The Girl Beneath the Sea by Andrew Mayne (Underwater Investigation Unit #1)

The Girl BeneathMy Five Word TL:DR Review : Gripping, tense, unique, thrilling ride

Okay, I already know that I like this author.  I mean I’m loving the Naturalist series, it’s literally like a blast of fresh air, and so to be honest wanting to read The Girl Beneath the Sea was something of a no-brainer for me and one that worked out really well because, again, Mayne seems to have pulled another rabbit out of the hat (or fish out of the water) with this unique murder mystery.

The Girl Beneath the Sea really hits the ground running.  We immediately meet Sloan McPherson who is on a dive, this isn’t exactly business, nor is it pleasure.  For her day job Sloan is a diver for Lauderdale Shores PD, Florida, however, she’s also a student and is out trying to uncover something interesting for one of her tutors.  Of course, this is an off schedule dive and so when she recovers a dead body things become a little tricky. The thing is, Sloan’s family have something of a history. Her uncle is serving time and her father is something of a pirate (or a treasure hunter as he prefers) so, of course Sloan’s reputation is sometimes called into repute and this murder victim, who it turns out she knows, doesn’t make her tarnished rep look any better.

In some respects this holds traits of The Naturalist.  Sloan is something of a wild card, she doesn’t exactly play by the rules and once she has a notion she pretty much acts on it which leads to some crazy, and scary, situations.  However, it differs in that Sloan is not as much of a loner, she has an ex partner and a daughter and is in regular contact with her father.  It also has a lot of tension, the story line ratchets the tension up at an impressive rate, there’s never a dull moment and this is further heightened by the short snappy chapters and gripping plotting.

The difference with The Girl Beneath the Sea is the style.  Sloan feels like she has a team or support network and although she can be a bit reckless she loves her job and doesn’t antagonise people in quite the way that Theo from the Naturalist does.  This also has more of a police procedural style story although, this is with Mayne’s own very special kind of twist that does involve a little natural suspension of disbelief.

The setting is great. Based out of Florida there are natural dangers to diving – alligators and snakes to name but a few.  Not to mention other divers who work for the drug cartels!  There are canals and underwater tunnels, scenes out at sea where deep sea diving brings it’s very own set of problems and plenty of time spent aboard boats of one description or another.

The other characters.  Well, there are others on the periphery, such as Sloan’s ex and her daughter but the other main character is a guy called Solar.  He’s not popular with Sloan’s family, as you may imagine after you discover his evidence put Sloan’s uncle away for years for drug smuggling, but there’s more to him than initially meets the eye, and I liked him and thought the two worked well together.  There’s certainly plenty of potential for further instalments with their newly established UIU – that’s right, a new agency to add to the list of secret units (the Underwater Investigation Unit).

In terms of criticisms.  I can’t really think of anything to be honest,  Like I said above, Mayne has a very over the top style of writing that skirts on the edges of disbelief so if that doesn’t appeal to you be aware.

One thing that I’m beginning to think when picking up anything that Andrew Mayne writes is to expect the unexpected and I hope for more from Sloan in the not so distant future.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above opinion is my own.

Mr rating 4 out of 5 stars