Book Review: The Girl Beneath the Sea by Andrew Mayne

The Girl Beneath the Sea by Andrew Mayne is the first book in the new Underwater Investigation Unit series, where diver and officer Sloan McPherson encounters a dead body on a personal dive that leads to the discovery of a dangerous ring of crime and corruption. 

Following the success of both The Naturalist and the Jessica Blackwood series, author Andrew Mayne brings us something completely different in The Girl Beneath the Sea. Set in South Florida, the story follows diver Sloan McPherson, who grew up in a family of pirates and treasure hunters but lends her diving skills to the Lauderdale Shores Police Department.

Sloan was taught an important mantra from her father: Never dive alone. Fortunately for us, she breaks this promise on the very first page of the novel. Sloan is diving in a canal that she refers to as “underwater Jurassic Park,” due to the growing population of invasive crocodiles and giant pythons, when she is treated to a very unlikely underwater find: a dead body. The most terrifying thing is that the body was dumped while she was underwater.

The area is soon swarming with police. Two surprising elements arise when it’s discovered that Sloan knows the identity of the victim and her driver’s license is found missing from her parked vehicle. But what disturbs her the most is the presence of George Solar, the detective who put her uncle Karl away for smuggling. Solar is not a popular name within her family.

Sloan wants to take the case, but it is much bigger than her small P.D. can handle. Plus, Sloan’s identity is known by the perpetrators, which leads to her houseboat being vandalized as well as her suspension from the Lauderdale Shores P.D. This does not stop her from continuing to search, however, especially now that things are personal.

The problem is that no matter which way she turns, she continues to run into George Solar. When she finally has a sit-down with him, he lets her in on the big picture and why he came out of retirement to work this case. Everything comes down to the drug trade and the CIA’s attempts to control it. K-Group was the name of a huge illegal trader, and one of their money launderers got taken down by the Feds. Unfortunately, no one has been able to turn up a ton of missing money and other records—and it is more than enough to kill over.

So the unlikeliest pair of Sloan and Solar team up to dig into this case together, even getting authority from the governor. But they have no idea how deep this case goes. When they eventually uncover a secret black-ops site, they may as well have painted targets on their back. The Girl Beneath the Sea continuously dives deeper and deeper until you no longer know whom Sloan can trust. This is a terrific entry in a new and unique series, and I hope to spend more quality time with the self-proclaimed “pirate cop,” Sloan McPherson.

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