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Pirate Alley (Tommy Carmellini #5)

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  1,165 Ratings  ·  129 Reviews
Grafton and Carmellini are back and joined by the Navy SEALs to battle terrorists on the high seas in this action-packed tale by "New York Times" bestseller Stephen Coonts

A luxurious vacation cruise to the exotic locales of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden turns into a nightmare for passengers and crew when their ship is suddenly attacked and captured by a band of bloodthi
Paperback, 480 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published May 7th 2013)
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Feb 10, 2013 Antimidas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book today from a Goodreads First Read giveaway and began reading it immediately. Aside from the free copy of the advance readers' edition of the book, I have received no compensation for this review. Unfortunately for most of you, the book will not be mass published until May 2013.

The book is fast-paced with sufficient character introductions flowing with the storyline as to allow someone such as myself who had not read any others in the series to understand the motivations behi
A British cruise ship Sultan of the Seas, with 500 passengers and 350 crewmembers, is captured by Somali pirates and held for a ransom of $200,000,000. Following a gross initial miscalculation on how to handle the situation by dithering politicians while Sultan is still underway, she is towed to the pirates lair at Eyl, Somalia. Cooler heads prevail in Washington when the next steps are decided and retired U.S. Navy Admiral Jake Grafton, now a high-level employee of the CIA, accepts the offered ...more
Georgie Wiebe
Feb 04, 2013 Georgie Wiebe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Thanks to goodreads and the author I won this first-reads book.

This book was full of non-stop action and a look into how the military would operate under a hostage situation. The author did a great job vividly describing the many characters and scenes throughout this book. This was definitely a page turner and hard to put down. I enjoyed the story and how this could be something that could happen, even though it’s unlikely, but we do have modern day pirates still. I would actually like to see t
Feb 03, 2013 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, owned
An absolute "can't put down"! If you enjoy reading a story about Somali pirates, military operations that demonstrate intelligence, planning and operations beyond what a civilian force or politicians could ever imagine (or ever make happen), and suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat... THIS is the book for you to read! Stephen Coonts comes through once again with characters, Jake Grafton and Tommy Carmellini, in one of his best. Can't wait for his next story to hit the presses.
Jack Mulcahy
Jun 08, 2017 Jack Mulcahy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Each book in series gets better and better.
Jan 31, 2013 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2013reads
February 5th 2013 I received Stephen Coonts newest book "Pirate Alley", published by St. Martin's Press, as a prize giveaway on this website goodreads. Now that the disclaimer is done I can honestly say that for my first Stephen Coonts book it read well.
Taking place in the Red Sea off the African coast a cruise ship with over 850 passengers is taken in a well orchestrated raid by Somali Pirates. What do they want and are they acting independently? In Washington the authorities try to decide sho
Feb 02, 2013 Marcia rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book! I love the character Tommy Carmellini. This book dealt with the problem of Somalian pirates in today's world. A cruise ship is captured by pirates. The ship has only minimal defenses and no weapons on board. I certainly hope that some weapons are now aboard these vessels. The ship relies on its speed to avoid pirates, but this time the pirates out-maneuver the ship. Tommy Carmellini and two other CIA agents just happen to be in the vicinity. The world is outraged, and t ...more
Linda Munro
Feb 03, 2013 Linda Munro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book on I have never before read a Stephen Coonts book, but this book has made me a fan.

