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Fallen Out


Worth reading 😎

If you relish a story about a retired career Marine who reinvents himself as a fishing captain this book is for you.

If you relish a story about a retired career Marine who reinvents himself as a fishing captain, then this book is for you. With serviceable descriptions and a local’s view of the Florida Keys, the book’s backdrop is the dive bars and docks of marinas. We meet a motley cast (and few women – all of whom are babes) who have made a life of hanging around; characters who make their livelihood on the Florida coast and offshore, fishing and ferrying around tourists. “Fallen Out” is a small boat tour with a military operator at the helm. You’re safe but it’s not all that interesting.

Post retirement, Jesse McDermitt heads back to his home town where he buys a boat to run fishing charters. He hires a skipper and even buys a small island. In other hands, we might be off to big adventures.

But in “Fallen Out,” the one big adventure pops, not at the end as a denouement, but in the middle. A short, dramatic coda rounds out the final pages.

On the good side, Stinnett foreshadows danger; pirates and sex slave operators have been identified in the area, a crime has been committed. But the writing does not build enough tension. Who were the victims, beside a newspaper sized clipping? How far did the investigation go? How does McDermitt feel about the fact that pirates and kidnappers are plying the same waters where he has committed his life savings and is responsible for tourists?

The biggest drawback to “Fallen Out” is the lack of emotional involvement. The writing style is noir, with a snarky narrator who calls women shrews and tells time in military hours.

Wayne Stinnett has created a series of books around the protagonist, Jesse McDermitt. This is Volume 1 of a the “Caribbean Adventure series.” This is a prequel to the Mc Dermitt series, and the author’s 4th novel.

In spite of the good deed of capturing the bosses of a kidnapping and sex slave operation, the story lacks the variation and color of a great mystery. Countless chapters start the day with a pot of coffee, a visit from a nearby boat mate or crew and end in a bar with beers. In between, there are charter trips and storms, but we don’t get to know anyone or feel the anxiety of an oncoming hurricane.

We never learn what happened with either of his two failed marriages, what his values really are, or how he feels about retiring. We don’t get to know his parents who left him enough money to buy a half million-dollar boat and a small island.

Magical moments transpire out in those Keys; angles of watery light, colors and types of coral, shark or alligator encounters, even environmental degradation would have been welcome additions to add texture. Hemingway wrote about the area, but that book has stood the test of time. “Fallen Out” could have if it had more color.

Reviewed by

The author of three acclaimed volumes of poetry, an award-winning chapbook of short fiction and a forthcoming novel set in a Silicon Valley startup, Joan has received writing awards, commendations, nominations and honors.

Chapter 1

About the author

Wayne Stinnett is an American author of thirteen novels and one non-fiction book on writing. He’s also a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps, as is his main character, Jesse McDermitt. He grew up in Melbourne, Florida, and has also lived in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico. view profile

Published on May 27, 2014

Published by Down Island Press

80000 words

Genre: Thriller & Suspense

Reviewed by