Gale Force by Owen Laukkanen

Gale Force

byOwen Laukkanen

Hardcover | May 8, 2018

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For all lovers of maritime adventure comes an electrifying thriller of treachery and peril on the high seas featuring a dynamic new heroine, from multi-award-nominated suspense star Owen Laukkanen.

In the high-stakes world of deep-sea salvage, an ocean disaster can mean a huge payoff--if you can survive the chase.

McKenna Rhodes has never been able to get the sight of her father''s death out of her mind. A freak maritime accident has made her the captain of the salvage boat Gale Force, but it''s also made her cautious, sticking closer to the Alaska coastline. She and her crew are just scraping by, when the freighter Pacific Lion, out of Yokohama, founders two hundred miles out in a storm.

This job is their last chance--but there is even more at stake than they know. Unlisted on any manifest, the Lion''s crew includes a man on the run carrying fifty million dollars in stolen Yakuza bearer bonds. The Japanese gangsters want the money. The thief''s associates want the money. Another salvage ship, far bigger and more powerful than Gale Force, is racing to the rendezvous as well. And the storm rages on. If McKenna can''t find a way to prevail, everything she loves--the ship, her way of life, maybe even her life itself--will be lost.

Filled with bravery, betrayal, sudden twists, and pure excitement, Gale Force is a spectacular new adventure from the fast-rising suspense star.
Owen Laukkanen is the author of the Stevens and Windermere series, beginning with The Professionals, which was nominated for the Anthony Award, Barry Award, Spinetingler Magazine Best Novel: New Voices Award, and the International Thriller Writers’ Thriller Award for best first novel. His follow-up, Crimi...
Title:Gale ForceFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:384 pages, 9.31 X 6.31 X 1.19 inShipping dimensions:384 pages, 9.31 X 6.31 X 1.19 inPublished:May 8, 2018Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0735212635

