Thursday, August 27, 2009

Review - Pirate Hunter

If I weren't a chicken in many ways, I'd love to be Tom Morrisey. Look at his biography: mountaineer, aviator, shipwreck diver, and explorer, who holds a Full Cave certification from the National Speleological Society - Cave Diving Section. Plus he is a great writer. He has won awards for his adventure-travel writing in magazines, and now he has become an accomplished novelist.

His first few books were a little more standard suspense fare, mixing his experiences into the stories. However, starting with In High Places two years ago and Wind River last year, he moved into more heartfelt dramatic stories, and the impact of this change is remarkable.

A few weeks ago the CFBA featured his latest book, Pirate Hunter, but I didn't get it in time to review it. It was worth the wait though.


High Seas Adventure Meets a High-Tech Quest for Pirate Gold

West Indies, 18th century Young Ted Bascombe is rescued by notorious pirate Captain Henry Thatch, finding himself caught up in a world of crime, adventure, and a daily fight for freedom....

Key West, 21st century Marine archaeologist Greg Rhode embarks on a treasure-hunting expedition in the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys, but he's as beguiled by a beautiful diver with different-colored eyes as by the lure of pirate gold...

The Hunt Is On!

Interweaving these two stories, pro deep-sea diver Tom Morrisey spins a multilayered tale of two young men's quests to escape their past by losing themselves to adventure on the high seas. Romantic and thrilling, this unique novel explores the timeless truth that "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Tom Morrisey has become very good at combining complex, wounded characters with exotic locations and enough gritty detail of the setting that you feel you are living the adventure. Here, his experience in diving on shipwrecks gives deep authenticity to the settings in modern times. He's done enough research, and his knowledge carries over enough, that his 1700s pirate sections ring true as well.

He has done a masterful job of weaving the two threads together. Most times that he switches from past to modern, he uses the phrasing or imagery from the section he's just leaving to start the new segment. Maybe a regular reader wouldn't pick up on this, but it is such a clever touch and shows his thoroughness in his writing. He builds suspense throughout the book, and whenever something is crescendoing in one time period, you can bet there will be a flip to the other!

I think Tom Morrisey is the best writer I'm reading currently for getting into the hearts of men and showing the internal conflict and dealing with past hurts in such a realistic way. The protagonists may be heroic, but they are not bombastic. You can see yourself knowing them in your day to day life. My only complaint is that his pirate, Henry Thatch, seems a little too genteel for his time, but he is an engaging character and I liked him too much to really complain.

As this blog has a quirky affinity for things of a pirate nature, it probably isn't a surpise that I heartily enjoy this book. Still, Morrisey is one of the best writers out there, even though I don't think his name is well-known. Pirate Hunter is his best book yet in my opinion, and if you want modern drama, swashbuckling suspense, and deep characters, then this is a great book to dive into.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Pirate Hunter, go HERE



  1. I love Tom Morrisey, too. Such a talented writer. Enjoyed this novel, but my absolute favorite was In High Places. It wowed me. Loved his Beck Easton books, too. He's the only author I know who can write the technical stuff into the story without it being a load to read.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Jason. A word on the three books you mentioned: IN HIGH PLACES was actually written between other book contracts on and off over a period of seven years. I wrote it as a Christmas gift for my family, and only showed it to editors after it was finished. WIND RIVER was an experiment in "show, don't tell" (no going inside characters' heads; everything had to be done with action and dialogue), and PIRATE HUNTER was an experiment in paired novels (two different stories with two points of view). It's interesting to try different things like that, and I feel very blessed that readers appreciate it and are coming along on the journey. You're right that I am not as well-known as some; writing comes more easily to me than self-promotion. I'll have to work on that.