When a U boat is spotted floating on the surface of the Atlantic in 1940 by a British destroyer, the remaining German crew accuse one of their shipmates of being a Jonah. Why then, in the Pacific in 1945, do the same events seem to be recurring on US Navy destroyer Brownlee?
The protagonist of this novel, “Lucky” Mitch Kirkham is introduced to us as he and his crewmates are involved in a terrifying battle with a continuous attack by Japanese Kamikaze pilots. For the second time in his naval career, Mitch survives while others are killed. He finds himself an outcast, distrusted, disliked and mistreated by his immediate superior. When his life is threatened he is befriended by Father McGready, who gives him some hope that he will return home safely, but soon many of the crew are showing symptoms of hysteria, seeing ghosts and talking of a sea-monster. Mitch is a naturally curious individual, an interesting character to follow, but this leads him into more trouble. He no longer knows whom he can trust or who will be acting strangely, next.
The author gradually reveals the back stories of Mitch and the other characters so that we understand their demons. Battle scenes are vividly described and full of tension. It is evident that Carl Rackman has thoroughly researched wartime life in the US navy and we can imagine ourselves on board the Brownlee. As the plot develops, the reader feels an increasing fear of imminent disaster leading to an eventful, surprising conclusion.