A Book Spy Review: ‘The Iceman’ by P.T. Deutermann

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The IcemanIn his latest WWII naval thriller, Deutermann introduces readers to a fearless submarine commander named Malachi Stormes.

Set in 1942, Stormes receives a promotion after a ballsy submarine attack on a German base, which wiped out several enemy subs. Upgrading from an American S-class sub to the USS Firefish, a long-range submarine based in Australia, Stormes quickly discovers that his new crew is struggling to adjust to his controversial style and leadership tactics.

The Firefish‘s old skipper was just that. Old. Stormes, a young guy who doesn’t have as much long-term experience, is more willing to take chances in order to get the job done — which some believe shows a lack of experience on his part. At first, that perceived lack of experience scared the heck out of his crew, who had become used to serving under a man who was slow to engage enemies. Eventually, some of them come around and realize that Stormes, while borderline reckless at times, gets major results when it counts the most. 

The USS Firefish goes on to sink more Japanese ships than anyone else, but they’ve also had some close calls. Earning himself the nickname “The Iceman” by his crew because of his even-keeled demeanor while staring down danger, Stormes makes it clear that they’re going to do this his way.  But as the Firefish drifts deeper into enemy waters, each mission more dangerous than the last, questions surface about whether or not Stormes is even mentally fit to lead. His past episodes of insubordination are well-known and documented, but Stormes keeps other past secrets close to his vest. As torpedoes start slicing through the waters, readers will find themselves racing through the pages to see if the maverick commander is, indeed, able to lead his men back home safely. . . or if his flawed sense of logic will ultimately lead to their doom. 

As a writer, P.T. Deutermann is seriously underrated. His last book, Red Swan (2017), was written in the vein of Jason Matthews and featured several killer twists and a great cast of characters. This time, the author, who was a senior staff officer in Washington and a Navy captain before being promoted to Commodore, channels Rick Campbell and Larry Bond, delivering a high-stakes naval thriller that takes readers back to a crucial point in history. While the Cold War Era has long been a time period coveted by spy novelists, most authors tend to write their naval thrillers in a not-too-distant, futuristic setting. By going back in time, Deutermann offers a nice change of pace, and he definitely knows this stuff inside and out. 

Fast-paced, well-written, and full of been-there-done-that authenticity, P.T. Deutermann’s The Iceman should find its way onto plenty of reading lists this fall. 

Book Details

Author: P.T. Deutermann
Series: WWII Navy
Pages: 330 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250181372
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: August 21, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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