Sea Storm (Underwater Investigation Unit #3), by Andrew Mayne

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Andrew Mayne, and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Andrew Mayne is back with another exciting story in the Underwater Investigation Unit series, showing how versatile his writing can be. Down in Florida, there are many parts to law enforcement, as Sloan McPherson knows well. Working as part of a dive team, McPherson and her partner answer a call when a cruise ship finds itself in trouble. What looks like a targeted crime soon becomes a highly volatile situation and Sloan McPherson refuses to let up until she has all the answers, even if it costs her everything.

When a distress call fills the airwaves, McPherson and her partner head towards a cruise ship off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. The ship appears to be sinking and there’s are thousands aboard. McPherson will have to act quickly to help them before things take a disastrous turn. She can see the panic in the eyes of many and this does not appear to be a simple malfunction, as smoke envelops the ship.

After examining the ship during an initial dive, it appears as though this was the act of an ecoterrorist, set to make a point. While Sloan uncovers more than could be of use to the investigators, she worries that an approaching storm could nullify all the evidence, thereby making any arrests impossible. What’s even more baffling is that no one appears to care much, leaving Sloan to worry that this is not a priority to anyone. If anything, many seem to be considering it as yet another protest move.

While she appears to be alone in this, Sloan pushes forward and discovers some new truths, things that could put the explosion into perspective and place a target on her back. Never one to back down, the investigation leads to the West Coast, where other things of a nefarious nature have been taking place. Sloan finds herself coming face to face with those in charge and her diligence must be stopped before all is revealed. With everything to lose and a determination to find the truth, Sloan McPherson forges onwards, not realising that she may have met her match. Mayne does well with this instalment, keeping the reader hooked until the final chapter with tension and intrigue.

Beginning this series when it came out was my introduction to Andrew Mayne and his writing. It was only later that others encouraged me to try some of his other novels, permitting me to see just how talented he was and the complexity to his stories. Mayne takes a unique approach to law enforcement with this piece, exploring the underwater domain as a place where crime is just as prevalent. Using a strong set of characters, he is able to keep the reader interested and also pushes something many within the genre have yet to attempt.

Sloan McPherson is back with a great deal to prove. She has an interesting backstory and great development in this piece, something series fans will surely appreciate. Her determination is second to none and she tries to find that balance between work and home life, though it is usually marred with a push to get answers as a member of law enforcement. Using her diving and scuba background, Sloan stands out as a character in the piece, pushing boundaries in order to get answers she needs. I am eager to see what Mayne has in store for her, as the series progresses.

The greatest ability of an author is to provide continuity to their stories and characters, something that Andrew Mayne has done repeatedly. He knows what he wants and weaves it into the narrative to get there. Strong momentum pushes the story along and keeps the reader from losing their way, while characters entertain and provide guidance throughout. A strong plot allows the reader to see where things are going, propelled by short chapters that tease them to try just a little more. While I won’t spoil it, Mayne has done some great crossover work in this piece, keeping his fans of all series entertained with a few small surprises. This unique series has kept me curious from the start and this is yet another reason why Andrew Mayne remains on the top of my list of authors to follow.

Kudos, Mr. Mayne, for taking the plunge and continuing this series. I can only hope there is more to come for this and your other powerful series.