Time Bandit

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Time Bandit is not to be confused with the movie Time Bandits. The book is named for the boat, which in turn was named for the movie. The F/V (Fishing Vessel) Time Bandit may be familiar to viewers of the Discovery Channel series Deadliest Catch. Time Bandit is one of the crab boats featured in the series. The book is co-authored by brothers, and co-captains, Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand. Many thanks to LibraryThing Early Reviewer for sending me a copy of this book to read and review.

I think this book will appeal to readers who enjoy watching the show. If you’ve been a regular viewer, you probably have some liking for the characters and more than a cursory interest in the work they do. For those who don’t know, the F/V Time Bandit fishes for Alaskan king crab in the Bering Sea. As you can imagine, the Bering Sea is a dangerous place to be, especially during the winter crab fishing season, and most certainly aboard a working fishing boat. The seas are rough, often with very high waves, storms are frequent, and the work is difficult and dangerous. The crew works for days with little or no sleep, thereby increasing the danger. If you wonder why Alaskan king crab is so costly, this book certainly explains it all.

How many times do we have to read that John Hillstrand likes fishing, drinking and women (in that order!)? Why does he fish? Because that’s how he was raised. The Hillstrand brothers are relatively uneducated, and probably not very well-read. Their narrative style seems better suited to a television audience.

The brothers, particularly John, seem to spend an inordinate amount of time cursing, fighting, and performing daring rescues at sea (or being rescued or thrown in jail). The story in Time Bandit is framed by John drifting alone in Cook Inlet on the F/V Fishing Fever. He was aboard the Fishing Fever during off-season for crab, and was fishing for salmon when the engine blew up. So-the book starts with John adrift, and ends, quite predictably with his rescue. Obviously he is rescued or there would be no memoir.

Personally, I did not find this book particularly appealing. I found the writing to be amateurish and repetitive. The co-writer, Malcolm MacPeherson and the editors should have had more input; maybe then the book would have been a fraction as suspenseful and exciting as fishing the Bering Sea.

In USA:

Published in hardcover-Ballantine Books-2008

Time Bandit: Two Brothers, the Bering Sea, and One of the World’s Deadliest Jobs

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