First sentence: The SS Waratah plowed through the waves on a voyage from Durban to Cape Town, rolling noticeably with the growing swells.
Novels recently published with a similar title: Ghost Ship (2014) by Robert Palmer; The Ghost Ship (2014) by CF Miller; The Ghost Ship (2014) by John C Hutcheson; Ghost Ship (2012) by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller; Ghost Ship (2011) by PJ Alderman; The Ghost Ship (2011) by Gerrie Ferris Finger; Ghost Ship (2007) by Mary Higgins Clark; Ghost Ship (2006) by Dietlof Reiche
Method of selection: looked for unoriginal titles
Number of Hardy Boys adventures involving a ghost ship: 30 (31 if you count the Mystery of the Ghost Barn, which mostly takes place at sea. Experts are split on this.)
Stages of grief passed through due to not hating this: anger, bargaining, huffing
Other reviews: Lavendar and Lime
Do you have any idea how painful it is for me to not hate this? Look, it had all the trappings of a shitty book: a terrible title, an overdone cover with giant block CAPS lettering, a New York Times bestselling author, a CO-author, even a prologue — which by the way, I went back and read out of curiosity after making it easily through the first three pages. The writing is descriptive without flamboyance, the dialogue is reasonably believable, not snarky, and I even liked the font (Times New Dogsled if I’m not mistaken).
Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from literature, and I have not elbowed out extra time in my busy schedule of kite-stealing and church-punching to read it, but Clive Cussler, Graham Brown, and the twenty-or-so editors at Putnam clearly burned the midnight oil to create an epic of just-barely-not-shittiness.
What exactly are the NUMA® files and why is NUMA® a registered trademark? I did some research, and NUMA® is the National Underwater Marine Agency®, a 501c3 non-profit founded by Clive Cussler® to “preserve maritime heritage” and also to help him sell Dirk Pitt® and Kurt Austin® series novels. Now, all those registered trademarks don’t come cheaply or without a lot of paperwork, which means one of two things: either Clive Cussler worried someone would try to steal his shitty ideas (WRONG) or someone actually tried to steal his shitty ideas already (OMG).
I paged around a bit and did find some shittiness creeping in on page 21, the start of chapter three, and more at the start of chapter four, a few pages later. The writing begins to get cheesier, and more cliche.
Perhaps poor Graham Brown wrote a shitty book that originally began at chapter three, and Clive Cussler stepped in to save it; perhaps the reverse. Perhaps a young, enterprising editor realized the reputation of the good imprint he had recently come into the employ of, GP Putnam, would be forever tarnished should they print a shitty novel and stepped in to correct it. Whatever the case, it is clear now that authors and publishers are making a cold-hearted and cynical ploy to circumvent my own untarnishable review process of just reading the first three pages. But avast, I was too cunning for such reckless bamboozlement! I therefore relegate this book not to the Not Shitty category, but a new category, Not Shitty on a Technicality. Take that ye scurvy dogs!
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