Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book Review: Grave Passage by William Doonan

Grave Passage by William Doonan

This is a review of the Kindle version.

Henry Grave has had an interesting life, having been a POW, ran for Congress in 1972, authored a book in archeology and an International dancing champion in Tango. Now 84 years old, he works for the Association of Cruising Vessel Operators in Washington D.C. and investigates crimes on ships.

The ship under question in one Contessa Voyager, an ultramodern cruise ship. Robert Samson, a retired FBI profiler is a regular on the lecture circuit. Samson was about to reveal the identity of the perpetrator of an unsolved murder at Cape Cod, when he was murdered.

Contessa has 1532 passengers on-board and 640 crewmembers. Henry has a long list of suspects:
  • Hugh Arlen, Chief Security Officer
  • Captain Egil Erlander, Ship Captain
  • Helen Ettinger, 70 years old passenger who takes a keen interest in Henry Grave
  • Duarte, a Venezuelan General evading deportment
  • Elliott Powell and Doug Baxter, Veterinarians and their wives - Donna and Opal respectively
  • Ron Gibson, Cruise director
  • Inga Hess, Entertainer
  • Shelley Tobin, actress and her husband /lead writer, Jack
  • Vasily Orlov, cosmonaut
  • Hector, a young security officer
William Doonan, author of Grave Passage
William Doonan, the author

William Doonan has crafted a nice debut for Henry Grave. The mystery element is OK. What impressed me the most was Doonan’s writing style.

Click on the link to buy the book:

Here are the things I liked best about the book:
  • Nice description of life on a cruise ship voyage
  • Good humor all around, with some particularly funny exchanges
  • Grave’s philosophical reflections on life, food etc.
  • Good description of cruise ship amenities, eager-to-help crewmembers with name tags & how they get tipped for their services etc.
For all the good points mentioned above, I felt there were a few missteps. There are a couple of racial stereotypes (physical description of Asians and the weak English spoken by a particular Russian character) that stuck out like a sore thumb in what was otherwise a very enjoyable read.

Recommended to fans of the mystery genre.

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Image Sources: Amazon

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  1. Great review! I love William's main character, Henry Grave.

  2. Nice review, Buddy2Blogger. It is obvious you spent some time analyzing many facets of this good book. We know Mr. Doonan to be an excellent writer. Please review his subsequent titles, "Mediterranean Grave," "Grave Indulgence," and "American Caliphate". You'll be impressed!

  3. I concur. William Doonan is a highly entertaining writer. Compassionate, too. Good review of a good book.

  4. Good review. I appreciate your honesty in the review, although I am a huge William Doonan fan.

    1. Thanks for appreciating the objective nature of my review :)

  5. Thanks for the support, guys! I'm really grateful to buddy2blogger for this review. I'll definitely be checking this site regularly!

  6. I wasn't able to tell certainly -- is this a non-fiction book or is it fiction? It sounds interesting.\

    Love, C.

    1. C, this is a work of fiction with Henry Grave as the main protagonist/detective. You might enjoy it, if murder mysteries with a great sense of humor are your cup of tea.

    2. Great review. I love William's character's name, Henry Grave. Perfect.

  7. It's a novel, Foxessa, book one of what is to date a trilogy, though book four is already underway. If you get a chance to read, let me know what you think.
    Thanks, Eileen. I think coming up with the name was the hardest part!

  8. William knows how highly I rate him. Humour is the hardest thing to write and he does it so well.

  9. looking forward to getting this one.

  10. Just started it, and will report back.

  11. Loved the book. Had a great time reading it.
    Kept trying to figure out which great older actor I would have play Grave.
    To bad Jack Lemmon has already moved on.( maybe Clint Eastwood in a couple of years, Ed Asner a few years ago )
    I to read the kindle addition, and have got the next one already.
    Fun book and I look forward to the next one.

    1. Happy to know that you enjoyed the book, John!

      Jack Lemmon would have been great as Henry Grave...