|Glynn Marsh Alam: Dive Deep and Deadly (A Luanne Fogarty Mystery)|
Press (Trade Paperback),
Professor Luanne Fogarty, in the midst of a midlife crisis, calls this Florida swamp "home sweet home." At age 45, she escapes from the ivy-covered halls of academia, retreats from civilization into the wild, swampy habitat of her childhood. There she faces alligators with less trepidation than a room full of college students.
The crumbling house, ripe with memories, reminds her of her dead mother, her early life with her widowed father and a childhood spent swimming, scuba diving and being a wild child in 'gator infested water. Shrugging back into her life as one of the "swamp folk," Luanne embraces the humidity, patiently combats mosquitoes and gnats, and admires her colorful Cajun neighbor, Dorian Pasquin. She respects, more than fears, her more reptilian neighbors. But, learns to fear, more than respect, her human community.
When the local sheriff requests that she investigate a dead body sighted in the mysterious underwater limestone caves, Luanne readily agrees. She uncovers more than a body as she follows the trail from victim to murderer and discovers the motive that leads man to kill his fellow man. Even alligators nurture a higher code of honor than the villains of this piece.
Alam introduces readers to an interesting middle-aged woman who demonstrates more than hot flashes and longings. A woman who acclimated to civilization, prefers nature -- wild, yet predictable if you know its rules. The villains reflect the consequences of their life choices and circumstances. The secondary characters -- a bit watered-down and one-dimensional -- nevertheless add interesting story lines that enhance this fiction.
The author appears weakest when dealing with cause and effect, but she provides a fresh style and unique settings. The plot often turns on happenstance (a weakness of many first novels) which may explain why I was drawn to her masterful depiction of the mysterious swamp and underwater worlds.
Yet Alam pulls all the elements together, producing a readily believable story. The front cover, a photograph of an underwater cave and another of a swamp, add to the realism. Readers who enjoy exotic settings, unusual lifestyles, mid-life crisis, strong women with active sex lives and mysteries that keep you guessing, should rush to read Dive Deep and Deadly.
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