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Reviewed by Stefan Vucak for Readers' Favorite
Joseph Horiuchi, a second-generation Japanese American, liked being a sailor in the merchant navy. He had to accept discrimination for being Japanese, and his crewmates rarely socialized with him. In May 1942, Captain Merrill Kendrick commanded a convoy destroyer on the Atlantic run fighting off U-boats. In February 1944, Kendrick was given command of a new Fletcher destroyer, a class he helped design, and sent on escort duty. Joseph Horiuchi, now a chief communications technician, survived three Atlantic voyages, but his luck ran out when his freighter took a torpedo hit and sank. He survived but lost one leg. Kendrick helped get him a job in his family’s electronics firm as a quality control manager. In June 1945, his ship participated in the invasion of Normandy. Back in England, he is advised of the death of his grandfather and is recalled to the States to take over the family company.
Dark Seas gives readers tantalizing glimpses of war at sea, and murky dealings by an electronics firm that traded equipment reliability in favor of profits, which in turn endangered lives. Jerry Borrowman has a detailed understanding of Navy ship procedures, and takes readers into the action with a firm hand, making them feel they are actually there. It is regrettable that Joseph Horiuchi’s character, and the novella itself, was not handled in greater depth. Nevertheless, once into this book, Jerry Borrowman’s simple, clear writing will compel readers to turn pages and nod when they reach a satisfying end. Suitable for young readers upwards and those interested in WWII naval stories, Dark Seas will not disappoint. I enjoyed reading this book.