It begins with a CIA undercover team watching for & taking out the “BAD GUYS.” They are camping in the middle of a Somalia desert. It quickly switches to a group of Somalia pirates with their eyes on a specific prize, a vacation cruise liner filled with 850 passengers & crew. The pirates issue a ransom notice for $200 million with a 7-day deadline. Unfortunately for those
Jonathan Tomes
Jun 01, 2013 Jonathan Tomes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller
I have never had the slightest interest in going on a cruise. I went on a tour once and didn’t like the regimen under which I had to go wherever the tour was set to go. So being on a cruise ship seemed worse. And I could be all wet, no pun intended. Cruise ships could be the best thing since sliced tuna (trying to keep the nautical motif). But after reading the new Stephen Coonts thriller, Pirate Alley, going on a cruise, particularly in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, seems like a non-starter ...more
Gregory Randall
Jul 04, 2013 Gregory Randall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stephen Coonts has over the course his more than dozen quasi-military thrillers, developed two very strong characters, Tommy (the smart ass) Carmellini and Admiral Jake Grafton. These are solid and interesting men who Mr. Coonts uses very well in establishing a base that is not just story driven but character driven as well. The story in not a new one, Somali pirates hijack a cruise ship and hold it for ransom. Can they be saved? Will the ice cream on board freeze, will Islamic terrorists take o ...more
Nov 14, 2012 Jerome rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting subject matter and a pretty good plot. The novel can get a little plodding and dull at times, however. Also, every character is a walking caricature: the British naval officers all use "bloody" in favor of any other adjective; in fact, none of them can finish a sentence without adding the word "bloody." Coonts also loves double negatives in his sentences, which makes for confusing reading. And, of course, all of the political types in the novel are nothing but weak-kneed good-for-not ...more
Bob Lafary
Jul 27, 2013 Bob Lafary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love going on cruises. And although I had never read a Stephen Coonts before, when I saw the cover of this book, I just had to get it. It does go to show you, that you can judge a book by it's cover. The book was a wonderfully crafted, fast-paced read. The Coonts interweaving of our Navy Seals, Marines, CIA, and others paints a vivid picture of our armed forces at their best. He also paints a vivid picture of the idiots in Washington, DC as they are. Only caring about themselves, and their pol ...more
Jul 28, 2013 DrMom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Stephen Coonts fan, I was not sure about the storyline touted before I read it. I enjoyed the novel, however, once the plot line began to unfold. A luxury cruise liner is sailing off the cost of Africa when pirates succeed in boarding and overtaking the ship and its crew. Ruthless, the pirates succeed in taking the ship and mooring it offshore of Eyl, their haven. Their plans are to ransom the passengers and the ship for $200 million dollars. They force everyone to disembark to be held in t ...more
May 25, 2013 Phillis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good storyline.Pirates decide to hijack an unarmed cruise ship and think its easy pickin's. Well it is sorta, they can't fight back. Since this is a Coonts book with Jake Grafton, Tommy Carmellini, and Toad Tarkington, you know its not going to be a simple hand over of a $200 million ransom for over 800 hostages and everyone goes home happy. To top it off theres another bunch of muslim jihadist who are waiting for the money to be deliver so they can kill the pirates and take the money to fund th ...more
David Campton
A star spangled spanking doled out to Somali pirates and Al Shabab, with a bit of knife-wielding revenge on a rapist to boot. If only it really were so easy to sort out the world's problems. I felt genuinely uneasy reading this while stories of ISIS and Gaza filled the internet. Actually at the heart of this trash a truth was touched on - if the problems of piracy, fundamentalism and the endemic poverty that is a breeding ground for both are to be addressed it will take more than stirring speech ...more
Joel Anderson
May 26, 2013 Joel Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the middle of the African desert, Tommy Carmellini is contacted by his boss, Jake Grafton. A cruise liner with 850 crew and passengers has been captured by pirates off the coast of Somalia and is being taken to the pirate stronghold of Eyl. How do they proceed...can they be rescued...must a ransom be paid...if the ransom is paid, will the ship and hostages be returned? Rumor has it that an Al Qaeda linked group intends to kill all of the hostages and take the ransom money once it is receive ...more
Alexander Gardieff
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 30, 2016 Dustin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn't love it, didn't hate it. The right wing undertones kept getting in the way of what could have been a better story, and the alliterative nicknames made me feel like I was reading a swell comic book from the 1930's.
I loved 'Flight of the Intruder', but that was basically an autobiography, making it much more plausible. This was essentially a hardcore version of Captain Philips, with more violence and hostages thrown in, and with a less than subtle Americans-Rules!-Jihadis-Suck! message pla
May 07, 2016 Wayne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pirate Alley is a riveting, step by step tale of Somali pirates capturing a British cruise ship in the Indian Ocean, holding the passengers and crew for ransom, and then facing Jake Grafton & Tommy Carmellini as representatives of the US Government. In addition, the pirates had to deal with the Somali Shebab, fundamentalist Muslims who hoped to get their hands on any ransom to further the cause of jihad. It almost reads as a newspaper account of this bloody piracy. Much of the story is told ...more
Linda Vanderbloom
Terrific book. This is a story of Somalian pirates, Navy Seals, CIA, international government interaction (or lack of). It begins with the hijacking of a cruise ship by Somalian pirates and is about what happens to them and efforts to rescue them. Do they attempt a rescue or do they pay the ransom? It is disturbing and probably realistic to glimpse the process to get approval from bureaucrats for any kind of military action. The writing was so well done that the reader can get a true mental pict ...more
Scott Parsons
Dec 15, 2013 Scott Parsons rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am generally a fan of Stephen Coonts yarns. I was interested in this one because I encountered it on the heels of the movie Captain Phillips based on a true story of an attempted Somali pirate hijacking a few years ago.

Coonts does an excellent job of setting the scene and positioning the characters and giving us a bit of an education along the way. Pirate Alley is indeed just that, a bottleneck where Somali pirates nab cruise ships for ransom.

