“Beneath The Surface” by Lynn H. Blackburn has both suspense and romance, although it has more of an emphasis on the relationship between the two main characters, Leigh Weston and Ryan Parker.
It is interesting how she weaves everything in the plot around the Dive Team, including relationships between the team members, the victim, and the outside experts. The sarcastic banter between the characters allows for a humorous interlude.
Because she wants to emphasize the character interaction, she noted, “When we pitched the series my editors asked how much of this is going to be underwater, because it is difficult to develop relationships there. Any law enforcement dive team knows the dive is very intense, mainly because of the horrible conditions. I want readers to understand I am writing about the team, not necessarily the dive. The unifying factor for the story is that they are all on this dive team. Besides, I wanted to make this realistic. Most of the time they cannot see anything underwater. It is like someone driving in a fog. I talked to a professional who said ‘you cannot see anything and must feel around since it is so very dark.’”
There are actually two mysteries to the story, dismembered bodies found at the bottom of the lake by the dive team, and someone stalking Leigh with the intent of doing bodily harm. They come together when Ryan and his colleagues ask Leigh if they can use her boat deck as they work the investigation. Soon after, Leigh’s life is threatened having law enforcement wonder about a possible connection. Ryan knows his team must solve the murder case quickly, especially when Leigh may be the next target on the list.
Sprinkled throughout the story are images of the Carolina community that includes their culture. “I wanted to show how Leigh connects to her mom through cooking. After all, Carolina girls love to cook. In the South, we cook for the people we love. No one gets together without having lots of food around. Through her baking and cooking, she is able to initially get close to people. If she likes you she will try to feed you. One of her love languages is cooking and baking cookies. I actually developed a little recipe book for my newsletters’ subscribers, a dive team recipe book.”
This first in the series will leave readers wanting for more. Fortunately, the next book will be coming out at the end of this year, but it is also unfortunate that people will have to wait months for the next installment.