Jennifer Reese
July 07, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Last Run

Current Status
In Season
Todd Lewan

We gave it an A

In the central story of the spectacular maritime page-turner The Last Run, five scruffy Alaska fishermen stayed out too long one blustery afternoon in 1998 — they wanted more yellow eye — and soon were boatless and bobbing around in Arctic waters as Coast Guard helicopters battled hurricane-force winds while trying to rescue them. The fishermen came from the Alaska of flophouses and rampant alcoholism — a seedy milieu that author Todd Lewan brings to malodorous, sympathetic life.

We’re also given an intimate look at the workings of the Coast Guard through the upstanding and rigid captain who engineered the rescue — and who later, understandably, wondered whether these lives were worth it. Obsessively reported, meticulously crafted, morally complex, and action-crammed, ”The Last Run” is one perfect storm of a book.

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