premise of THE DARK TIDE is a fascinating one. A terrorist attack
takes place, sending multiple explosions through Grand Central
Station. A train carrying Charles Friedman, a partner in a small
but successful commodities brokerage firm, arrives simultaneously.
He leaves behind his wife Karen and two teenaged children.
Unbeknownst to Karen, though, Charles had been in deep trouble. He
cut corners here, bent rules there, and did all sorts of unethical
things with the money of people who do not take such disrespect
lightly. They’re not the type to file a lawsuit or complaint
with a regulatory commission; they make their displeasure known up
close and personal.
After the bombing, those who had been unhappy with Charles ---
sending him warnings, some subtle, some not so --- are now visiting
Karen, operating on the premise that she knew exactly what her
husband was doing. Karen, deep in grieving, of course had no idea
what Charles was up to. She has nothing to give these people, who
even go so far as to threaten her daughter.
And this, my friends, is just the beginning of THE DARK TIDE,
Andrew Gross’s sophomore solo effort. I believe it’s
both a blessing and a curse to be known primarily as the co-author
of several novels when your writing partner is one of the
world’s most successful, best-known authors. The blessing is
that it gets your name out there; the curse is that people might
wonder if you can make it on your own steam. In Gross’s case,
that question would seem to have been answered in the affirmative
with his debut, THE BLUE ZONE. With THE DARK TIDE, it is immutably
settled that the answer remains yes.
Gross’s latest novel contains the basic stock characters we
love, embraced by an exciting and riveting plot with
ever-accelerating forward motion: Karen, the damsel in distress; a
number of mysterious bad guys lurking in the shadows who jump out
and do terrible things at inopportune moments; and a damaged but
solid good guy who you can easily cheer on. The latter is
Lieutenant Ty Hauck, Chief of Detectives of the Greenwich Police
Hauck enters Karen’s circle --- and vice versa --- when he
launches an investigation into a hit-and-run incident in Greenwich
only hours after the terrorist explosion. One of the few clues that
Hauck possesses is a slip of paper in the dead man’s pocket
that bears Charles Friedman’s name and telephone number. At
first the connection seems innocuous enough --- Charles had an
automobile restored at the body shop where the deceased worked ---
but as Hauck slowly begins to discover, there is much more to this
death, and to Charles, than meets the eye.
Hauck’s investigation leads him from The Hamptons to rural
South Jersey to Pensacola and back again. The answer though lies in
the Caribbean, where the biggest surprise of all awaits, and
multiple forces converge for justice, revenge and, perhaps most
important, closure. It takes a final, bloody resolution in
Greenwich, however, before answers are provided and all --- for
good or ill --- is resolved.
THE DARK TIDE rolls in just in time for spring break; it’s
the first great beach book of 2008, one that will be purchased and
recommended well into the summer. Be the first among your friends
to read it and find Gross’s very quick and clever
acknowledgement of the work of his famous co-writer.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 29, 2010