Like the proverbial fish, Andrew Mayne hooked me with the opening chapter of this first novel in his Underwater Investigation Unit series. Sloan McPherson, part-time cop and archaeology student, is diving alone – something she knows she should never do – when she hears a splash. Thinking it’s an alligator, she’s on her guard. It’s not a reptile entering the canal near her, but a dead body dumped by a criminal.

Now that Mayne has me hooked, he reels me right in with the discovery that the murderer must have realized Sloan was diving nearby when they dumped the body. A body that looks vaguely familiar. If a dead body weren’t enough of a problem, Sloan discovers someone has taken her driver’s license from her vehicle when she was in the water. They know who she is and where she lives.

The main character, Sloan, is down-to-earth and slightly flawed. Honestly, some male authors get female characters wrong. They make them a beer-swilling, tough-talking guy with boobs. Mayne doesn’t do that. Sloan is tough, but she displays fear and vulnerability, too. She has a ten-year-old daughter with her on again, off again ex-boyfriend, who is a decent guy. She comes from a family with a bad reputation – an uncle who trafficked drugs and a treasure hunter for a father who the cops think might know more about smuggling than he admits. She sees her family’s flaws, but doesn’t look at them in black and white terms. I can’t wait to see how she develops as a character in the next installment, which unfortunately, doesn’t come out until February 2021.

With this thriller, you know who the bad guys are, or you think you do. It is fast-paced and exciting as you follow Sloan as she tries to figure out what the villains want and recover it before they do.

The novel kept my interest because I learned about the world of scuba diving, treasure hunting, and narcotics trafficking along the Intracoastal Waterway. The facts were intertwined with the story. I want fiction, not a college lecture with my novel, and Mayne balanced fact and fiction well.

I don’t want to give away too many more details lest I spoil the read for you. If you want an intelligent thriller that is fast-paced with a “pirate cop” as your protagonist, then this novel fits your reading needs.

Available in ebook , paperback, and audiobook. Title releases on May 1, 2020, so you can pre-order.

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