© 2013 Todd Tucker
Ghost Sub opens with a scene reminiscent of “There Will Come Soft Rains”: an automated environment, eerily chugging along through its pre-programmed routines, an imitation of life in the midst of death. The USS Boise has gone silent, her crew unresponsive, the ship steaming toward the coast of Hong Kong. Lt. Danny Tabo, whose heroics helped saved the Alabama in Collapse Depth, here returns with his XO to track and intercept the too-silent and too-deep Boise before it finds itself in Chinese waters. It’s a daunting technical challenge, though the mystery of what happened to the boat is not for Tabo and the others to solve, but is instead directly revealed to the reader through flashbacks and hinted at to shoreside medical authorities who hasten to squelch a dangerous and incredibly virulent viral outbreak. The only weakness in the novel is that part of the initial setup is made by two characters being irrational, one of them so incredibly so that it nearly disrupted my immersion. Characterization is still strong, though, and the threat of a pandemic made the novel particularly of interest to a reader in the age of ‘rona.