Black Coral is the second book in the thrilling Underwater Investigation Unit series by Andrew Mayne.
The Underwater Investigation Unit, still trying to gain clout among fellow investigators, is helping with the examination and recovery of a submerged vehicle. During this assignment, Sloan McPherson, the lead diver and co-founder of the Underwater Investigation Unit, stumbles upon the final resting spot of four teenagers. Their final resting spot, confined to the bowels of a submerged van, after leaving a rock concert thirty years prior. Authorities believe the death of these teenagers is nothing more than an accident, but to Sloan McPherson, everything about the discovery of the van and bodies within screams foul play.
Determined to bring justice to the teenagers and their families, Sloan pours over the evidence, conducts impromptu interviews, and defies instructions from authorities. Soon a pattern begins to emerge, and Sloan discovers several missing persons who seem to have vanished with little to no follow up from authorities. When Sloan's investigation leads the Underwater Investigation Unit to the Everglades, a shocking discovery is made that causes a thrilling set of events to unfold. The Underwater Investigation Unit, under the guidance of Sloan McPherson, is now tracking down a serial killer in one of Florida's harshest terrains. What dangers await the Underwater Investigation Unit? Will Sloan and her team solve the cold cases, bringing closure and justice to the victims and their families?
Andrew Mayne delivers another captivating psychological thriller set in steamy Florida. Mayne's writing style is one that is descriptive, suspenseful, and terrifyingly engaging. The character development is detailed, and the storyline pulls the reader into the mystery surrounding the investigations taking place. Plot twists are timed appropriately and keep the reader on their toes, especially if they enjoy attempting to solve the case themselves.
What I enjoyed the most about this book was the author's use of a strong female protagonist. Sloan McPherson is clever, fearless, and daring. She is not concerned with the opinion of others. Her only concerns are for her daughter and solving cases that are otherwise overlooked or mishandled. Defying all odds and overcoming a male-dominated career, Sloan is a force to be reckoned with and gets the job done.
My only criticism of this book is the abrupt ending. While the ending of this book was absolutely thrilling in nature, it wrapped up rather quickly. I would have liked to see the author provide more details on what happened next. For example, I'm interested to see how the events that occurred in Black Coral impacted the Underwater Investigation Unit's standing among their peers and future endeavors. I'm hoping that this abruptness will be remedied by a third installment in the series because I have thoroughly enjoyed this series to date.
I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy dark thrillers, underwater mysteries, and strong female protagonists. I reside in Florida and was excited to read a series based in my own backyard (so to speak). I feel that fellow Floridians will find themselves excited to read this book and series for the same reason. That said, do not let your residency status deter you from the adventures of the Underwater Investigation Unit. Mayne does a phenomenal job of describing settings throughout the book, for those that are less familiar with Florida and its surrounding areas.
I will note that there is some strong language among the pages, as well as discussions surrounding sexual abuse, including rape. For these reasons, I would recommend this book for mature, or adult readers. Those who are sensitive to profanity, sexual abuse, or graphic descriptions of dead/decaying bodies may not be interested in reading this book.
I gladly award this book a rating of 4 out of 5 stars and encourage others to read this book.
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