Deep by Lynn Blackburn blends
romance, suspense, and a riveting subject matter, labor human
trafficking. The first book of the series was good but this
book is excellent.
Blackburn noted, “When people hear about this subject
matter they think about sex trafficking. I did not realize
that labor trafficking also exists. A lot of people that have
to endure this have either entered the country legally or
thought they entered legally, doing it the right way. Many
times, they had their papers taken, threatened physically,
or had their families threated physically. There is the underlying
fear of law enforcement since they usually do not speak the
language and have a hard time communicating. It is a horribly
abusive system. Restaurants and hotels, many in the hospitality
industry, are able to “hire” these people without
The novel begins with a partially submerged car that drives
off a bridge, killing the woman occupant, where readers might
think of Chappaquiddick. After recovering the body, the Carrington
North Carolina dive team finds an encrypted laptop, and an
unsettling connection with investigator Adam Campbell concerning
a message written on the woman’s tummy in permanent
marker. They enlist Dr. Sabrina Fleming, a professor at the
local university with unparalleled computer security and forensics
skills, to recover the files from the laptop.
“I wrote her as brilliant, cautious, and leery with
trust issues. She is also resilient, analytical, and blunt.
I think she acts like Bones from the TV series because she
is not materialistic and can by nerdy, always focused on her
work. Her looks were based on a few pictures I saw of Evangeline
Lilly, one with her hair messed up in a bun, and the other
beautiful in a drop-dead gown.”
Through their investigation it is found that human traffickers
are threatening people, forcing them to become employees with
slave labor wages. The way the author tackled this tough question
was done very well and extremely informative.
“With this genre, when tackling a heavy subject like
trafficking, there is only so much I can write about because
I also need to put in the romance and suspense. This was some
of the hardest writing I have ever done. Those of us that
live a comfortable suburban life tend to think it would never
happen here, but somewhere else. It is not happening in a
faraway place, but in our communities.”
As intense as the human trafficker subject issue is, Blackburn
does a great job with the dialogue and banter between the
characters The series does not delegate the previous book’s
main characters, Leigh and Ryan, to a cameo appearance, but
gives them a prominent role in this book. All the characters’
interaction has the reader feel as if they were also a part
of the sarcastic conversation. This camaraderie brings the
story and the personalities to life.
The relationship between Adam and Sabrina is also intense.
It develops slowly, since she is clueless when it comes to
reading his social signals. Although brilliant, she has a
hard time determining people’s body language and verbal
“It was fun to explore the relationship between Adam
and Sabrina. She analyzes it too much. When she grew up she
was wealthy, but now lives an astute life with very few possessions.
Yet, she has fallen for the wealthiest guy in town. She considers
money a negative. But now she has to take a leap of faith
and hopes to get her heart to override her brain. Adam sees
in herself what she cannot. He is a protector, peacemaker,
loyal, and family minded. He is not a daredevil like Ryan.
I projected myself in the scene where his mom comes home and
rushes to him.”
The story has a lot of suspense, family drama, and romance.
Although each book revolves around four members of an investigative
dive team, plus a computer expert, and a nurse, readers will
enjoy that each gets their share of page time with the concentration
on a different hero and heroine.