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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Maelstrom: Ryan Cunningham, Book 1 is a maritime adventure thriller written by Rip Converse. Ryan realized it was time for him to leave the familiar place that was Sippican Village on Cape Cod. He was thirty-seven years old now and had been sober for ten, still something that took conscious effort. He had parted with all but his essentials, sold his house, and was making the final preparations before heading down to Bermuda aboard his sailboat Parthenia. He wouldn’t be traveling alone as his best friend and constant companion, Clifton, his over-sized Labrador retriever, was game for any adventure. Ryan was chilling out at The Black Watch restaurant when a woman asked if Clifton was vicious. He assured her that Clifton posed no danger unless one was allergic to dog saliva. Clifton and her two kids promptly became the best of friends. The woman introduced herself as Tory McCane. She was new in town and trying to find the street her friends lived on. The brilliance of the moment seemed to pale after Tory and her kids left the restaurant; something had clicked between Ryan and her, something that felt different from all the other chance encounters with the opposite sex Ryan remembered.
Rip Converse’s Maelstrom is a fast-paced and exhilarating suspense tale about a sea adventure. The author’s familiarity with boats as a licensed sea captain with twenty years of experience sailing the routes planned by his main character gives this book authenticity. Readers become deeply involved in the actual work and preparation necessary to maintain and sail a vessel and the author gives them an awareness of the rigors of the actual voyage and possible dangers, including massive and unexpected storms. Converse’s plot is taut and satisfying, and his characters are well-defined and authentic. Watching as Ryan Cunningham goes from lone sailor to ship's captain with a full crew, including two kids, is entertaining as is seeing the realities of life aboard a sailboat complete with seasickness and the feeling of being confined to a small and not terribly comfortable space. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series. Maelstrom: Ryan Cunningham, Book 1 is most highly recommended.