Summary and book reviews of A Deadly Exchange by Sheryl Jane Stafford

A Deadly Exchange

By Sheryl Jane Stafford

A Deadly Exchange
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  • Paperback: Jan 2001,
    364 pages.

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Book Summary

Former POW Matthew Spencer thinks his days of confinement and torture are over at the end of the Vietnam War. Not so. Years later, when he and his wife, Alexandra, embark on a leisurely cruise on their sailboat, they are caught up in another battle, one that involves illegal drugs. As their sloop sails toward the remote Bahamian Cays, the Spencers are unaware of the deadly white powder concealed inside their yacht's hanging wet locker. 

Spencer is forty-eight, tired, a reluctant hero. Alex is thirty-five, naïve, an unlikely heroine. They aren't looking for trouble, but then again, they don't have to. They're carrying it with them. 

A chain of events leaves Matt desperate and alone, while Alex, weak and in shock, is delivered to Raoul, the head of a Colombian drug cartel. U. S. drug agents on a surveillance mission are drawn into the conflict. They agree to deliver Matt to Morgan Cay, Raoul's private Island. 
Raoul sounds the alarm when he discovers that Alex has bolted. Alex finds Matt savagely beaten and unable to move. The agents, waiting just offshore, must leave at dawn. The clock is ticking for Matt, for Alex, and for the agents.

Roberts Cay

When darkness shrouded the anchorage, Matt went below decks. Alex had thrown together some sandwiches for dinner, but neither of them had much appetite. Every few minutes Matt would get up, turn off the cabin light, and check for any activity on the cabin cruiser. Each time he looked, he saw the faint outline of The Happy Hour as it silently rode the waves. Inside his head a battle raged. Was he just being paranoid and frightening Alex unnecessarily or were these guys a real threat to them?

Matt picked up the thirty-eight from the navigation table, pressed the release lever, and swung open the cylinder. He carefully dropped all six bullets in his hand and checked them for corrosion. Before reinserting them into the cylinder, he looked down the barrel to see if there were any obstructions. Once the bullets were back in the cylinder, he closed the chamber and wiggled it to be sure it was locked. When he set the gun on the desk top, Alex jumped.

"I've gotta get...

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If you're looking for a thrilling read - stop right here and browse an excerpt from 'A Deadly Exchange' - it's a great story at any time of the year but particularly apt for a summer vacation. By way of encouragement to other writers out there, it's worth mentioning that Sheryl self-published this book in early 2001. Slowly, slowly, she's been building awareness and sales and, at the time of writing, the book is currently one of Walmart's top selling thrillers!  

Media Reviews
Pensacola News Journal - Mimi Schroeder

Sheryl Stafford has developed a can't-put-it-down tale of suspense. This is her first novel, and she does a remarkable job creating believable characters, a strong sense of place, and a plot that pulls the reader in. Stafford has accomplished that exhilarating feeling of time running out, and she makes the reader care what happens to the protagonists.

Shadowfire, Amazon Top 100 Reviewer

Sheryl Jane Stafford easily bursts onto the tired and crowded scene of suspense fiction with a gripping melodrama about a brave couple willing to face death in order to save each other.

Hang on tight for this one! ... I recommend A Deadly Exchange as the perfect read whether on vacation, soaking up rays in the backyard or cuddling up under a blanket in the cold winter months. Wherever you physically are, you'll be whisked away.

Romance Reviews Today

I was only going to read a chapter or two of A Deadly Exchange before lights out. Ha! Lights out came, all right, at 312 a.m.... It's a gritty, edgy tale, full of nail-biting suspense. Any sense of hopelessness, however, is redeemed by the exceptional hero and heroine. The writing is that best kind that unobtrusively sets the scene, builds the characters, and tells a good story.

Mystery Book Reviews

It (A Deadly Exchange) demands to be read in a single sitting. Ms. Stafford is, quite simply, a marvelously gifted storyteller.

The Belles and Beaux of Romance Reviews

Sheryl Jane Stafford is a master of suspense and intrigue and creating the perfect characters to weave her tale. Ms. Stafford is an author you don't want to miss. She sure can electrify the air with suspense with her compelling plot and riveting characters. Her next story can't come fast enough for me.

The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Mississippi

Author Sheryl Stafford demonstrates a masterful ability to integrate the story of a couple of soul mates with non-stop action, intrigue, and suspense. While exploring the depths of Matt and Alex Spencer's love for each other, Stafford maintains the brisk pace of the story, causing even the most macho readers to fear missing some of the action.

Author Blurb Christine Born, Editor, The Real Paper
Author Sheryl Jane Stafford knows her subject well. Her novel, A Deadly Exchange, is based loosely on some of the experiences of her husband, Commander Hugh Allen Stafford, who was shot down and imprisoned in Vietnam. A Deadly Exchange is very believable, which makes it all the more terrifying and compelling.

Author Blurb Art Gibberson, Editor, Gosport (U. S. Navy Newspaper)
Sheryl Stafford's first published novel, A Deadly Exchange, is a thriller you'll have trouble putting down.

Author Blurb Sara Paretsky, Author of Total Recall, Hard Time, Ghost Country, Tunnel Vision, Guardian Angel, Burn Marks, Blood Shot, Bitter Medicine, Killing Orders, Deadlock, and Indemnity Only.
Fans of James Hall and Carl Hiasson who can't get enough of noir fiction in the Gulf should look no further than Sheryl Stafford's A Deadly Exchange. This is a lively, well-written debut by someone who knows Florida, knows boats, and writes convincingly about crime.

Author Blurb Richard Langford, Book Notes, The Beacon, and author of White Squall, The Last Voyage of the Albatross
Sheryl Jane Stafford's first novel, A Deadly Exchange, is a solid mystery-thriller that offers genuine suspense and colorful action.

Reader Reviews
Gavin Grow

WOW!!! Sheryl Stafford’s latest masterpiece, ‘A Deadly Exchange’ is an action packed, edge-of-your-seat nail-biter! If any book was made for the screen, ‘A Deadly Exchange’ is it. I began the book, thinking to get in a couple of hours reading, and...   Read More

Sheryl Jane Stafford

Greetings, suspense lovers. My nautical thriller, A Deadly Exchange, is slowly gaining readers as news about it makes its way across the country. Researching the book while exploring remote Bahamian cays was definitely exciting. Writing A Deadly ...   Read More

Robin Graysmith

My kinda book.This is the best book.I've read in years.Sheryl puts raw emotion into play.I felt like I was there.I can't say enough about this book.I'm waiting for her next one.This would make agreat movie!


When I started reading this book I could not put it down!!!! The author gradually pulls the reader in and then the story takes off. The reading is fast-paced, and one does not get bogged down in unnecessary language. Of course, this story would be...   Read More

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