March 23, 1998 12:00 PM

by Paul Garrison

Page-Turner of the Week

IN THEIR 38-FOOT CUTTER, PHYSICIANS Michael and Sarah Stone and their daughter Ronnie live an idyllic existence, bringing welcome healing skills to the small islands of the sundrenched Pacific. But when Ronnie and Sarah are kidnapped after boarding a hulking 50,000-ton natural-gas tanker, the Dallas Belle, life becomes a nightmare in paradise. The tanker owner, known as Mr. Jack, needs a doctor to tend his wounds as he plots revenge against his World War II foes. And Michael can’t radio the proper authorities for help because his own past is scarred with crime. He must chase the tanker alone over the vastness of the Pacific in a heroic effort to get his wife and daughter back.

First-time novelist Paul Garrison, a third-generation sailor, captains a fine crew of believable characters, including the sea itself. He infuses every act, from raising a spinnaker to witnessing a Shanghai execution, with heart-stopping suspense and a master storyteller’s gift. One of the best thrillers to steam into view for some time, it makes readers want to navigate through Fire and Ice in a single sitting. (Avon, $15.95)

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