ISBN - 13:9780735212633

Appropriate for ages: All ages

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Read from the Book

1 Present Day // Yokohama, after dark The cargo ship Pacific Lion stretched 650 feet along the pier, her hull rising a hundred feet out of black water. At her stern, on a massive loading ramp, a long line of brand-new Nissan cars waited to be loaded, while amidships, a man smoked near a gangway leading from the pier to a small hatchway in the hull, the cherry end of his cigarette a beacon in the darkness. Tomio Ishimaru stuck to the shadows as he hurried toward the man. He''d bribed a customs officer to let him access the docks, but at that moment, customs officers were the least of his problems. In his briefcase, he carried bearer bonds worth more than forty-five million euros-nearly fifty million American dollars-property of the Inagawa-kai syndicate of the yakuza, Japanese organized crime. The bonds were a simple game. The syndicate funneled money from its numerous criminal enterprises into stock certificates for an anonymous corporation based nominally in Switzerland. Basic money-laundering-except, instead of delivering the bonds as he''d been contracted, Tomio Ishimaru had made a play. Now the bonds were his, and that made him-for the moment-a very rich man. Assuming he could get out of Yokohama alive. The man with the cigarette stepped out of the shadows as Ishimaru approached. His name was Okura, and, once upon a time, he''d been a teenage friend of Ishimaru. Now he wore the dress uniform of an officer in the Japanese Overseas Lines, and his face had aged considerably since those early years. Okura took another drag of his cigarette. Regarded Ishimaru with a wry smile. "Ishimaru-san," he said. "I thought you were going to miss the boat." Ishimaru didn''t bother to return the smile. Okura hadn''t any idea how much effort he''d expended to be there. There were bodies in his wake. There were members of the Inagawa-kai close behind. There was no time for idle banter. "The bonds took more effort to obtain than expected," he replied. "When can we board the ship?" Okura looked up and down the dock. The row of Nissans, five thousand of them, was nearly at its end. Soon, the ship would sail. "Patience," he told his old classmate. "When I go back inside, I won''t set foot on dry land again for two weeks." Ishimaru shifted his weight. Followed Okura''s gaze. "You''re sure you can hide me. Nobody is aware?" "You''ll be fine," Okura replied. "This ship is filled with hiding spaces. If you stay silent and keep out of sight, we''ll be okay." Ishimaru nodded. Scanned the dock again with nervous, darting eyes. Wondered when Okura had become such a shark, wondered just how much debt his old friend had accrued in the parlors. Wondered how he, Ishimaru, had found himself here. Finally, Okura flicked his cigarette away. "Iiyo," he said, stepping back to the gangway. "Welcome aboard." In point of fact, Tomio IshimaruÕs path to the Pacific Lion had begun months ago, in one of YokohamaÕs many dimly lit and smoky jansou-underground mah-jongg parlors operated by the Inagawa-kai. At first, heÕd imagined that this path had been accidental. Lately, he wasnÕt so sure. By nature, Ishimaru wasn''t much of a gambler. He was an accountant, a numbers man, and anyone with even a weak grasp of numbers could see that it was near impossible to win money consistently in the parlors. In the first place, the rakes charged by the operators were obscene. It took skill to beat the house, much less one''s opponents. Ishimaru hadn''t the skill, nor the gambler''s desire. He wasn''t sure why he''d come to the jansou at all. He was a bachelor, was the reason, little more than a hardworking salaryman. He had few friends, but his coworkers, fellow accountants with the Inagawa-kai, and associates of the syndicate drank for free at many of the parlors in the city. Ishimaru went to be social, to get drunk. He went to stare at the pretty hostesses who flitted about the crowded rooms, draping themselves on the arms of the high rollers. It was in one of these parlors, late at night, that he''d reconnected with Hiroki Okura. And it was there, in the bar, as the hours grew long and the conversation turned from old classmates and memories to the present day, that Ishimaru had carelessly let slip his position with the syndicate-and it was in a similar bar, in a similar parlor some nights later, that Okura had first broached his idea. "It''s suicide," Ishimaru had replied as his former classmate explained the plan. "We''d never make it out of Yokohama, much less the whole country." Okura had laughed, poured more sake. "You haven''t been paying attention, Ishimaru-san," Okura had said, clapping him on the shoulder. "I can get us out of the country, no problem. You just get us those bonds." Okura had persisted. Needled, angled, flattered, cajoled. And Ishimaru? He''d realized, as Okura spoke, that he was sick of his boring, unglamorous life. He was sick of working to death on behalf of the syndicate, trading his youth and seeing no real reward; sick of returning to his tiny apartment alone every night. Okura had kept speaking. Ishimaru had listened. And, eventually, he''d agreed to join with the sailor, to steal the yakuza bonds and stow away to America. The Lion sailed at midnight. From a storage locker at the rear of the shipÕs accommodations deck, Ishimaru sipped tea and peered out through a porthole as the crew cast off lines and a fleet of tugs moved the ship from the pier. He could feel the LionÕs massive engines rumble beneath him. Watched the lights of the harbor swing past. Before he left Ishimaru to his new, cramped confines, Okura had assured him that he was safe. "No one should disturb you here, but just in case, keep the door locked," the ship''s officer had said. "I''ll bring you food when I''m able." "Bring me a book, too," Ishimaru replied. "Two weeks in this cave and I''ll surely go crazy." "For ten percent of your cut, I''ll see what I can do," Okura replied, and Ishimaru couldn''t be sure he was joking. Then an alarm sounded, and Okura left him, making his retreat to the bow to supervise the big ship''s departure. Alone now, Ishimaru was in his hiding place, stowed away in secret, watching the lights of the harbor slowly recede in the distance, and feeling the tension in his muscles dissipate. Though his body relaxed, his mind wasn''t able to. The adrenaline rush-the urgent, electric thrill of his flight to the docks-had subsided. All that remained was a mounting fatigue, and the inescapable truth of what he had done. The memory of the warm pistol in his hands, the shocked looks of his colleagues-his friends-as he''d turned on them, betrayed them, murdered them in cold blood. He''d made it on board the Lion. He was now a rich man. But as Ishimaru stretched out in his locker and tried to relax, he thought of the money, and of the three friends he''d killed for it, and he couldn''t quite chase the feeling that he''d just sold his soul. Seven days later Second officer Hiroki Okura checked the Pacific Lion''s coordinates on the ship''s GPS instruments. Then he crossed the bridge to the intraship telephone and placed a call to the captain''s quarters. It was nearly midnight, and the ship was approaching the American territorial limit, two hundred miles from the Alaskan Aleutian Islands. It had been an uneventful voyage so far, with reasonable weather; they were making good time. Lately, however, the North Pacific had developed some bite. The Lion was plowing through a steady fifteen-foot swell, twenty-knot winds. Hardly dangerous stuff for a ship of this size, but lumpy enough to be noticeable. Nobody had yet discovered Tomio Ishimaru. The yakuza accountant remained safe, secreted away in his unused storage locker, the stolen bonds secure in his briefcase. Fifty million dollars. Okura had been able to think of little else since the Lion began her voyage. The telephone rang twice, and the captain answered. "Yes?" "Second Officer Okura, sir," Okura said. "We are approaching the American two-hundred-mile limit. I request your clearance to dump the ballast water." The captain grunted. "Seems a little rough, doesn''t it?" he replied. "Might be safer to jog into these seas for a while, wait for the swell to die down." "As you wish," Okura replied. "Though we risk missing our window at the Port of Seattle if we wait too long." The captain was silent a moment, and Okura could almost read his thoughts. Unlike most cargo ships, whose payloads rested close to the waterline, the Pacific Lion was a car carrier, a large, bricklike vessel with a high center of gravity. Consequently, the Lion carried seawater as ballast to retain stability, but American law required the ship to change out the ballast water before entering U.S. territorial waters, to prevent the spread of invasive marine species. It was a delicate procedure, involving the release of the ship''s old ballast simultaneous with the intake of new seawater, and Okura knew the captain would prefer to wait for the calmest seas possible. But Okura also knew that the ca

