Delivering "a gripping insider's view of the secret world of nuclear security" (W.E.B. Griffin), Dick Couch's explosive novel poses the chilling and timely question: How safe are America's waterways from terrorist threat?
Riding quietly at her moorings on Puget Sound, the U.S. Navy's deadly weapon -- the Trident submarine -- waits for her return to the sea. But an Arab terrorist known as the Shadow has targeted the USS Michigan, with nearly three hundred nuclear warheads nestled in its missile silos. He intends to take the deadliest weapon of the Cold War and turn it into the deadliest dirty bomb conceivable -- by hijacking the Spokane, flagship of the nation's largest ferry fleet. The nation, caught by surprise, sends a select team of Navy SEALs to stop the Shadow. They are aided by a savvy FBI agent and the ferry's captain, Ross Peck. Unless the U.S. wields its political might to support his terrorist brothers in the Middle East, the Shadow will unleash a radiological holocaust, and a nightmare beyond imagining. . . .
First novelist Couch sets this contemporary techno-thriller in Seattle, where Palestinian terrorists hijack a Puget Sound ferry, then use it to capture and tow away a Trident missile submarine from the Navy yard. Their demands are stark: either Israel surrenders the occupied territories, or they will destroy the sub, with Chernobyl-like results for the entire Pacific Northwest. The U.S. sends the cream of its special operations units, Delta Force and the Navy's SEALS, to deal wth the threat, but at the showdown, ferry captain Ross Peck and mate Janey McClure have something to say about the fate of their ship and its passengers. The author, himself a former SEAL, provides a state-of-the-art depiction of modern antiterrorist tactics. He also individualizes the terrorists and gives them believable motives in a swift-moving story whose credible plot development overcomes the shaky premise of extremely lax security at a major nuclear base. Taut writing and crisp dialogue further enhance the appeal of one of the year's better adventure novels.