Dark Dive
February 10, 2024

Book Review

Dark Dive

Eager to get my hands on Andrew Mayne’s latest novel, I devoured this recent quasi-police procedural. I discovered Mayne through the debut novel of this series and have been enjoying much of his work since. Taking a unique spin on police work, Mayne sheds some light on a great means of discovering crimes and catching those who commit them.

With a great deal of attention to detail, Mayne is able to check all the boxes and keep the reader engaged until the final page.

With the dissolution of the Underwater Investigation Unit (UIU), there is significant blowback. The uproar eventually sends Sloan McPherson and her partner, Scott Hughes, back underwater to solve crimes and plunge to new depths while doing so. However, things are slow to get started, giving Sloan some time to play hero, as well as victim, during some dives across Florida.

Sloan finds herself in the middle of a personal case as the UIU returns to business. Family friend and famed diver, Fred Stafford, has disappeared without a trace. Working with Scott and using her intuition, Sloan is able to locate Fred’s truck, which has been left abandoned near a sinkhole. Fred, always the adventurous diver, has used his skills to explore many uncharted spots, of which this might be one. While Sloan prepares to explore the area, she stumbles across some news that tosses her for a loop and leaves her wondering if she ever knew Fred Stafford at all. A group of underwater diving enthusiasts who seek treasure have been scavenging with Fred whenever possible. Their finds are surely being sold on the black market, which would cover Fred’s large debts accrued from a gambling addiction. If that were not enough, a discovery on Fred’s property opens up new and troubling revelations.

As Sloan and Scott keep working the case, they call in outside assistance to locate Fred Stafford. Things morph into a cold case with significantly problematic evidence that leads Sloan to wonder what is actually going on. With the UIU back in play, Sloan will have to represent them as best she can, knowing that each dive and every question could take things in a horrible direction with little knowledge of what waits under the murky waters. Mayne does a fabulous job of pulling the reader into the middle of the story without letting go.

I have long enjoyed the stories that Andrew Mayne writes. As I mentioned above, this was the first of his series that I discovered, though I have never found a book of his that I disliked. Filled with great narrative flow and action, Mayne keeps things moving and never lets up. There is something about the unique perspective that has long interested me. Sloan McPherson does well to provide the reader with the insight needed to respect diving and how it fits into policing. Peppering in great ideas and developing them throughout, Mayne proves his worth and keeps the reader fully engaged as the mystery thickens throughout the novel.

Plot points grow as the story builds, thrusting Sloan McPherson into areas of the law and her personal life she had not expected. As Mayne explores the world of diving and the risks undertaken by those who thrive on adventure, the story follows along and keeps things on edge throughout. Mayne knows how to use the proper pacing and keeps the reader involved in the many twists he inserts throughout the story, always willing to surprise when things seem to be on the straight and narrow. I am eager to see where things will go with this series and if there will be more than a passing ‘crossover moment’, as Mayne brought in one of his other great protagonists to offer up some of their insight.

Kudos, Mr. Mayne, for another thrilling novel that has me eager for the next installment

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