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Richard Rupp
Author
DEATH ON THE HIGH SEAS
A continuation of the FBI Special Agent Hartmann series, that shows murder follows Hartmann wherever he goes - even on a get away cruise with his attractive partner Coleen. The brutal murder of a fellow passengers leads them into interviewing an interesting collection of passengers, and onto a club made up of criminals from around the world. The murder investigation leads to a sophisticated international money laundering scheme.
Reviews
Rupp’s slow-burn thriller leads readers on a global adventure. Special Agent Dick Hartmann and fellow FBI agent Coleen Ryan embark on a relaxing getaway aboard the Pacific Wonder cruise ship, where the Bon Appétit Insurance Company plans to hold its annual meeting. The insurance company manages finances for various high-level criminals, including Juanita Ramirez, head of a Mexican drug cartel. With the help of her girlfriend, Emelia Björk, Juanita strives to keep the cartel’s shady financial dealings under the FBI’s radar at any cost. When Bon Appétit’s CPA Greg Lemons notices discrepancies in the company’s bookkeeping, he is murdered to keep that information from becoming public. Dick and his team must unravel the mystery of the man’s death and bring the killer to justice.

Readers must suspend disbelief to fully appreciate this thriller. Juanita too-readily divulges highly sensitive information, including the inner workings of her business, to Emelia. Dick also acts questionably. After he’s summoned to meet with the captain about Greg’s murder, he pauses to take a shower and change clothing, a shocking delay considering the situation. Exposition is often repeated, slowing the pace despite a whirlwind plot and large ensemble cast filled with FBI agents and criminals. The frequent objectification of women (including by other women, as when Emelia eyes the “boobies” of “circle of dykes” at a party) a missed opportunity, undermining the promise of strong heroines and multidimensional women villains.

Rupp’s extensive world travel shines on the page. The truly varied assortment of settings includes Berlin, Monaco, and North Carolina. As each new locale is described, readers will find it easy to picture the characters there. His background in the commercial insurance industry paves the way for a sophisticated insurance scheme that keeps the pages turning as layer after layer is uncovered. Armchair travelers will get the most from this cruise through bloody waters.

Takeaway: Fans of financial thrillers and literary vacations will enjoy this tale of crime and scheming on a cruise ship.

Great for fans of Catherine Ryan Howard’s Distress Signals.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: B-
Marketing copy: A

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