The Girl Beneath the Sea

Thomas & Mercer: Amazon. May 2020. 332p. ISBN 9781542009577. pap. $15.95. THRILLER
Archaeology PhD student Sloan McPherson grew up in an infamous family of treasure-hunting scavengers and works part-time as a diver for Lauderdale Shores police department. While she’s on a solo dive for her academic work, the body of a murdered woman is dumped into the ocean on top of her. Sloan quickly learns that she knows the victim and becomes both a suspect and a target of the killer, who stole her ID from the site. She eventually partners with George Solar, the potentially crooked cop who once jailed her uncle, to unravel a conspiracy. Mayne writes with a clipped narrative style that gives the story rapid-fire propulsion, and he populates the narrative with a rogue’s gallery of engaging characters as Sloan battles extragovernmental operatives, drug cartels, and shady local businessmen along with sharks, alligators, and tropical storms. The main partnership between Sloan and the crusty cop has real verve and will provide excellent material for future entries.
VERDICT Edgar-nominated Mayne (“Jessica Blackwood” series; Dark Pattern) introduces a winning new series with a complicated female protagonist that combines police procedural with adventure story and mixes the styles of Lee Child and Clive Cussler.
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