Website of Author RONSON DUNCAN -

David Roth                          BOOK REVIEW
Tampa Examiner
Wired - a Review
January 31st, 2011  4:17pm ET
"WIRED is a great read, and I give it a rare 5 out of 5 stars!"

' With his bleary eyes transfixed on the heavenly light,
Cal wondered if he was dead.' 

This is the opening salvo of WIRED, an absolutely pulse pounding, edge of your seat, hurricane paced thriller by Largo, Florida Author Ronson Duncan

I’ve been reading since I was a rambunctious five year old whose mother taught to read as a defense mechanism to maintain her sanity.  I’ve been a voracious reader ever since, but few writers have grabbed my attention the way this single opening line took me by the throat, and held tight until the last word, some 477 pages later.

By way of clarification, Cal Stringer is a Detroit defense lawyer with a love-hate relationship for his job.  He is a former Navy SEAL and Viet Nam Vet whose best friend, another former SEAL, is married to Cal’s only sister.  Jason, ‘Skip’ Myles, Kathy Stringer’s husband, is captain of the Majestic Star, a floating casino offering day cruises out of Clearwater, Florida, to the international waters of the Gulf of Mexico where gambling is legal.  Captain Myles loves his job, and loves his wife, and on this particular day, he is looking forward to a romantic evening with Kathy when the Star returns from the second of two daily cruises.

The cruise is going just as planned - right up until a band of ‘Los Zetas,’ the rogue army of Mexican narco-guerrillas trained by the US military to fight Mexico’s drug mafia,  storm the ship, wire it below decks with C-4 plastique explosives, and threaten to blow up the cruise liner, crew, all 218 men, women and children onboard for the ride, and themselves if the government of the United States doesn’t release Colombian drug cartel lord, Juan Carlos Alvarez.  To prove their point, they murder ten passengers on the ship’s sundeck when the first deadline arrives, with the promise of more to come.

It’s up to Skip, Cal, and Coast Guard Rear Admiral Ray ‘Ray-Man’ Hanna to save the passengers and stop the drug lords, who just happen to have ties to Al-Qaeda.

WIRED, the first novel by Ron Duncan, was a page turner from the very first sentence.  It didn’t have the usual editing problems I find in works by new writers, and was, as I like to say when it applies, a good story, well told.   Using the Majestic Star as backdrop, the entire spectrum of human emotion is explored in this gripping high seas thriller; a modern showcase of very believable circumstances and characters.

If there is a flaw in this book, it is Duncan’s tendency to over describe the scenes.  Duncan’s use of multiple adverbs to describe scenes and action, tend toward unnecessary redundancy, and a tendency to ‘tell’ rather than ‘show’.  Because of that, it’s a little lengthy for a first entry into the world of thrillers at 478 pages.

Even so, WIRED is a great read, and I give it a rare 5 out of 5 stars.  It’s right up there with my favorite ocean going writer, Clive Cussler, with Cal, Skip and Ray as good a trio as Dirk Pitt, Al Giordino, and Admiral Jim, Sandecker.

If you like adventure on the high seas with a nice twist at the end, I highly recommend this book.

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