Twelve Seconds to Live

Written by Douglas Reeman
Review by John R. Vallely

Douglas Reeman is as fine a writer on warships and the crews that live and die on them as one can find in popular fiction. His latest World War II novel centers around the officers and men of the small ships of the Royal Navy’s coastal forces as they cope with combating German mines and motor torpedo boats in the English Channel while simultaneously attempting to retain their equilibrium after years of wartime stress. Each of the main and secondary characters carries his and her share of emotional baggage from the war, and each must carry on with their duties and their personal lives no matter the cost. Reeman never disappoints when it comes to drama on the seas. His portrayal of the human costs of combating the “Beast” (German mines) add to the drama and tension of the story.