Being a major fan of Patrick O'Brian, the idea of a historical detective series set in the Age of Sail (albeit from the US perspective) was always goi...moreBeing a major fan of Patrick O'Brian, the idea of a historical detective series set in the Age of Sail (albeit from the US perspective) was always going to appeal to me, though it's taken me till now to get my hands on this first book in the series...
Our protagonist in A Watery Grave is one Wiki Coffin, half-Maori and half-American, now a sailor on his friend's ship which is part of a planned expeditionary force. Wiki is wrongly accused of murder at the outset and then deputised to investigate, given that the main suspects are sailing as part of the same fleet.
Which is a nice concept for a book, if it weren't that Wiki himself wasn't so gosh-darned perfect in every way: he speaks every language going, is a top-notch sailor and everyone loves him. Everyone except one of the characters who's set up to be a villain, and even he comes round in the end. There really is very little tension, even during the period when Wiki is imprisoned and at risk of being hanged for murder. The local library here has the second book in the series, Shark Island, so I'll probably give it a try to see if things improve, but I'm not hopeful!(less)
**spoiler alert** This is another one of those books I picked up because the blurb sounded interesting, and after all how wrong can you go with pirate...more**spoiler alert** This is another one of those books I picked up because the blurb sounded interesting, and after all how wrong can you go with pirates and zombies?
The protagonist of On Stranger Tides is John Shandy, the son of a puppeteer who is in the Caribbean in search of his uncle and revenge - his uncle swindled John's father out of a fortune, faking papers to make it appear he was already dead when instead he was living in penury. Shandy comes into contact with pirates, just as the pirating trade is starting to come to a close, and puts his plans for vengeance on hold, choosing a piratical life over having his brains blown out.
It's an entertaining enough book, if a bit in need of some editing. And Powers really needs to learn how to write female characters, or indeed make a plot that requires them to be something other than passive and pushed around by circumstance. The obligatory romance sub-plot is dull, with the main interest (for me at least) coming in some of Shandy's friendships with the other pirates which are far more convincing than any scene with his love interest.(less)