Skip to main content

Retro Reading: Tidal Wave by Martin Wallace Tyler


Having old books gather dust on your bookshelf can be looked at as a calling card from the past and whenever I've looked at this book, I can remember where I was and what was happening at the time of reading it for the first time.

During the summer of 1975 (when I first read this) Jimmy Hoffa had just disappeared and a movie starring Lorne Greene called Tidal Wave was about to open (I'm pretty sure that this was supposed to have been a tie-in to the movie, but having never had the opportunity to see it, I doubt this was a tie-in) but at the time I was happy with the book.

While we were on a memorable vacation (on Lake Huron) I couldn't wait to read this and at that time, I thought it was good. The second time I read it, I thought, "What was I thinking?" and having read it a third time, I really don't know why I read it, but mainly to cleanse my mental pallet.

Anyway, the Hawaiian island of Kuna is in the direct path of a tidal wave and only one man knows- Walter Everts, a descendent of the founding family and amateur meteorologist. Since he's the only one who knows of the impending disaster, he heads over to the casino for some more drinking.

He meets William Malone, a military police colonel, and while the two are both drunk, Everts tells him about the wave and they both watch as Hollywood starlet Peggy Manning tries to get a drink from the bartender.

She's on the island to pay off a $250,000 gambling debt by performing for the tourists. All of the drinking establishments on the island have been told by Max Gerber not to serve her. Anyone doing so will be severely punished.

After being refused, she settles on a ginger ale and Malone, looking at this as an opportunity, buys a bottle from the bartender and heads back to his motel room. As he's taking a shower, Peggy manages to find her way into his room.

Scroll to Continue

While the two are getting their drink and groove on, a heist is being planned of the casino by Daniel Manoa, the editor and owner of the small weekly newspaper. He and his thugs do not like the "white tourists" and plan on making their point known.

Although the back cover art promises a huge heaping of disaster, it doesn't happen.

The book is a very slow and really uneventful, although pages 118 to 121 are a little steamy, the steaminess is still there after all of these years.

I'll probably keep this book in my collection because it's extremely rare and at that time, there were a few obscure disaster books and of course are no longer in circulation, which makes for a good investment.

Well, maybe.

Related Articles