Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for an advanced reading copy of P.T. Deutermann’s newest WWII military thriller, The Iceman. This is the 4th of Mr. Deutermann’s standalone WWII novels I have read. The previous books include Pacific Glory, Ghosts of Bundo Suida, and The Commodore. They all are about different ship’s captains facing primarily Japanese opponents during the war. They offer a great look at what the United States Navy was facing in the days after Pearl Harbor. I recognized some of the stories from reading nonfiction naval histories about the same war theater and period.
The Iceman features Lt. Commander Malachi Stormes, a brilliant submarine captain who makes his mark by sinking three German destroyers off the coast of St. Nazaire, France in early 1942. He and his sub are on loan to the British Navy. As a result of this triumph, Stormes is awarded the British “Distinguished Service Order” medal (second only to the Victoria Cross) and is promoted to full Commander by the U.S. Navy. As an additional reward, he is given command of the newish fleet submarine Firefish based in Perth, Australia (west coast).
On his first patrol in the Solomon Islands, he breaks with regulations governing the use of Mark 14 torpedoes which gets him into the Admiral’s doghouse. In Commander Stormes’ background is a three year stint in Newport, Rhode Island working on those munitions so he intimately knows their quirks. Because of his sometimes fearless approach to sinking enemy ships, his crew calls him The Iceman.
During his shore leaves between patrols, Stormes meets an Australian heiress, Kensie Richmond, who is a surgeon in a Perth hospital. Her mother, Margery, is looking for a match for Kensie with a social status equal to the Richmonds’ but who can stop the machinations of Cupid? Lambert, the father, is hoping that his daughter finds a partner who can help out in his empire.
The reader is treated to four patrols of the Firefish and its crew. All are different in the nature and location of the events that take place. Nonstop action alternates with the development of the relationship between Stormes and Kensie. During this phase a deep, dark secret is revealed that could torpedo the relationship.
I could not put the book down. The military action rings true on many fronts. Some real people populate the story. Both Peter Deutermann and his father had long Navy careers. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this story and the other three I mentioned earlier.
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–Jim Harris, retired book sales rep
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