By Kelly Bridgewater
After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse
practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she'd left her troubles
behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the
emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her
brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to
her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.
Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills
is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff's
Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake
Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer--one with a
terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.
I haven't read anything by Lynn H. Blackburn, but she has
written a number of romantic suspenses for the Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense
line. I do enjoy a good mystery that grips my attention and keeps me focused on
the story. With Blackburn's first full length novel Beneath the Surface, I expected to receive a military or FBI type
character who is working to solve a case while the woman either works with him
or he or she is trying to protect the member of the opposite sex. I expect the
suspense to be non-stop with some explaining of the thought process to solve
the case. With Beneath the Surface, I
did receive all these things.
The writing is clear and concise. When the police officers
got together to discuss the case, I trusted that Blackburn was actually writing
what would have occurred in a police meeting as they discussed what they have
and what they still needed to solve the mystery. No head hopping. Pretty good
descriptions to keep me cemented in the mystery.
When I approach a mystery, I expect that the mystery I first
encounter either in the first chapter or the prologue is the mystery for the
entire book. Not in Beneath the Surface.
It occurs, and I was drawn into the story, wondering about the body with no
head, feet, or hands. But the next chapter focusing on Leigh, the heroine, and
stays focused on her for the next fifty-five percent of the novel. Rarely, did
it go back to the body in the water. Leigh had things happen to her, and the
detectives, Ryan especially, wanted to know why. I wondered why Blackburn made
us focus so much on Leigh when the opening chapter had nothing to do with her,
or I was led to believe.
Another issue I had with the plot was that the series is
called the Dive Team Investigations. The first chapter features the detectives
under the water, but the rest of the novel occurs on land. They didn't even go
back under to hunt for more clues. I thought the detectives would have spent
more time diving for clues than hunting on land.
When another detective brings up the idea of the same killer
hunting Leigh and murdered the body in the lake around sixty percent into the
novel, then the novel becomes what I thought it should have been since the
beginning. The novel becomes exciting, and I can't put the novel down. I
finished the rest of the book in a little under two hours. Lots of actions and
thought processes to solve the mystery.
The romance, in my taste, was a little rushed. So Leigh and
Ryan liked each other when they were little. Do they honestly know the adult
version of each other without someone hunting down Leigh? They want to jump
into a forever relationship because of the crush they used to have on each
other. If this was reality, I believe their romance wouldn't last.
Overall, Beneath the
Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn is different romantic suspense with a hurried
romance but a hunt for the killer that kicked off around sixty percent, but
dragged for the first part of the novel. There is a second book and probably a
third, so I definitely will be giving Blackburn another try. Fans of Lynette
Eason, Irene Hannon, DiAnn Mills, and Terri Blackstock might, I believe, enjoy
this romantic suspense story.
I received a complimentary copy of Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn from Revell Publishing, but
the opinions stated are all my own.
3.5 out of 5 stars