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Friday, September 23, 2011

Pacific Vortex! by Clive Cussler

I've long been a fan of Dirk Pitt, though honestly I've only read about 4 of the novels from various points in the series. He's like an American James Bond, only he scuba dives for shipwrecks. Each story is a great mixture of military thriller and outlandish underwater excavation that takes you to exotic locations and shows you unbelievable things. In other words, they're a lot of fun!

Pacific Vortex! is actually the first Dirk Pitt story though it was published after Clive Cussler had a few Dirk books under his belt. #2 in the series The Mediterranean Caper was actually the first one published in 1973 (a very good year if I do say so myself! Ahem!), and it wasn't until 10 years and 5 books later (according to goodreads) that this first story was published so that fans could see how Dirk started out. It is a much shorter and faster read than later novels, and is an interesting contrast to them, showing the diamond in the rough.

Dirk is not nearly as polished in Pacific Vortex! as he is later, and he doesn't have his priceless collection of cars yet, in fact, he doesn't seem to own much at this point. His faithful friend and sidekick Al Giordino does appear, but not until quite aways through the book. As usual they are pitting themselves against unbelievable odds (*groan* seriously I didn't realize I typed that until I went back and read it just now!) to solve an unsolvable mystery, in this case finding a missing submarine in the Pacific Vortex, a place much like the Bermuda Triangle. There's danger and romance, and a secret underwater hideaway, what more do you need?

As a fan of Dirk Pitt, I think I would suggest reading others in the series to get a feel for the characters, and then going back and reading this one for fun. If you start with this one I'm not sure that you'll really get the true picture of how great this series is, probably why it wasn't published until later. But I still enjoyed it, and recommend it if you like thriller adventures that take you to crazy places.

Clive Cussler himself is a collector and restorer of classic cars, and shares these treasures with us at The Cussler Car Museum in Arvada, CO that I HIGHLY recommend. I'm not a car lover and even I was enthralled by the number of shiny, beautiful cars packed into the space. What's also fun is that by each car that is featured in a novel, there is a placard telling which book Dirk drove it in. The museum is only open for a limited time during the year, Monday's and Tuesday's only May through September, but if you can make the time, it's a hidden gem!

For more information on Clive and his work, visit this website.

I read this as part of my own personal Catching Up With Old Friends Challenge, but am also going to count it in the Mystery and Suspense Challenge hosted by Book Chick City.

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