Of course Coonts and his sidekicks prevail in the e
Mark Polino
May 16, 2013 Mark Polino rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2013
I generally love Stephen Coonts' books so I was looking forward to Pirate Alley. This one didn't live up to it's potential for me. The elements were there, pirate, cruise ship, rescue, the works. It just didn't come together for me. Jake Grafton was positively wooden in this book and parts of the ending were just strange. Without spoiling anything, we have shiploads of US Marines offshore, Navy Seals sneaking on to a beach and...Royal Marines show up? There didn't seem to be any backstory there. ...more
Jun 02, 2013 Lou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Jake Grafton and his comrade Tommy Carmellini are sent on a mission to attempt to rescue a cruise ship hijacked off the coast of Somalia. Before Grafton and Carmellini can do anything, a botched rescue mission takes place - with disastrous results. Soldiers are killed along with cruise ship passengers, and the Somali pirates set the ransom. Grafton and Carmellini find themselves in the middle of the action in a small town in Somalia.
from start to finish, Coonts spins another exciting
The action starts right on the 2d page and get better as you go. The flow is great and the reading is soft with intense moments. Blowing the pirates out of the water was not allowed. My son, ex navy chief, said he had the pirates on sight with the 50 mm rifle but was not allowed to shoot unless they opened fire first. Anyway, back to the book, the characters were well displayed. You can imagine the Captain with clean white uniform getting all dirty. Also you can picture High Noon all dirty with ...more
Christopher Dodds
I always enjoy reading books written by Stephen Coonts because he is a really good writer and has created a great series involving some of my favourite characters including Jake Grafton, Toad Tarkington and Tommy Carmellini, and this book doesn't disappoint.
It has great action, well developed support characters as well as moments where things may have gone wrong but then turn out okay. The author takes great care with the military aspects and it shows.
This Jake Grafton Tommy Carmellini novel by Coonts finds a cruise ship hijacked near Somali and held for ransom. The naval commander on the scene is Grafton old aide de camp Toad Tarkington. After a blunder by political hacks gets some of the hostages killed Grafton is placed in command. Weaving a intricate plot involving marines, seals and the Cia he comes up with an ingenious plan involving the Pirates and the local Al Queda cell. Good read nonstop action.
Dwight Zimmerman
This is a great fast-paced thriller! Coonts is at the top of his game in this story of Somali pirates, a captured cruise ship, and Muslim jihadists looking to start a Holy War. Great action, some interesting plot twists and turns, and compelling vignettes. Had Stephen as a guest on my Veterans Radio Network show "At Ease" (archived at and he gave a great interview about the book, and hints about his upcoming novels.
The 5th in the Tommy Carmellini series as an operative of the CIA working for Jake Grafton so there will be crossover...Somali pirates capture a cruise liner and Grafton is charged with ending the affair and Carmellini is the tip of the spear...decent thriller, but not Coonts' best, but I love a melodrama where bad guys are bad & good guys are good & kick the bad guys asses...its that sort of read!!!
Lillian I Smith
Feb 20, 2016 Lillian I Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not if you plan a cruise sometime soon

Probably not his best book (I thought "Disciple" was absolutely super). This is a combination of the potential for targeted intervention and insights into the feckless remote executive interference with Military judgements,ROEs (Rules of Engagement). We simply must start regarding the Military as the honorable Profession on a par with Law, Medicine, etc.You will not be disappointed if you pick it up.
Jun 12, 2013 Mtbike40 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well crafted story about a cruise ship that is seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia. Tis book kept my attention throughout the story and is very believable. The abilities of our special forces are highlighted throughout the story and there is a good dose of government bureaucracy that causes difficulties for the forces that are facing the day to day decisions. It has been a long time since I read a book like this and this was a nice reintroduction.
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Stephen Coonts (born July 19, 1946) is an American thriller and suspense novelist.

Coonts grew up in Buckhannon, West Virginia, a small coal-mining town and earned an B.A. degree in political science at West Virginia University in 1968. He entered the Navy the following year and flew an A-6 Intruder medium attack plane during the Vietnam War, where he served on two combat cruises aboard the USS Ent
More about Stephen Coonts...

Other Books in the Series

Tommy Carmellini (7 books)
  • Liars & Thieves (Tommy Carmellini #1)
  • The Traitor (Tommy Carmellini #2)
  • The Assassin (Tommy Carmellini #3)
  • The Disciple (Tommy Carmellini #4)
  • Liberty's Last Stand (Jake Grafton #11; Tommy Carmellini #7)
  • The Armageddon File (Tommy Carmellini #8)

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