Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
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Blurb from goodreads:
In this breathtaking mystery debut, marine biologist–turned-divemaster Meredith Cavallo stands accused of a chilling crime after a dive gone wrong. But do the murky circumstances point to an accident, a murder, or a supernatural encounter?
Mer thought adjusting to a laid-back life in the Florida Keys would be a breeze. But when she rescues a floundering diver who claims to have seen a ghost, she’s caught in a storm of intrigue. News of the encounter explodes on social media, attracting a team of ghost hunters who want to capture proof that a greenish ghoul haunts Key Largo’s famed USS Spiegel Grove shipwreck.
Meredith knows the wreck inside and out, and agrees to act as their safety diver. When Ishmael, the charismatic leader of the group, vanishes during a midnight dive, everyone except Mer is convinced the ghost has claimed another victim. Topside, the tenacious detective in charge of the investigation finds Mer’s involvement in both incidents suspicious, and her enigmatic neighbor resurrects ghosts from her past.
Determined to find a rational explanation, Mer approaches Ishmael’s disappearance as any scientist would—by asking questions, gathering data, and deducing the truth. But the victim’s life is as shrouded in mystery as his disappearance. Still, something happened under the water and before long, she’s in over her head. When someone tries to kill her, she knows the truth is about to surface. Maybe dead men do tell tales after all.
Well, once again I'm in the minority. This book has a 4+ star rating on goodreads and won awards, but for me, it was just okay. I liked it, gave it 3 stars on goodreads, but I didn't love it.
Our heroine is different, being a marine biologist and dive master, not usual lines of works for mystery story leads. She has no experience investigating murder or any crimes but when she's a suspect in a disappearance, she takes matters into her own hands. Mer is an independent woman, a loner, and prone to being a smart-ass. She's passionate about octopuses, NOT octopi, she's quite firm about that; she tends to keep people at a distance; she's smart thought not always good at social interactions; and she has a tendency to speak without thinking first.
The pace of the story was steady, with events occurring over several weeks. At times, I wished things moved a little faster as parts of the story dragged. There was a lot of detail about underwater diving and underwater equipment. The mystery itself was well-done and kept me reading. I figured out a few things along the way but there were some surprises. The mystery was complex but not overly complicated and I liked how it kept me guessing. At times the mystery took a backseat to Mer's personal life, which contributed to the slowness of the story. There's a strong cast of interesting characters who added depth to the story and gave Mer help in her investigations. The detective in charge of the police investigation veered between being competent and incompetent, though we only see him from Mer's perspective and she's desperate to clear her name.
The story asks questions about the paranormal, about faith, about science, and whether people deserve a second chance. Mer is at a fork in the road for her life and the disappearance of Ishmael prompts Mer to re-evaluate her life and her beliefs, as does a chance encounter with an old love. Mer was hard to warm up to; she was distant, prickly, and sometimes hard to understand. She's balanced out by her boss, Bijoux, a warm woman who reads Tarot cards, and her mother, a slightly over-bearing but well-meaning woman who reads palms. Their workings in the paranormal and mystical provide a good counterpoint to Mer's all-scientific method, all-the-time approach to life.
"Adrift' provided a solid, mostly entertaining story with a strong cast of characters. The pacing was off and Mer was stiff at times but it's a promising start to the series.