“Ghost Ship,” the latest NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency) Files entry by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown, is the closest yet to a flat-out James Bond adventure.
The best Cussler stories are the ones that are the most personal to the hero, and for Kurt Austin, a failed rescue attempt still causes nightmares. A multimillionaire, his wife and two children were aboard a sinking yacht. Kurt had dated the man’s wife, Sienna, and his inability to save her and the children still haunts him. His resulting injuries have kept him out of the field, and although he’s lucky to be alive, he is bitter about not getting back into the game. Brian Westgate, the sole survivor, has no hostility toward Kurt since he knows he tried to save them all.
Dirk Pitt, head of NUMA and Kurt’s boss, wants to get Kurt back into action, but everything he knows demonstrates that Kurt isn’t ready. And he might not be again. Then Dirk learns that Kurt has been investigating whether Sienna is alive and using her computer skills to aid U.S. enemies.
How does all of this tie into the disappearance of the SS Waratah, a vessel that never made port over 100 years ago?
A subplot involving Westgate and his colleagues could have been explored since the resolution at the end of that angle feels like an afterthought. Otherwise, “Ghost Ship” is another solid entry in the NUMA Files series.