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By Christine Kling

Ballantine Publishing, 2002 ($6.99)
ISBN: 0345448286

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Most of the critics and reviewers I've read thought this debut novel by Kling was outstanding. I can't say that isn't true, it's just that I'm biased because by the time I read this novel, I'd already read her second novel, CROSS CURRENT and fallen in love with the character, Seychelle Sullivan. So for me, this book was more like a dash through the pages to catch up with how things got started for this plucky and welcome addition to the ranks of female amateur sleuths. No tea cozies here, Kling writes suspenseful fiction and Seychelle is an active and adventurous participant.

If you are not familiar with this series, Seychelle Sullivan ekes out a living on the Florida waters as owner of a salvage boat she inherited from her father. In this case, she answers a mayday call only to discover a dead body on board a luxury yacht and the yacht's hired skipper, Neal Garrett (a former lover) is missing. Naturally the police put Seychelle on the top of their suspect list. Unraveling the mystery and the crime is a challenge she can't afford to take lightly.

If you like your heroines fiesty and with a bit of attitude, you'll want to pick up this series and get started reading right away. I thoroughly enjoy the breezy writing style of the author and I admire the grit and determination she has instilled in the main character. Even if you are not a fan of mysteries and crime novels set in Florida, I still recommend giving this series a read. I am not usually a fan of mysteries set in Florida but I can't complain about the setting in this case. Of course, I do have a fondness for boats and boating...sailing mostly...and that aspect (that the main character was a female salvage boat operator) is what first attracted me to the series.

The second novel in this series is CROSS CURRENT. It is not yet available in paperback but a digital format is available.

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