Today I’m thrilled to be hosting a stop on J.S. Law’s TENACITY Blog Tour. On each day of the tour, James has been introducing readers to a different Naval toast. Here’s his toast for Wednesday …
Wednesday’s Naval toast – ‘Ourselves’ (as no one else is likely to be concerned for us!)If you’ve followed my blog tour at all, you’ll know that at mess dinners in the Royal Navy, immediately after the Loyal Toast of ‘The Queen’, the youngest officer present will normally offer the traditional drinking toast of that day.
The toast for Wednesday is ‘Ourselves’ with ‘as no one else is likely to be concerned for us’ murmured after, or kept silently within. I love this toast because it reminds me that the submarine environment is one like no other, yet we often forget that. When I was on my road to publication, I once spoke to an agent who told me that he loved my writing (this was for a book before Tenacity) but that he wasn’t sure what I’d written, genre-wise. We had a few minutes left on the slot and so he asked me what I did for a living.
‘Submarines,’ I replied, feeling dejected as I realised he wasn’t going to offer representation. ‘I work on submarines.’
‘why aren’t you writing about that?’ he said, suddenly animated. ‘Write me a book about submarines and send it to me…’
As it is, I signed with a different agent, but that meeting stays with me as a reminder to never forget the obvious, never look beyond ‘Ourselves’.
I went away and wrote that novel, but it’s not about submarines, it’s just set on-board one, and I decided that if a submarine was the ultimate locked room environment then I was going to put the ultimate outsider on there, someone who wouldn’t be included in the toast ‘Ourselves’…
James’ debut novel – TENACITY – absolutely is set in the ultimate locked room environment. Here’s the blurb and my review of the book:
“A brutal murder. A lone female investigator. Two hundred metres below the ocean’s surface, the pressure is rising … Suicide must be investigated, especially when a Royal Navy sailor kills himself on a nuclear submarine only days after his wife’s brutal murder.
Now Lieutenant Danielle “Dan” Lewis, the Navy’s finest Special Branch investigator, must interrogate the tight-knit, male crew of HMS Tenacity to determine if there’s a link. Isolated, and standing alone in the face of extreme hostility, Dan soon realises that she may have to choose between the truth and her own survival. Justice must be served, but with a possible killer on board the pressure is rising and her time is running out …”
This debut novel from J.S. Law is a tense read from start to finish. Danielle “Dan” Lewis – a top investigator with more than a fair share of secrets hidden in her past – is brought in to investigate the alleged suicide of a member of HMS Tenacity’s Ship’s Company. Right from the get-go it’s clear that the odds are stacked against her – Tenacity’s men are a close-knit team and they don’t want anyone – especially a woman – poking around in their business.
Despite the hostility towards her, Dan presses on with the investigation. Master-At-Arms John Granger lends his support (although there are unresolved tensions between the pair that make for a tricky working relationship) and it seems that the investigation will manage to move forward. Then Tenacity gets the order to dive, and Dan has to continue the investigation on-board beneath the ocean’s surface. As she studies the nuances of the case and interviews the men, Dan begins to uncover the lies and secrets hidden within Tenacity’s history, and the danger that might still lurk within.
Like the novel’s title suggests, Dan is a tenacious lead character and someone that, as a reader, I found it easy to root for. She’s a survivor of injustice, using her own experiences as fire to fuel her unrelenting determination to achieve her goal – utterly focused on searching out the truth, even when it puts her own life in danger.
As an ex-submariner, author J.S. Law’s detailed knowledge of the Navy and submarines shines through to make for a highly authentic and atmospheric setting. The uniqueness of the tightly sealed environment of HMS Tenacity is made increasingly claustrophobic through the ever-increasing build-up of jeopardy.
Gritty, super-charged with tension and claustrophobically atmospheric, TENACITY is a real page-turner of a read.
You can find out more about J.S. Law by popping over to his website here and following him on Twitter @JSLawBooks
TENACITY is out in paperback tomorrow (21st April). You can buy it here from Waterstones. Or here from Amazon.
And don’t forget to check out all the other fabulous stops along the route of the TENACITY NAVAL TOASTS Blog Tour …