2 April 2012

Titanic 2012 by Bill Walker

From the back cover:
When his best friend invites him on the voyage of a lifetime, best-selling novelist Trevor Hughes jumps at the chance. Harlan Astor has spent millions rebuilding the TITANIC to sail it on the 100th anniversary of the sinking to honor those who died, including his great-grandfather John Jacob Astor IV.
Joining the passengers and hand-picked crew on sailing day, Trevor is awed by his friend's accomplishment and eager to begin interviewing his fellow passengers  to find out why they wanted to be on the reborn "Ship of Dreams".
He is completely unprepared when he meets Madeleine Regehr, a beautiful, free-spirited woman who resists his requests to be interviewed, intriguing Trevor all the more. Maddy patiently draws him out of his shell, allowing him to love deeply and completely for the first time in his life.
But Trevor soon discovers a darker purpose for the voyage that threatens to destroy him and the woman he loves. In a race against time that pits friend against friend, Trevor must stop the unstoppable or risk a horrific replay of history ...
First let me say that I may be the only woman on  Earth today that didn't enjoy James Cameron's movie. I know I'm weird but it just annoyed me. This is important for you to know because this book, Titanic 2012, heavily references the movie and all of the characters in the book are huge Cameron fans. I am, however, totally intrigued by the original tragedy and the stories that go with it ... and I loved this book!!

We know almost from the first page that Trevor Hughes is depressed; almost unhinged; and the only survivor of this 'second sailing' of the TITANIC. How did he get to this point? What happened on that boat? And what did the passengers have to say in the interviews that Trevor carries with him? That is the crux of the story.

This may be the only time you hear me say this but - I could have done without the love interest. The romance of the ship itself, the stories of the passengers, the atmosphere on board that changed from awe to terror: these are the things that kept me reading well into the night. Bill Walker knows how to spin a yarn!  As his story wound around in my brain and dreams after I had finished the book, I began to see the symbolism and was excited all over again. This book is truly a fitting tribute to those who lost their lives - and those who survived - as a result of that tragic voyage.


Chapter One

The furor in the media had just died down when Solly’s call came that rainy midweek day. I’d been hiding from the wolves of the fourth estate for nearly three weeks, holed up in my book-filled condo/prison in Charlestown, unable even to slip outside for a breath of fresh air without some cookie-cutter reporter, with a paint-by-numbers smile, sticking a microphone in my face and asking me the same tired question: "What was it like?"

As if the whole of my experience could be quantified in a sound bite.

Truth was I was avoiding everyone, even Julia and her earnest attempts to help me sort through the miasma of doubt and pain.

Sweet Julia.

We’ve been on-and-off again for the last five years. And I hadn’t seen her for the better part of a year. I¬¬ guess she thought now was as good a time as any to mend fences. Christ, if she only knew....

And what was worse, the book I’d promised my publisher, the one that was supposed to chronicle all I’d been through, lay like a beached whale on the shore of my imagination. I was standing at the bay window overlooking the harbor, watching the rain sluice down the glass, wondering if I would ever have the courage to write again, when my gaze shifted to the pile of DVDs lying in a scattered heap on the teakwood coffee table.

My eyes filled with tears yet again.

"I’m so sorry, Maddy," I groaned, knocking my forehead against the cool glass. "I’m so goddamned sorry."

"You have a call," the computer intoned in a quiet contralto, making me wince. Even the goddamned computer’s voice reminded me of Madeleine.

"Who is it?" I asked, expecting to hear it was yet another call from the Globe. Hometown reporters were the worst, the most ravenous.

And then I remembered I’d instructed the computer to screen all calls, allowing access to only a select few.

"The caller has an Identity Block in place. Shall I take a message?"

I sighed.

To hell with it. I had to rejoin the human race at some point, even if I felt as if I no longer belonged in it.

