Deep Waters of Destiny
by Pete Carlson
Calumet Editions

"The aqua blue water shimmered in the morning sunlight, and pelicans circled above dozens of yachts. In the distance, the Destiny dwarfed all the other boats."

In award-winning author Carlson’s third novel to date, readers are thrust into the midst of a powerful, burgeoning drug empire. A collaboration between the Sicilian and Russian mobs and the ruthless Columbian cartel brings a whole new level of danger. Haunted by his Vietnam past, Gunner is the trusted captain of the Destiny, a 300-foot mega yacht owned by his Sicilian mob boss. While Gunner knows his boss has good intentions at heart with his not-so-secret business dealings, he’s less than enthusiastic about the plan to join forces with the Russians and Columbians, making him a part of this criminal underworld. But Gunner is smart and relies on his war training and experience on the waters to get through the most difficult of situations.

Meanwhile, DEA agent Palmer is working undercover on the Destiny. As tension mounts, Palmer’s conflicted relationship with Gunner intensifies, and difficult decisions are made when events push Gunner on a dangerous pursuit of justice, hurtling everyone toward a critical showdown. Some of the best moments of Carlson’s novel are the depictions of exotic tropical regions.

Sights and foods pop on the page while keeping readers on the edge of their seats with the drug business lurking behind the scenes. However, the novel is heavier on romance than suspense, and some of the characters are somewhat cliched with not fully developed motivations. For example, Carlson’s male protagonist, Gunner, is an appealing character who is intriguing yet complex, while his female counterpart, Palmer, isn’t quite as strong. Yet, the book is also thematically rich, exploring such ideas as the bonds of family and love, how the past shapes people, traumas of war, and healing and forgiveness. Overall, Carlson knows and understands the tropes of the genre, giving his readers a terrific premise in this page-turner.

A 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Award Grand Prize Short List book

Return to USR Home