This first novel by former Royal Navy submariner J. S. Law introduces Lieutenant Danielle Lewis who investigates crimes involving loss of life. Dan, as she calls herself, is a complex character with quite a background story. The author does a great job telling the backstory, slowly revealing details, until we get a full understanding of who she is and what drives her. This sets the stage well for a series where she will repeatedly take center stage.
What is remarkable about this book is how well the author describes Dan’s sense of claustrophobia when she is investigating the suicide of an officer on board nuclear submarine HMS Tenacity. It was extremely lifelike and very much reminded me of visiting a small submarine in St-Nazaire and the cramped living quarters of the airplane carrier USS Midway in San Diego.
Situating the story in such a constrained environment enabled the author to explore the impact of the extra stress caused by it, both on Dan as she is trying to investigate a crime and on the sailors as they are trying to carry on their work. Of course, we are not talking here about the perverse long term effects such as the criminal behaviors she is investigating. We can only hope that the latter solely finds its origin in the author’s imagination.
In the end, Dan finds her answers but others’ interpretation of reality differs with potential dire consequences for her. Future adventures await…
This book was published in the UK in July and will be coming out in the US in November 2015.
Law, James S. Tenacity. Henry Holt and Co. 2015.