The Angel Island Conspiracy
Robert Banks Hull
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (04/10)
“The Angel Island Conspiracy” is an amazing amalgamation of mystery, comedy, fast-moving adventure, nautical trivia, and San Francisco Bay nostalgia. At thirty-nine-years-old, Travis Stevens recently retired from Sparkman & Stevens as a naval architect, purchased the Lolita, a fifty-foot live-aboard motor sailboat and returned to his native San Francisco Bay. His long-time friend Carol Whitley arranged a berth for him at the Clipper Yacht Harbor in Sausalito, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Quite inadvertently Travis stumbles onto an undercover operation underway on Angel Island State Park. A corpse, a small armada of sailing vessels flying German Navy battle flags, and a crew of late night workmen with flashlights moving heavy crates near a boarded up barracks building left over from when the Army occupied Angel Island revved up Blake’s imagination into overdrive.
Soon he and his sailing “bud” Carol are deeply engrossed in a comedic attempt to outwit and sabotage the crazed remnant of the swastika era in their planned terrorist activities.
Hull combines a non-stop plot of conflict and resolution with clearly defined characters, quick-witted dialog, and stunning descriptions of the locales surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area – Sausalito, Alcatraz, Tiburon, Richmond, and Angel Island. As a resident of the Bay Area for most of my adult life I especially appreciated the accuracy of Hull’s many detailed references.
His career as a naval architect, licensed captain, and his experiences in yacht racing give Hull the credentials important for maritime writing. Blessed with an active creative imagination Hull is competent as either a fiction or non-fiction writer. His references to ship’s structure, ocean currents, and sailing conditions are informative, enlightening, and entertaining. The comprehensive glossary of nautical and sailing terms is helpful and interesting.
I look forward to many sequels of “The Angel Island Conspiracy.” Hull has the potential of doing for “Yacht Racing” what Dick Francis did for “Horse Racing” in the genre of intrigue, mystery, and the adventure novel.