Suspicious of foul play when the USS Harvey’s supply officer falls overboard, Elliot Decker sets out to find a murderer only to find himself a target of Subic Bay black market thugs.

Subic Bay, Philippines. The navy’s Cold War outpost in the western Pacific. The USS Harvey. A bastion of American sea power in the Far East. But Elliott Decker doesn’t give a hoot about all that. He’s been on board ship a year, relishing the laid-back lifestyle of the tropical locale. It’s not just a job, it’s a dream assignment. That is, until a shipmate, Michael Kippen, falls overboard one night and disappears into the South China Sea.
The navy rules the death an accident. Decker becomes skeptical when his friend, Vega Magpantay, a rookie with the Olongapo City police, tells him about the Philippine black market for American navy goods. But her hands are tied: the local cops lack jurisdiction over the U.S. military base and her chauvinistic boss doesn’t let her do real police work. Undeterred and with a knack for getting others to do his dirty work, Decker and his wingman, Hack Wilson, undertake the snooping.

Suspects are plenty among Harvey crew members and an attempt on Decker’s life ups the ante. Guided by Vega, the sailors uncover evidence that takes them across the naval base, through the backstreets of Olongapo, and into the heart of Manila, rife with the People Power Revolution to overthrow Ferdinand Marcos. When another murder tosses the sailors into ever more dangerous waters, it’s up to Decker to find the answers and fast.


Jack Ambraw is the pen name of Eric Ward, who served eight years in the U.S. Navy, including a two-year assignment at Subic Bay, Philippines. His day job is Vice President for Public Programs at the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology in Kansas City, and he is a doctoral student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He lives in KC and working on Yamashita’s Gold, a second Subic Bay Mystery featuring Decker and friends.