadline (2020), has Jonno back in Blighty battling Islamic terrorism, which sounds suspiciously similar to Tim Ayliffe’s former war corespondent John Bailey in State of Fear (2019). I don’t think I’ll bother.