by Cynthia Chow
Details on how to win an e-book copy of Murder Dives the Caribbean at the end of this review.
It should have been the dream vacation. A part-time forensic photographer in Cliffview, California, Cinnamon Greene was invited by her boyfriend Danny to a free trip to Bonamer Island courtesy of his old diving instructor, Ryan Miller. Ryan and his wife own the SeaSide Inn, and when guests cancelled he offered Danny their room along with the opportunity to swim in the gorgeous Caribbean waters. On a night dive off of the Town Pier Cinnamon and Danny encounter a corpse along with the advertised sea life, but the local authorities are dubious when the body disappears before it can be recovered.
In the initial confusion Cinnamon neglected to mention to the cranky Officer Westwood that she had taken a video of the body, and Ryan expresses his preference that it remains unmentioned. Through the videos they are able to identify the deceased as Neils Van Syke, a developer whose golf club project has stirred up the island and led to the creation of Ryan’s protest group the No Tees. Danny and Cinnamon’s knowledge of currents and diving allows them to recover the body, which is fortunate as the camera equipment storing their evidence is rather suspiciously stolen from the Inn. The tension is already high in the SeaSide resort, as Ryan had an affair with a woman whom he still employs despite his wife Sara’s objections. Sara hides her own indiscretions, and when she goes missing it’s not known whether she was a victim or a culprit.
Cinnamon herself is discovering a previously unseen and unwelcome side to Danny, as Ryan brings out the worst in Danny, causing him to display obnoxious machismo. Weasel, her ex-husband’s friend and newest employee of the photography shop owned by Cinnamon and her father, had invited himself along on their vacation and he both aids and hinders their efforts with his diving skills and weakness for ladies. Cinnamon will need all of the support she can get when Officer Westwood pressures him to help his investigation and she finds herself torn between loyalty to the Millers and appeasing her sense of justice.
In this third Cinnamon Greene mystery author Cardone continues to share her fascinating knowledge of both photography and diving. Her descriptions of the underwater scenes do have one wishing for scuba gear and a coral reef, although the possibility of swimming past a floating body proves less appealing. The relationship between Danny and Cinnamon stumbles and advances realistically as the couple learns more about one another, and the sudden appearance of someone long forgotten will definitely influence Cinnamon’s future. Flawed characters who continue to evolve enhance this vividly written thriller that highlights both the beauty and the risks inherent in the sport of underwater diving.
To enter to win an e-book copy of Murder Dives the Caribbean, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Dives,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 22, 2014.
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