The Simushir Island Incident

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Most of us know little to nothing about North Korea. In The Simushir Island Incident, the totalitarian leadership of that nation is intimately connected to a massive drug cartel, operating in an atmosphere of political ambition and desperate bids for survival. This book offers a sweeping action story set in the mid-nineties, featuring Josh Haman, an ambitious Navy officer who aims to reach the rank of Admiral before he retires. (Haman is also featured in several other novels by the same author.) His perilous path intersects with an immense North Korean heroin smuggling operation based from Simushir Island in the Sea of Okhotsk. To reach as many customers as possible, the smugglers make arrangements with Chinese and Mexican operations to distribute their “Asian pure”. But who can truly be trusted when dealing with thugs and thieves?

The two North Koreans who came up with the idea of using the island as their base have a brilliant plan in mind. By freeing themselves from the confines of their nation, they just might be able to safely defect. But only if they can continue to wield just the right amount of power—enough to carry out their scheme, and not so much that a jealous rival will wipe them out.
As I read, I kept picturing how this book could be an action movie starring Tom Cruise as Haman. And there is plenty of action here: assassins bearing swords and guns, missiles, submarines, helicopters, jets, North Korean defectors who may or may not be spies, drug deals gone wrong, torpedoes—along with episodes of political double-dealing as characters strive to improve their own circumstances or bring down their rivals. Like in many Hollywood films, some of the female characters are here primarily to spice up the proceedings with a bit of sex. However, the Navy wives and families are portrayed with sympathy and a more well-rounded approach, showing how they must endure the extended absences of their husbands and fathers.

To aid the reader, a few maps and photos are included, as well as a brief history of how North and South Korea came to be divided and another of the Soviet submarine base that once operated from the island. The drama unfolds through seventeen gripping chapters, with a healthy mixture of dialogue, newspaper accounts and other documents, and an abundance of action.

The author is clearly familiar with Navy operations and combat, along with understanding this particular slice of history. This fast-paced page-turner is sure to please readers who enjoy military action tales that contain loads of intrigue.

Reviewed By:

Author Marc Liebman
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 464 pages
Publisher Penmore Press
Publish Date 23-Nov-2020
ISBN 9781250246301 Buy this Book
Issue April 2021
Category Popular Fiction


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