• Dead in the Water

  • A True Story of Hijacking, Murder, and a Global Maritime Conspiracy
  • By: Matthew Campbell, Kit Chellel
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (176 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“A triumph of investigative journalism.” (Tom Wright, New York Times best-selling coauthor of Billion Dollar Whale)

"Truly one of the most nail-biting, page-turning, terrifying true-crime books I've ever read." (Nick Bilton, New York Times best-selling author of American Kingpin)

From award-winning journalists Matthew Campbell and Kit Chellel, the gripping, true-crime story of a notorious maritime hijacking at the heart of a massive conspiracy - and the unsolved murder that threatened to unravel it all.

In July 2011, the oil tanker Brillante Virtuoso was drifting through the treacherous Gulf of Aden when a crew of pirates attacked and set her ablaze in a devastating explosion. But when David Mockett, a maritime surveyor working for Lloyd’s of London, inspected the damaged vessel, he was left with more questions than answers. How had the pirates gotten aboard so easily? And if they wanted to steal the ship and bargain for its return, then why did they destroy it? The questions didn’t add up—and Mockett would never answer them. Soon after his inspection, David Mockett was murdered. 

Dead in the Water is a shocking expose of the criminal inner workings of international shipping, told through the lens of the Brillante hijacking and its aftermath. Through first-hand accounts of those who lived it - from members of the ship’s crew and witnesses to the attacks, to the ex-London detectives turned private investigators seeking to solve Mockett’s murder and bring justice to his family—award-winning Bloomberg reporters Matthew Campbell and Kit Chellel piece together the astounding truth behind one of the most brazen financial frauds in history.

The ambitious culmination of more than four years of reporting, Dead in the Water uncovers an intricate web of conspiracy amidst the lawless, old-world industry at the backbone of our new global economy.

©2022 Matthew Campbell and Kit Chellel (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"A rich story of fake piracy and a global conspiracy...On one level, Dead in the Water is a masterpiece of explanatory journalism...Campbell and Chellel report and explain it masterfully, giving us an account that is both enlightening and thoroughly engaging.”Mark Bowden, The New York Times

“Triumphant…in part a well-written, well-paced thriller. But it is also a morality tale….At the heart of the story is at least one still unsolved murder…Dead in the Water makes a compelling case that those handling Russian oligarchs’ riches are not the only ones overdue for a rethink.”Robert Wright, The Financial Times

Dead in the Water tells a startling tale of fraud and impunity at sea…exposes the dark, barnacle-encrusted goings-on beneath the shipping industry’s waterline…gripping.”—The Economist

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More Engrossing Than Fiction

I would never have chosen this book except for a stupendous review in the Wall Street Journal. I would have then missed a captivating story, composed by writers who know their craft and articulated by Perkins with immediacy. Taken as fact the story of the demise of a supertanker speaks to piracy on the highseas, lunacy in the British insurance system and misbehaviour in Africa and Greece. From start to finish I could not cease listening until well into the night. The characters are well healed and well drawn, evil to the core. Take this as adventure, as informative of the sea trade, of insurance shenanigans. A stupendous read and a memorable listen.

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A do not miss story.

An astonishing look into the international web of the shipping industry. The story has been meticulously researched and almost every sentence held clues and surprise. It is a tale of “truth versus facts” and I found it gripping.
It’s characters are as tenacious in searching for the truth as the criminals are at evasion. The events in Lime St. In London are a story in themselves and they sit over top of the mystery.

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Stunning work of investigation

Well reported, well written, suspenseful, educational about shipping industry and sharpens one’s cynicism about money’s ability to escape justice.

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A maritime story deserving to be told

Great gripping start. The story is padded out and the narrative drags somewhat. But this is a story that needs to be told and it's an injustice there isn't more to tell.

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good story, runs a bit long

better keep notes on names. first half great second half drags on a bit. listen ar 1.3x

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excellent research. not a podcast, but good

excellent research. not a podcast, but if you like Tru crime stories this is for you, really good back story on lloyds of London, and maritime fraud. and please never forget the murder of David mockery, still unsolved.

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great story

learned a lot about the shipping world and investigating fraudulent insurance claims and sadly a murder

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Compelling

An example of a handful of determined, right minded individuals to uncover the truth and set right a wrong as best they can.