Read This: Tenacity by J.S. Law

Tenacity by J.S. Law (Henry Holt, Nov. 3rd)-When a submariner with the Royal Navy hangs himself in his sub, the HMS Tenacity, and his wife is found beaten and murdered, Lieutenant Danielle “Dan” Lewis is assigned to find out what may have led him to kill himself. The problem is that his wife’s murder resonates with Dan in a very personal way, and she sees this as an opportunity to clear her name after flying solo on a case that almost got her killed. Dan, for various reasons, has alienated most those closest to her, and when she’s partnered with John Granger, who she kept out of the loop with that fateful case, it’s a little awkward. Dan knows she’ll have to deal with what John sees as a horrible breach of trust, but this case comes first. When Dan and John present themselves to the crew of the Tenacity, only one is allowed to come aboard when it sets out, and Dan insists on going, much to the chagrin of John, and pretty much everyone on Tenacity’s crew. “Hostile” is a nice word for how the submariners feel about having Dan in their midst, and the claustrophobic setting along with Dan’s near certainty that there may be a killer on board, makes for one of the most tense thrillers I’ve read in a long time.

It’s obvious, once Dan starts to settle in to the rhythm of the Tenacity (if you can call it settling), that she’s suffering symptoms of PTSD, and the cramped quarters don’t help. Commander Bradshaw, aka the “Old Men” doesn’t want her there, and neither does the crew. There are more than a few times when a brush in passing seems like much more with the narrow halls and hatches. But, Dan is nothing if not dogged. She’s got a job, and she’s determined to do it, so she sets about interviewing as many of the ship’s company that she can, and hope that she can get any useful information out of the combative men. Law is a pro at stretching out the tension, and poor Dan gets put through the ringer on that sub. As Dan conducts her investigation and tries to survive the ire of an entire submarine crew, we get glimpses of what’s happened to Dan prior to these events, and why she’s so focused on finding the truth.

I loved this book. It’s claustrophobic, tense, and downright creepy at times (the breathing masks kept on the sub are put to terrifying use.) Law also does a great job of portraying how things might go putting a woman in a sub with a bunch of male submariners without making all men out to be potential rapists. But! The truth of the matter is that it’s a boy’s club, but that’s one of the things that drives Dan’s will. She absolutely refuses to let these men, or this situation, get to her. She’s been through too much. You’ll probably want to set aside some time to read this one, because it’s likely you won’t want to put it down. Here’s hoping for more books featuring Dan Lewis in the future!

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