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 and that has
law enforcement wondering 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
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.