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    Review of Riptide by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

    Warner Books, July 1999

    Review by Jennifer Vilches

    Attempts to retrieve the pirate treasure of 'Red Ned' Ockham from the Water Pit on Ragged Island have lead to nothing but death and bankruptcy over the years. Malin Hatch, who owns the island, lost his brother to the booby-trapped Pit in a childhood adventure that went horribly wrong. He has avoided his home in Maine and the dreaded island just offshore for decades. When Captain Neidelman shows up with considerable financial backing and a potential key to the Pit's obstacles, Hatch reluctantly agrees to another attempt to recover the treasure - now worth 2 billion and rumored to include the relic St. Michael's Sword. But the high-tech equipped venture quickly runs into problems and it's not at all certain that they will be able to defeat the 17th century architect of the Pit.

    With the exception of the main character, Malin Hatch, most of the characters are one-dimensional clichés and that makes it hard to care about them. Some of the characters turn villainous with no clear explanation of motives or reasons. The plot forges ahead quickly enough to gloss over the weaknesses in characterization. Unfortunately the plot also has several moments of feeling too forced.

    The general theme seems to be summed up by the Bible quote: 'For the love of money is the root of all evil.' Riptide is entertaining enough if you're looking for a lightweight thriller to read at the beach, but this is not the authors' best work.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 5/25/04

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