Beneath The Surface – Lynn H. Blackburn – Dive Team Investigations #1 – Revell – Published 6 March 2018
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 am always on the lookout for new and exciting inspirational suspense novels, and Beneath The Surface did not disappoint. Lynn Blackburn delivers a novel that balances action with fantastic interpersonal interactions, careful criminal investigation with plenty of tension, and a light-hearted joy despite the depravity of the crimes. Beneath The Surface was a very enjoyable novel to read and with it Lynn H. Blackburn earns her way onto my list of favourite romantic suspense authors.
Leigh Weston has returned to her hometown, eager to escape the memories of a patient who turned stalker. But what was supposed to bring peace and security only brings more chaos when the local dive team investigation unit discovers a dead body in the water just off Leigh’s lakeside home. Homicide Investigator Ryan Parker didn’t enjoy discovering a body on one of his team’s routine training sessions, but he is glad for the excuse to spend more time with his childhood crush (and his best-friend’s sister), Leigh. But the case becomes personal when Leigh finds herself targeted by a dangerous killer.
The thing I loved most about Beneath The Surface was the way it mixes intense suspense and investigation with lighthearted banter between friends and the growing relationship between Ryan and Leigh. While some romantic suspense novels seem to focus solely on the investigation details and other stretch believability for the sake of romance, Lynn Blackburn gets the balance just right. As the events unfolded, I felt like I really had time to get to know the characters. From Ryan’s teammates to Leigh’s colleagues at the hospital, all the characters were richly detailed and add multiple layers to this story. I particularly enjoyed hanging with the dive investigation team. Their camaraderie shines through the small squabbles, idea-sharing sessions, and the way in which they have each other’s backs. I look forward to continuing the series with this team, watching as other members fall in love and catch some bad guys.
The mystery in Beneath The Surface was compelling and kept me guessing. I thought I caught some of the clues but even towards the end I was still making wild conclusions trying to figure it out. I really loved the ending, loved Leigh’s strength and determination, loved how the team pull together. There is a constant spread of action throughout the book, but the story still incorporates long periods of data crunching and waiting, which feel more realistic of true crimes.
The romance between Ryan and Leigh really is terribly sweet and very swoony. Based on a childhood friendship, Ryan and Leigh’s relationship never felt rushed or contrived, but genuine and totally natural. They have some amazing chemistry and watching them fall in love and finally share those feelings was awesome.
Beneath The Surface was an exciting novel. I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy compelling suspense and beautiful romance, as well as a nice balance of friendship, criminal investigation details, and faith. I can’t wait to read book two in what promises to be an amazing series.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Genre: Christian suspense.
Themes: Crime, detective, murder, friendship, family, nursing, hospitals, police, serial killers, stalkers, diving.
Published: 6 March 2018 by Revell.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook. 352 pages.