"Put it through," I said, making my way over to the sleek MacBook Pro sitting atop my writing desk. The screen came to life and Solly Rubens’ round face filled the screen. His saturnine looks were etched with concern, an expression that somehow looked ominous on him.

"Hey, Hughes, you okay? How are you holding up?"

The tiny "picture-in-picture" in the upper left-hand corner of the screen showed me what Solly was seeing, rendering his question moot.

I looked as if I’d taken the cook’s tour of Hell: blue eyes¬¬--red-rimmed and puffy--surrounded by dark circles, sandy hair greasy and disheveled, three-day growth of a patchy red-flecked beard, and the same clothes I’d worn since Monday. I looked sixty-two, instead of forty-two. All in all, I presented a picture about as far as one could get from what Boston magazine had called: "The World’s Most Eligible Author."

"How the hell do you think I’m holding up?" I said, staring back at Solly. His eyes blinked rapidly and I debated whether or not to instruct the MAC to disconnect, when he spoke again.

"Aw, man, I’m sorry. I really put my foot in it, didn’t I?" he said, trying to appear contrite. "Listen, I know we’ve never been the best of pals, but we had some good times back in school, didn’t we? I mean, Christ, we’ve been through a hell of a lot since Harvard. You a hotshot writer. Me hittin’ the big time. I still can’t believe it’s been a year--"

"What do you want, Solly?"

His porcine eyes darted somewhere off-screen, then riveted onto mine.

"Ken and I thought you should get out of the house, maybe meet us at the Harvard Club. What do you say?"

"I don’t want to talk about it."

"You gotta talk about it sometime," he said, his Brooklyn tenor rising in pitch. "You’ve been avoiding us for weeks, you look like crap, and everybody--and I mean everybody’s--been trying to find out what the hell happened out there. And what about Julia? You shutting her out? You treatin’ her like dirt, too?"

I resented him bringing her name up, only because I knew he was using her as leverage, and not out of any real concern for her feelings.

Not that I was any better.

"She’s none of your business, Solly. Leave her out of this."

"All right, I’m sorry. But you know I’m right. You gotta get on with your life, for Christ’s sake. If you’re not gonna do it for yourself, do it for Harlan."

I leaned forward, my nose practically touching the screen. "Where were you when Harlan needed the three of us? Huh? Where the hell were you when the chips were down? Taking Karen to another Broadway show?"

Solly’s lips compressed into a thin angry line. "Okay, I deserved that. But Ken and I have a right to know what happened."

So, that was it. Like everyone else, they wanted to know the truth about Harlan’s death--wanted to know all the gory details. Christ, they were no better than the goddamned muckrakers slinking around my front door. And why was it so important to Ken and Solly, anyway?

Would it bring Harlan back? Would it bring any of them back? Why the hell couldn’t they just leave me alone?

And then, all at once, the anger passed, as if someone had thrown a switch inside me. Suddenly, I wanted very badly to tell someone--anyone. And perhaps it was more than fitting to do it where it all began.

"All right," I said. "I’ll meet you guys at the club, Friday night at six."

Solly cracked a grin, revealing crooked yellow teeth. "It’ll do you good, Hughes, you’ll see."

"Maybe.... But drinks and dinner are on you."

He chuckled.

"My pleasure. See you there."

The screen went dark, and I sat there for a long moment, wondering if I shouldn’t blow them off. And then I realized Harlan would want me to go. I doubted very much, however, once they heard the whole story, it would be any pleasure for any of us....

Thanks to Partners in Crime for sending me the book and asking me to post an honest review.


  1. Fantastic review and post!! Thank you. I agree with you, I thought the same thing when I read the manuscript. Well done!!!

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Dana, they're very much appreciated. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

  3. I did like the movie but then I liked diCaprio back then ;)
    Other than that I have not seen or read much

  4. You're not the only woman on earth who hated Titanic. ;)

    1. Luckily it wasn't a prerequisite for liking the book! Glad to know I'm not alone.


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