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The Ripple Effect    by Paul Garrison order for
Ripple Effect
by Paul Garrison
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

Fifteen-year-old Morgan Paige is devastated when her beloved father and uncle become victims of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Towers. This formerly outgoing teenager morphs into a withdrawn, paranoid creature. The fact that Morgan's mother isn't as disturbed by her ex-husband's demise, makes Morgan feel all the more alone and bitter. Then, a very brief phone call gives hope that her father somehow survived the tragedy. In a passion to find out the truth, young Morgan plans, plots, and ultimately steals a small boat. She sets off alone into the vast Pacific, making for a remote Tongan island which her father always referred to as a refuge.

Meanwhile, Aiden Paige is alive but not well. He's burdened with remorse and regrets at having abandoned his impressionable young daughter and exploited the horrible tragedy to escape a life spiraling rapidly into debt, disorder and mounting trouble. He's also still worried about the ominous letter from the U.S. Attorney General, which precipitated his getaway and wonders if his brother also escaped alive. Aiden decides to head to his ex-boss's Tongan hideaway and confront him with his suspicions. Bounty hunters, trained assassins, tempestuous seas and hurricanes are just a few of the calamitous complications with which father and daughter must cope as, unknown to each other, they sail the seas towards the same destination.

Paul Garrison's thrilling sea drama is high in tension and chockfull of nautical lingo which, while atmospheric, will surely leave the landlubber bewildered. Despite this, the story is so absorbing that readers can almost smell the sea and feel the surf on their faces. Aiden is a man who takes advantage of a tragic event to escape his beleaguered present. His daughter, Morgan, is heroic, though foolhardy. Her indomitable search for her missing father gains readers' admiration even though the whole enterprise seems a bit unreal. Overall, the father's search for the truth, and the daughter's for her father, takes us on a suspenseful, invigorating voyage.

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