McDermott states that his book is for Tom Calncy and W.E.B. Griffin fans. I would have to agree with him partially. I think that like WEB Griffin he has a very sweeping book that takes in large number of characters and multiple story lines running at once. I don't believe he is like Tom Clancy though. His book does have one main "hero' figure, but that person is not the sole focus of the book. There are so many other characters as to detract from the one main character.
The plot of the book is that Venezuela and Iran have come together to hire a former German Secret Police character to help them bring to bear multiple terrorist attacks on the shipping industry, specifically the super tanker industry. Their goal is to have several terrorist attacks in different shipping lanes so as to cripple the SuperTanker Oil delivery system. The bottom line they want the world to become more dependent on their oil and also help them to build a new Panama Canal through Nicaragua.
They want multiple attacks so that it will be more difficult to determine the real motives and to also mask who is the mastermind of the situation.
Our hero, Tom Dugan, is a boat inspector / evaluator who is an independent contractor, although the majority of his work is for Phoenix Shipping, a company run by his friend Alex Kiraoux. Alex though is presently being controlled by the German, Braun, who is manipulating the shipping company to bring about the terrorist activity.
Dugan has been offered employment by Alex on many occassions but has turned him down. Now the CIA and MI5 come to Dugan and ask him to take the job with Alex so that he can keep an eye on the shipping company and help uncover the terrorist plots that the Intelligence community belives Alex is involved with.
Dugan reluctantly takes the job. Alex reluctantly hires Dugan, why reluctantly? Because he is being blackmailed by the terrorist and he doesn't want his friend Dugan to get involved.
The story unwinds through many avenues. It involves many characters. Frankly I had to keep a two page cheat sheet to keep up with everyone.
The story lines develop well. The characters are developed fine, but not all of them to the depth I would like. Some characters who play fairly important roles have little development because there just isn't any time left in the book to do it.
This is a good first start. I wasn't completely overjoyed with the effort, but it was good enough to keep me interested and also good enough that I look forward to the next book by McDermott.
If you like W.E.B. Griffin novels you will like this work.