#Review “White Water, Black Death” by Shaun Ebelthite

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“White Water, Black Death: The Terrifying New Cruise Ship Thriller”

Shaun Ebelthite (Author)

Genre: Thriller & Suspense/Medical/Terrorism

Release Date: September 5, 2017

4/5 Stars!

White Water, Black Death tackles the real possibility of a bio-terrorism attack aboard a cruise ship.

The book opens with the terrorist spreading his bodily fluids around the ship, under the guise of cleaning. His actions will lead to nine days of hell for many and a lifetime of loss for others.

The cast of characters is large, and this read is told from several POVs.

At first, I thought it extreme, but as the story unfolds, I understood it was necessary to not just see the drama through to different eyes but to understand the how and the why of the story.

There is Rachel Atkinson, CEO of the cruise line, Richard Wagner, COO of the cruise line and at odds with Rachel, Nathan Warwick, the ship’s captain, Geneva Jones, industry editor and journalist, Sarah, a young woman traveling with her infant son, Zach, and Aaron Atkinson, a twenty-one-year-old Ugandan adopted by Rachel as a ten-year-old.

The author weaves several issues into this read—corporate greed/profits before people, racism, abuse of power and authority, sexual assault and coercion, corporate espionage, and the thin line media walks between integrity and sensationalism—which at first may seem out of place and unrelated. But the author did an amazing job of tying them all together.

I was heartbroken watching passengers get sick and die. I was frustrated each time concern for the cruise line was put ahead of the lives of passengers and crew. I was thoroughly ticked off by the oppressive treatment of the crew as well as the sexual abuse/coercion… and murder.

This book truly played with my emotions, which probably sounds odd when I add that I didn’t care for any of the characters.

Okay… I did like Nathan, the ship’s captain. To me, he was the most honest of the lot—trying to do his job… with corporate over his shoulder second-guessing his decisions and making suggestions.

I’m not sure if Aaron Atkinson is indeed the protagonist of this story, but he worked my last good nerve.

While he may be the privileged adoptive son of Seaborne’s CEO now, Aaron’s early life was mired in death and disease until he was “rescued” by Rachel.

Burdened with the speech disorder of stuttering, Aaron comes across as shy and withdrawn. When he finds passengers Sarah and Geneva, who don’t seem to mind his stuttering, he’s drawn to them, especially single mother Sarah, who’s close in age.

Maybe I’m being too hard on Aaron, but I believe because of his childhood, he should have been tougher and capable of seeing the bigger picture. He believes the suicide was murder, but almost no one takes him seriously. True, there was an underlying plot, and yes, his stammer is a hindrance, but he also came across as such a total wimp, it was maddening. As the severity of the outbreak is realized, his responses are so childlike and juvenile, I wanted to scream.

Like Aaron, I believe Geneva’s heart was in the right place… when she could find it.

Still doing penance for an unfavorable article she wrote about Seaborne, Geneva’s presence on the cruise is merely to write a favorable review until it becomes clear to her a story is unfolding before her eyes… then she just becomes annoying, even putting herself in harm’s way.

But Aaron, Geneva, Nathan, baby Zack… and so many others are only pawns in the ultimate chess game.

When the truth about the Ebola outbreak is revealed, I shook my head at the human cost of the arrogance, greed, and need to control of one person.

I enjoyed this read but I do have one issue with White Water, Black Death. The pacing is slow. It took me three tries before I was able to get into the story. It is a suspenseful read, but there were too many places for me where the story watered down the suspense. One minute I was gripping my Kindle and the next I was like, “What just happened?”

But in the end, the payoff is worth it, and I do recommend this book!

Though it may drag in spots, most of the details are necessary and some even foreshadow parts of the ending, so pay attention to get the full story. Pay attention to get to the truth. Pay attention because revenge is a dish best served cold… especially when a pawn becomes the queen. Checkmate.


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