Sabotage at a boatyard reveals a maelstrom of deadly intentions in this first-rate, fast-reading thriller by the author of Blood Orange. The yard belongs to Henry MacFarlane, whose surrogate son, famous helmsman Martin Devereux, has returned to England after his long-time nemesis Paul Welsh unfairly blames him for the sinking of an America's Cup yacht. Henry tells Martin that a mysterious real estate firm is after his property on England's south coast; then the older man leaves without explanation. After a murder, an attempt to destroy a dock-full of yachts and Henry's phone call from Spain, pleading for help, Martin sets sail with Paul to deliver a broken-down sailboat to a Mediterranean resort. There, they plan to resume their seething rivalry in a prestigious race. A horrendous storm nearly takes their lives, and Martin wonders why the buyer, wealthy thug Deke Kellner, wants the hulk. He also wonders why Paul is in Deke's employ. After several attempts on his life and a like number of spellbinding escapes, exciting races and a dangerous affair with a beauty in Kellner's entourage, Martin learns the startling answer. Other surprises abound thanks to Llewellyn's tightly wound plot, augmented by splendid nautical details and featuring fully dimensional characters. (Apr.)
Martin Devereaux is a top 12-meter helmsman, but things aren't going well for him. He's just sunk a very expensive boat during elimination trials for the America's Cup, he's lost his girl, and someone seems to be trying to put his boatyard out of business. Naturally, he investigates, and discovers land development fraud and extortion, some nasty villains in Spain, treachery, a better girl, and a fortune in stolen gems. Some knowledgeable yacht-racing material forms the frame for the suspense. For the Dick Francis crowd, a quite serviceable thriller with not too many loose ends.-- Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army TRALINET Ctr., Fort Monroe, Va.
This British author's writing is being favorably and accurately compared to that of Dick Francis, although Llewellyn's forte is sailboat racing. Part racer and part boatyard owner, Martin Devereux takes readers on a bounding venture when his career is tarnished following a financially damaging sailing accident. The tension and drama of head-to-head sailing competition are vividly described when the hero relies on years of sailing experience to win a best-of-three race and restore his sailing reputation. Llewellyn easily shifts gears between page-turning drama and tranquil scenes of sailing at sunset. Sailing experience is not required for full enjoyment, although this book may make readers want to take lessons. Death Roll would be fun to booktalk with Nordoff and Hall's Mutiny on the Bounty (Little, 1932) and Dead Run (Random, 1988) by Tony Gibbs. --Pam Spencer, Jefferson Sci-Tech, Alexandria, VA