This is a fictional story about life aboard a navy combat cargo ship, where the murder of a navy skipper occurs. The main character is Lieutenant Bob Cantley, who is a maverick supply corps officer. The story takes place in the early 1980s and takes the listener from Bob's entry into the navy through his first ship and onward to his final ship, where he meets up with a ruthless navy skipper, Captain Manzack, known as the Spine Ripper. The Spine Ripper is an abusive skipper, much like Captain Qweeg in Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny.

Because action takes places in the '70-'80s, there is a lot of profanity and navy lingo. It is the way the navy was then and still is to some degree. Action takes place on board the USS San Clemente during its voyage to the Indian Ocean, where the skipper ends up missing. This novel tries to shed light on the way sailors behave on deployment. Shipboard life is not easy, and thus, rough language is used throughout. The story line tries to reflect on the many moral dilemmas that face sailors in the navy. When Lieutenant Bob Cantley meets Captain Manzack for the first time, he realizes his career is doomed.

The novel contains intrigue, sex, mayhem, and lots and lots of mischief. Bob and his navy buddies get into trouble for games they play. A court martial ensues at the end, and you will never be able to guess the outcome. Initial responses about Murder on Steel Beach by a retired rear admiral is it is interesting and has a great ending; another naval officer said it is a laugh a minute. You decide.

©2016, 2018 Robert K. Knauer (P)2018 Robert K. Knauer

 Must read for all who served on ships! 

This piece of fiction is an absolute fun read. As one, who spent decades at Sea, I found 'Murder on Steel Beach' spell binding from start to finish. This "Sea Story" is full of intregue, twists and turns, that captures the reader's attention. The author portrayed shipboard life, deployments,port visits and liberty call (with a few embellishments), with a semblance of realism. 
To sum up in nautical venacular:, 'Murder on Steel Beach' is "Sierra Hotel and Well-Done"!

About the Author


     Robert Knauer served as a Naval Supply Corps officer from 1975 to 1986, both on active duty and as a reserve officer. He spent tours of duty aboard aircraft carriers, and cargo ships serving as a disbursing officer, sales officer, stock control officer, cargo officer, comptroller and contracting officer at several naval shore commands. Many stories depicted in the book come from his experiences as well as navy friends and articles.


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Names imposed by shackles

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An identity my forefathers were deprived of


An identity I am now polluting with the fumes of cigarettes

In dope I am giving it another face

In ecstasy I am giving it a comical image

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My borrowed accent contradicts what it represents

My imitated dress code conceals its beauty

My adopted religion undermines my intellectual prowess

My language deafens my ancestors

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Whilst absorbing all that is alien

None can identify with me

Even those I am emulating

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If I were xenophobic

I could have been my own victim

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An education promptly deleting my true history

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But suppressed by fear

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Fear to be rejected by the world

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