Picks and Pans Review: Flood Tide
The ever-daring Dirk Pitt has unearthed Incan gold and tracked down Cleopatra's barge, but there's one thing the debonair hero of Cussler's blockbuster bestsellers just can't seem to do: take a vacation. In his latest escapade, Pitt heads to Washington State's Orion Lake in search of a little fishing and relaxation. What he finds instead is a ruthless shipping magnate who's smuggling Chinese immigrants into the U.S. and plotting an economic and ecological disaster that will bring the country to its knees. Naturally, Pitt and his band of merry mariners from the National Underwater and Marine Agency step in to stop him.
Cussler's screeds against rising immigration rates will grate on some, but thankfully the author never takes himself or his stories too seriously. Packed with meticulous research and wonderfully quirky characters, the novel rolls along at a leisurely pace and is as fun as it is formulaic. There are no surprises here, but for pure entertainment, Flood Tide proves as reliable as Pitt's trusty Colt .45. (Simon & Schuster, $26)