Henry again balances tension with laughs as Jefir adjusts to life on the run as Jeff Zachary, “a moniker so solidly American it was simultaneously a mutton-chopped president and a ten-year-old proto-hipster.” Meanwhile, a mysterious figure escaped from one of the containers, and Natasha, who respects Jeff’s hustle, interrogates the crew of the Monkey Fist to see who’s keeping secrets while out at sea. The characters are distinct and memorable throughout, with Natasha—soon Tasha—a favorite as she takes command of her team and struggles with leadership.
Henry writes with a strong voice, tinged with the comic, and a love for both the odd detail—be ready to learn about fictional junk TV, the superstitions of smugglers, and Jeff’s amusingly nonplussed discovery of Nirvana at karaoke—but not at the cost of narrative momentum. At times, the funny business and in-world curiosities (like the omnipresent tech company Wangle) can cut against the tension, and characters who appear early on are missed during their long absences. But readers who relish both high personal stakes and lighthearted storytelling will find much to enjoy.
Takeaway: Funny, sea-faring thriller caper of a man chased by warlords.
Comparable Titles: Charles Salzberg’s Man on the Run, Jana Deleon.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A