Survival writer ships out ‘Deadly Cargo’

Rich Johnson sees new thriller with an all-ages appeal

‘Deadly Cargo’

Author: Rich Johnson

342 pages

ISBN 978-1-61456-292-4

Sarah Book Publishing

Available at: and major book distributors online

Retail price: $15.95



Sequim Gazette

Writer Rich Johnson has his genres covered.

In his career, he’s written repair manuals like the “RV Repair & Maintenance Manual,” articles on hunting, skin diving, boat repair and way more, and popular survival guides “Rich Johnson’s Guide to Wilderness Survival” and “The Ultimate Survival Manual.” Now he’s taking on the fiction thriller with “Deadly Cargo.” But his latest effort comes partially out of frustration because Johnson said so much of today’s fiction is filled with objectionable content in it that detracts from the story.

“I’d like to read some good books that I can pass onto my grandkids,” he said.

“Deadly Cargo,” he says pits “some really bad guys” against “some really good people who put themselves in harm’s way.”

The book centers on terrorist Usam al Din who plans to deliver a biological weapon via a shipping container to the United States.

Johnson said the biological agent was engineered so symptoms don’t arise right away and it’s impossible to quarantine.

Working against al Din is undercover National Intelligence Agency operative Josh Adams, posing as an Army deserter. However a hurricane sweeps up the container coming through the Panama Canal leaving it stranded at sea where an American family on vacation discovers the container leading to more thrilling situations, Johnson said.

With the seriousness of the plot, Johnson said there is a balance between light and heavy moments particularly with the action.

“There is tragic violence,” he said. “Sometimes, when I would reread my story it would bring me to tears of what these people had to go through. These characters become real people. There are some real emotional moments.”

Johnson said his book contrasts a lot of ideas with the hero and villain’s philosophies about life and death too but he finds all the characters plausible.

When writing “Deadly Cargo,” Johnson said his plot takes a twist he didn’t see coming.

“Characters show up unannounced and sometimes surprise me, but they always advance the story and become integral to the plot,” he said.

“For me, writing fiction is almost like watching a movie, and I’m typing as fast as I can just to keep up. It’s magic.”

Johnson said he left “Deadly Cargo” open to a sequel if his publisher, Sarah Book Publishing wants it. His next fiction book, “Code Name: Viper,” was written before “Deadly Cargo,” but it will be released tentatively sometime in 2016.

For 30-plus years, Johnson has worked as an editor, journalist and writer including a long stretch as “Outdoor Life” survival writer. He retired to Sequim in 1999 but continues to work on new fiction pieces.

He said even with his experience writing and editing non-fiction pieces, he’s had to work hard to get his foot in the door with fiction writing.

“You have to be constantly plowing new fields,” he said.

For more information about “Deadly Cargo,” visit or look for it at major online book distributors. His book “The Ultimate Survival Manual” is on sale at Costco, too.