Book Review: The Gray Ghost by Clive Cussler & Robin Burcell

June 18, 2018 Book Reviews 2

Book Review: The Gray Ghost by Clive Cussler & Robin Burcell

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Gray Ghost by Clive Cussler, Robin Burcell
Series: Fargo Adventure #10
Genres: Action, Adventure
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on May 29, 2018
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Also in this series: The Mayan Secrets

Also by this author: The Mayan Secrets, Ghost Ship, The Eye of Heaven, Piranha, The Pharaoh's Secret, The Emperor's Revenge, Pirate, Odessa Sea, Havana Storm, Nighthawk, The Romanov Ransom, Typhoon Fury, The Rising Sea

Tenth in the Sam and Remi Fargo action-adventure series and revolving around a young-but-retired couple of millionaires who enjoy doing good deeds, especially if it involves guns, escapes, and quick thinking.

My Take

This was SOO much better than the last one. Whew. I particularly enjoyed how Cussler–Burcell slipped back and forth from our time to Jonathan’s journals from 1906. Very clever. Another clever bit was how Cussler–Burcell disguised that info dump, giving us Sam’s and Remi’s backgrounds. Very nice.

It’s good triumphs over evil with plenty of action. I particularly enjoyed the crisis Sam and Remi face over having all their funds and accounts frozen. They’re forced to be quite clever…and talk about one in the eye for the bad guys, lol. I loved their complacency and seeing it shatter page by page. Yep, because the authors are using third person global subjective point-of-view, we know what several of the characters are thinking and feeling as well as getting their perspective on events. It sure doesn’t make me feel any kinder about the bad guys! That dad!!?! But it does make their comeuppance all the sweeter.

I gotta say it was scary seeing how easy it was for the Fargos to get shut down.

There’s a wee bit more progress on the Selma–Lazlo “romance”.

Some niggles. There were a few areas that felt “neglected” or glossed over. It’s my whine that I had to really work to figure out who was what in a few areas, particularly the one about the issue that split the family. I took notes, speculated, and finally came ’round to what I think is the reason. I still don’t get why Arthur is so upset about the whole thing. Where does Reggie get the idea that his uncle stole the estate from his younger brother?

Then there’s Dad’s expectations: If Jonathan is expected to put time into the orphanage six days a week, how is it that he doesn’t notice how hungry and poorly clothed the kids are? As for Chad only knowing what he’s learned on the Internet…excuse me? Chad says that he worked with his uncle on collectible cars, taught him everything, so, um, how does that work? His uncle dies and all the knowledge and experience he gave Chad died too? Sounds like the same person who wrote the book summary was the editor…and missed a bit.

The Story

They keep coming out of the woodwork, the relatives with a hand out. Sam is sure those Paytons are more of the same, wanting to use the Gray Ghost as collateral for a loan to save the family estate…blah, blah, blah…

Only, it seems the Fargos are second cousins, and the Paytons really do need help. A whole lot more help when the Gray Ghost is stolen. Again. And again.

The Characters

Sam and Remy Fargo retired early due to Sam’s inventive mind. Now their efforts are devoted to the charitable Fargo Foundation. Clive Cussler is a friend. They live in a fortress in La Jolla, California, with offices in their home where Selma Wondrash, their Hungarian-born researcher, works with Professor Lazlo Kemp (The Eye of Heaven, 6), a cryptographer. Zoltán is their German shepherd. They have two part-time assistants, Pete Jeffcoat and Wendy Corden, who don’t show in this story. Eunice “Libby” Fargo is Sam’s mother and runs a charter boat in Key West for snorkelers and deep-sea fishing.

The dotty Lord Albert Payton, the 7th Viscount Wellswick, is having to sell up everything. Oliver Payton is his nephew and heir. Mrs. Beckett is the housekeeper at Payton Manor. I think Jones is the chauffeur.

Allegra is Oliver’s younger sister. She has a son, Trevor, who’s into computers and has an eidetic memory…like Remi. She divorced Dex Northcott because of his brutality.

Arthur Oren is estranged family. Jane is his secretary. Arthur Jr “AJ” is his one-year-old son. Colton Devereux is a cold, heartless mercenary who never fails and has a team of ex-Special Forces and computer hackers. I think Frank and Bruno work for him.

Chad Williams made himself out to be a Rolls-Royce restoration whiz. David Cooke is the solicitor the Fargos hire to defend Uncle Albert from murder charges. Bill Snyder is a private detective working for Cooke. Geoffrey Russell is the nephew of the Fargos’ personal banker.

Italy
Georgia and John Bockoven used to photograph cars and write articles about them, then they bought a vineyard in Italy and retired. Paolo Magnanimi owns a restaurant on the Via Appia Antica and makes the best tiramisu. Marco Verzino is a friend of Georgia’s and has a B&B in Rome. Luca is a much-removed “friend of a friend” who can get the Fargos into an illicit auction. Lorenzo Rossi is a facilitator who works out of Milan. Monsieur Marchand handles the Paris office.

Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach is…
…where a vintage car show is taking place. Kimberley is the concierge at the Inn at Spanish Bay.

1906, Manchester, England

Jonathan Payton, while heir to a viscountcy, works for Rolls-Royce Limited. Reginald Oren is a cousin with whom he was raised. Elizabeth is Reginald’s wife, and they have a newborn son. Viscount Wellswick, Jonathan’s father, was a major jerk, a harsh disciplinarian, and cheap as well. Byron is Lord Ryderton, a friend of the family.

Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, as well as Viscount Payton, have invested everything in the forty-fifty Gray Ghost prototype. Barker and Company outfitted the Rollses.

Toby Edwards and his younger brother, Chip, live at the Payton Home for Orphans and are searching for food. Lizzie and Abigail are their sisters. Miss Lydia Atwater is a teacher at the orphanage. Barclay Keene is the owner of the Barclay Keene Electric Motor Works and married to the sister of the headmaster of the orphanage.

Will Sutton is a private detective. Isaac Bell is a private detective with the Van Dorn Detective Agency chasing down a group of train robbers.

Eddie, Mac, and Finlay are some of the robbers.

The Cover and Title

The cover is perfect with this scene from the book, as Oliver, Remi, and Sam make a desperate bid to escape a warehouse fire in a 1917 Ahrens-Fox fire engine. Cussler’s name is huge, taking up the top third of the book using an embossed white with a metallic silver outline. The second author’s name is teeny in white under it. The title is at the bottom in an embossed metallic gold while the series information is below that in white.

The title is the focus throughout, the recovery of The Gray Ghost.

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