Crossing the Red
by Arch Gibson

"No matter the laws passed and official pledges, an alert, freedom-loving, recreational boating public can be a serious coast-to-coast first line of defense where Coast Guard and naval resources are lacking..."

This saga about the long-term effects of war on the central character in Crossing the Red, Jim Kotah, unveils a man torn between clinging to horrific memories of war–or leaving those memories behind–and moving forward in his life. Kotah distances himself from his loved ones, as well as managing the family ranch in southwest Oklahoma.

However, a life altering moment takes place when Kotah’s cousin Danny dies under suspicious circumstances. The person of interest is a nefarious character named Ramiro Jenkins, who gloats at wreaking havoc–and figures in a sinister plot to launch a boat attack in Galveston Bay on July 4.

Which brings the reader to the back story of the threat of terrorism to America’s ports and coastlines. Gibson writes that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has determined that small boats, can pose a threat to ports and coastlines. Gibson illustrates this within the context of Kotah’s journey, through various points in his life.

Kotah’s discovery of the plot triggers a flurry of activity within the Coast Guard. A high alert warning is issued in the maritime community. Kotah and Jenkins have a history of despising each other. The attack launched by Jenkins in Galveston Bay on July 4, results in deaths that impact Kotah and others who valiantly attempt to repel the attack.

The author Gibson brings attention to the challenges that war veterans face, when returning to America from battles overseas, by channeling such a visceral issue via Kotah–who struggles with PTSD.

Gibson’s development of characters in Crossing the Red are commendable, and the book flows with prose that is easily readable, and yet, powerful in expressing the fear that accompanies those with PTSD; specifically, the fear of not being able to assimilate back into society and live a “normal” civilian life.


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