MURDER ON THE HIGH SEAS


By Carol Soret Cope

Berkley True Crime, March, 2011 ($7.99)

ISBN-13: 978-0-425-23977-3
Kindle eBook: $7.99

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

True crime aficionados, especially those who like a Florida setting, will find much to interest them in best-selling author Carol Soret Cope's book MURDER ON THE HIGH SEAS: The True Story of the Joe Cool's Tragic Final Voyage.

As you may remember, the case involved the killing of the captain, his wife, and two crew members on the charter boat Joe Cool, as related by two surviving passengers who were rescued from a life raft near the drifting, ransacked vessel. The survivors, Guillermo Zarabozo and Kirby Archer, told rescuers they had chartered the Joe Cool and while enroute to the Bahamas, they claimed pirates had attacked, killing evertyone else on board.

Following an FBI investigation, the case led to a federal courtroom in Miami where prosecutors alleged the two charter passengers were the real killers, not pirates, as they had claimed.

The author's writing sets this true crime book apart from others. While the facts are disturbing enough, Cope develops a real sense of suspense, equal to any modern day thriller writer, but the reader will need to remind themselves that this is not crime fiction, it is crime fact. Both chilling and sad, at the same time, readers will ponder why? long after they finish reading the last page and close the book. Why? Why do people do this to other, innocent people? Why, indeed. If only this type of brutal crime were limited to the fictional realm.

In April, 2012 the docudrama "Fatal Voyage" aired on cable TV in an episode for the true crime TV series "Fatal Encounters." I have no indication if/when a repeat performance will be aired but it's something to keep in the back of your mind if you are a regular viewer of this series.

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