One Final Breath by
Lynn H. Blackburn is the last in the Carrington County, North
Carolina Sheriff's Department Dive Team series. Fans of these
books will enjoy this action-packed, suspenseful, romantic
read, but will also feel a bit melancholy since these characters
will be put out to sea as this nail-biting series ends.
The plot begins with a gunshot. A teenager has been discovered
murdered as he and his friend are swimming near a dock across
the cove. The team, who was having a picnic nearby, jumps
into action, grabs a boat, and rescues the body as well as
another teenager in the lake. Blackburn excels at putting
the reader into the investigation as they feel the depths
of the water.
The heroine, Anissa Bell, captain of the dive team investigators,
has had a problem with Gabe Chavez since before he was on
her team. He worked undercover and would only dive once or
twice a year, not enough in her opinion to stay up to speed
with the rest of the team. Now they must figure out how to
put their issues with each other aside and work to solve this
case. Because of the comradery of the whole team, they have
become friends and start to realize that there is an attraction
between them. Both of them realize that they are fascinated
and frustrated with each other.
As the investigation takes hold, dive team captain Anissa
Bell discovers a link to her past, and suddenly, her life
is in extreme danger as she becomes the killer’s next
target. She wonders if it has anything to do with a cold case
that directly involved her. Anissa grew up with missionary
parents and planned on joining them, after finishing college,
on the Micronesian island of Yap. But she remained stateside,
determined to solve the crime that haunts her, the murder
of her best friend and the disappearance of a three-year-old
child While working both cases Anissa and Gabe must find the
killer before more bodies pile up while attempting to keep
each other safe.
“I wrote Gabe as fun, charismatic, the life of the party,
and does not think he wants to be serious in a relationship.
Gabe is a tease. He was the class clown, but Anissa sees his
deeper side where he is loyal and compassionate. Some of the
humor and sarcasm is a defense mechanism on his part. His
relationship with Leigh is like the little pestering brother.
No one can stay mad at him for long.
On the other hand, Anissa is serious,
confident, and loyal. She comes across as more rigid that
the others. Justice is important to her. She has a cold case,
which is the hallmark of her existence and is something she
cannot let go. Anyone wronged or mistreated will have her
help. I think she is a pragmatic leader who is kind, smart,
and intense. She does have survivor’s guilt because
of the cold case.
Unlike many authors, Blackburn allows the reader to enjoy
all her characters. Throughout the series, she inserts them
into each other’s featured book. Readers enjoy their
comradery, whether they are working together, or just enjoying
each other’s friendship that has become family-like.
Previous characters are revisited from the series, but reading
the earlier books isn't necessary to enjoy this one.
“I have a lot of readers comment on how they like seeing
the friendship grow between the six characters. It was not
something I set up intentionally with this series, but it
is something I will do with the next series. It was a lot
of fun not having to say good-bye to all the characters. What
I do differently is that for the featured characters, I get
in their head. Each character has their voice, but in their
book, I flush them out to give them a unique voice, something
that is sometimes a challenge.”
This story will take readers’ breath away as they hold
it wondering how the suspenseful story will end. People who
enjoy a good mystery sprinkled with romance should read this