|Glynn Marsh Alam: Deep Water Death|
Press Inc. (Trade Paperback), ISBN 0970504918
Now Glynn Marsh Alam builds on this deadly geography to create her second novel, Deep Water Death. Alam hooks readers with her first sentence: "Funny how creatures grow dead quiet when someone screams in the forest." Quickly she situates her independent protagonist, 40-something Luanne Fogarty, into the setting: "I am one of the swamp creatures. I know because I stopped in my tracks, dead still and silent as a tomb, just like the others."
Luanne, a native of Palmetto Springs, understands and respects the swamp, its inhabitants -- human, reptilian, insect or animal -- and she knows the human critters often present more danger than the rest. In Deep Water Death, Luanne follows the opening scream through the overgrowth to a dilapidated shack but arrives too late to stop the people scurrying away with a baby-size bundle. But culprits leave behind the baby's mother, her lifeblood soaking into the swamp.
Luanne calls for emergency help and reports the crime to the local police, then helps with the investigation. A skilled scuba diver and deputy of sorts, Luanne often assists the police with searches, rescues and investigations. But the hunted begin stalking her. The bad guys' attempts on Luanne's life cause her lover (also in local law enforcement) to double as her bodyguard. He provides more intimate services as well.
The crimes continue. The circle of suspects expands to include a group of good-old-boys secretly playing war by day and night, a real estate developer and a realtor -- not to mention the untrained women who provide midwife services to poverty stricken swamp families.
Swirling around the kidnapping and murders, the swamp continues as a murky, evil presence. Yet the author provides an insightful description of the landscape, giving glimpses of the beauty that dwells there. Eighty-year-old Pasquin, Luanne's neighbor and Cajun sidekick, represents the good people who make their homes in the swamp.
The story lines flow naturally like the Palmetto River, which hides another world beneath its smooth surface. The author meticulously researched series and setting, giving the reader a sense of reality that suspends disbelief. I could feel the Florida sun on my winter-white skin as I read. But beware, the fragrance of hush puppies, breaded shrimp and deep-fried-everything practically wafts from the pages, and seafood cravings may overwhelm you.
Alam writes a well-crafted mystery with unique setting and characters. A definite must read.
here to share your