Editorial Reviews

Early Praise for GALE FORCE“One of the outstanding adventures of the year -- a big sea story with a brilliant and beautiful woman as the tough captain of a salvage boat.” —CLIVE CUSSLER   “An absolute blast of a nautical thriller, as good a tale of mayhem and adventure on the high seas as I’ve read in years.” —JOHN LESCROART   “A pulse-pounding race against bad guys, the competition, Mother Nature, and our heroine’s own shadowy instincts. It’s high-seas excitement, melded with old-fashioned adventure, cleverly imagined.” —STEVE BERRY   “I absolutely love a thriller that expertly opens a window to a dangerous profession I never knew about – in this case the world of maritime salvage operations. Owen Laukkanen must have seawater in his veins and he’s struck gold with Gale Force. It’s a propulsive and entirely engaging modern-day sea adventure.” —C.J. BOX   “An adventure tour-de-force as taut as a wire rope dragging a ship through the high seas. Imagine it: biting winds, rogue waves, and a young female captain to be reckoned with. Intriguingly face-paced, the suspense never lets up. You don’t want to miss this thrilling tale.”—GAYLE LYNDS   “A fantastic thriller! Owen Laukkanen has created a modern high-seas adventure with such realism that you’ll swear you can taste the salt air and feel the crashing waves as you race through the lightning-paced story. With distinctive characters, tense action, and a twisty plot, Gale Force is a novel you won’t want to put down until the very last page.”—BOYD MORRISON   “A fresh and sweeping thriller – Owen Laukkanen brings the high-stakes, life-and-death arena of shipwreck salvage vividly to life. McKenna Rhodes is a terrific heroine – gutsy, smart, and full of heart.” —MEG GARDINER   “Gale Force draws you in from the very beginning, then leaves you breathless as you race to the finish. Owen Laukkanen’s intimate knowledge of the sea and ocean-faring vessels is apparent from the first page – but it’s his skill in writing suspense that grabs you like a riptide, not letting go until the very last page. Quite simply one of the best books I’ve read all year.”  —ROBIN BURCELL   “Sailors always start great sea stories with, ‘This really happened!’ That’s how Owen Laukkanen deserves to introduce Gale Force. When you read this thrilling tale of salvage at sea, you will never doubt his brave woman captain’s fight to save her father’s salvage ship from greed, evil, and a horrific storm.” —JUSTIN SCOTT