Andrew Gross used to be one of James Patterson's co-writers, most notably on parts 2 and 3 of the "Women's Murder Club" series, before Patterson hooked up with Maxine Paetro and the series turned to shit. But now Andrew Gross has struck out on his own, first with "The Blue Zone", which I haven't read and now "The Dark Tide".
The plot has Charles Friedman, loving husband and father, seemingly perishing in a terrorist attack on a train. His devastated wife Karen tries to get on with her life, but finds herself and her family threatened by people whose motives and backgrounds aren't too clear. Then, a year after Charlie's death, Karen is certain she sees his face in a TV documentary about the terrorist attack. Now suspecting her husband is still alive, her path crosses with Lt. Ty Hauck, who is investigating some mysterious hit-and-run deaths. From there, they discover links to off-shore accounts, fraud in the shipping industry - and fledgling romance. And there are some nasty people out there also interested in finding Charlie Friedman who are not afraid to kill to get what they want.
"The Dark Tide" reminded me a lot of a James Patterson book from the old days, when it took longer than two hours to read one. It moves quickly, with short chapters, and is never dull. But, when all is said and done, not a lot really happens. Several chapters simply consist of drippy Karen rabbitting on and on about how deceived she feels by Charlie's actions and blah, blah, blah. Many chapters will introduce a character, kill them off, and never mention them again. And the characters are beyond two-dimensional. I was never convinced that Ty and Karen's romance was anything more than the author's desire to have a romantic subplot. It's hard to see what anybody would see in a woman like Karen, who's on a constant crying jag and never really seems to do anything useful. Ty often ruminates on how clever and strong she is, but maybe he was reading a different book than I was. Karen's uncovering of clues is nothing a trained monkey couldn't achieve. As for Ty, he was just....there. He simply wasn't the slightest bit interesting. I imagine Karen fell for him because he was the only guy out there who didn't want to slap her.
It's not a waste of time if you decide to read "The Dark Tide". I'm pretty picky, and derive much more enjoyment out of criticism than praise. But there's a lot worse stuff out there and, like I said before, it zips along nicely to its obvious conclusion.