The Caribbean Affair
by Nick Thacker.
Within the realm of the action-adventure genre in which I write, Nick Thacker consistently captures my attention with his latest creations. I read with questions in mind: Does the storyline possess an enthralling allure? Is the prose skillfully honed? Does it possess an irresistible pull, urging the reader to keep turning the pages? For Nick Thacker's "The Caribbean Affair," the answers are yes, across the board.
At the heart of this story stands Jack Barr. Interestingly, Jack shares the same given name as mine, Jackson, although he has a clear preference for the simplicity of "Jack." (I suspect Thacker has woven a compelling backstory to illuminate this choice.) Occupying a desk job at the CIA, Jack is a far cry from the likes of James Bond, yet this very distinction resonates with the reader. It positions him as an ordinary man, someone any reader can envisage walking in the same shoes.
Embarking on a Caribbean cruise with his wife and two young daughters, Jack's intentions are set on a well-deserved vacation. Amid the voyage, the narrative introduces a dubious character on board — an individual radiating an aura of malevolence. But to what end? A critical juncture unfolds when an explosion rocks the ship's frame while it’s anchored in the waters off Jamaica. It causes a subtle tilt. The crew ushers passengers onto lifeboats, bound for the nearby shore. A subtle inkling, however, raises Jack's suspicion, propelling him to defy convention by springing back to the vessel from the lifeboat.
And thus begins an extraordinary journey.
Thacker adroitly crafts a vivid tapestry of characters, some evoking intense aversion while others command our fervent support. Intriguingly, not all whom we root for emerge unscathed, an artful device that prevents complacency for the reader's experience. The plot's contours remain veiled in mystery through a substantial part of the book, with revelations and "aha" moments held tantalizingly until the final moments.
"The Caribbean Affair" stands as a well-told tale, where Thacker's narrative shines.