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on November 25, 2016
What a strange tale this is. I don't even know where to begin a review. The protagonist uses nothing more than hormones & gut feelings to wander her way through a bizarre, but cliched, mystery, making one bad decision after another, but of course, somehow comes out OK in the end. It's as if everything that unravels towards a resolution does so in spite of her, rather than because of her. Not once does she analyze a problem in order to find a solution. Her main line of thought from beginning to end appears to be "I feel like I really want to sleep with this guy, but I'm not sure if I should." (Repeated for almost every male character in the book.) And amazingly, that thinking eventually solves the mystery. This book is just a complete mess.
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on February 3, 2016
This is a pretty decent beach read. The author definitely knows how to write.

The constant boating jargon was a bit much and pedantic. Seychelles was just annoying. I got it that her father raised her to live in a man's world, but her entanglements were not at all realistic nor the strength and stamina she possessed to deal with them. Along with her independent sleuthing, about which she was threatened numerous times with her life, it got a little far-fetched. The villains were vile and vicious, yet she kept going back for more, setting herself up as a punching bag or a wannabe corpse, undaunted by the syndicate thugs as though they were high school bullies. A thirty year old female single-handedly physically chasing down a crime syndicate? Not too likely. And I would think that, once she found palpable evidence of Neal's "nest" in the Larsen's house, it would be a good time to let the cops take over, not jet-ski in pursuit of a madman in the middle of the night. It was silly. And her overwrought compassion for the young runaways was ridiculous. I realize she was compelled to clear her name in the murders, but we mortals hire lawyers to do that. There's another one - her lawyer. She just bugged me. Maybe because the author forced my image of her as a beached whale in a muumuu. And EVERYTHING that happened underwater at the scene with Neal recovering the money was over-the-top, unless she was the Bionic Woman.

She did very well describing the characters and the area in which she lived. For many reasons, it confirms that I'm glad I wasn't born in Florida.

As with many books I read, its pace was hectic, with characters and sub-characters coming at you from all directions. I found myself with 40 minutes left to read wondering "how will everything be wrapped by the time I finish the book?" Here's the answer, as always: the end was comprised of perky little outcomes for the good guys and jail for the bad guys. It was a little insipid. BJ, who was left bleeding out an hour earlier, becomes part of her rescue team with a big smile on his face and a bandage on his head. Miraculous! She and BJ predictably hooked up, but her lament over Neal's death was silly. Why be anything but relieved that she'd eliminated the sleaze from her life? Her settlement for towing the Top Ten conveniently erased all her problems, including getting rid of her loser brother. It was a tiny bit canned, but a feel-good outcome at the same time and Sunny's life wasn't necessarily ideal as she was tossed in to the foster care system, but a decent finale from where she had been. Bringing up the mother complex and resigning to put it to rest was pretty good, not predictable, and there was no gooey "sailing off into the sunset with her man", just him calling her to dinner and she realizing she finally had her appetite back. It was a quotidian scene and I liked it.

I recommend this book for a fun read.
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on August 4, 2017
I enjoyed reading this book, it's an interesting story - I certainly felt like shaking our tugboat captain to knock some sense into her or kicking her a swift one in the butt - one stupid decision after another but it was her incredibly poor judgement that got her into such dire straits and that added to the tension and drama. I went on to read the next books in the series and now I am on book 4 - I think she's finally cluing in but I haven't finished it yet. I like the characters and the setting and the stories are action packed and perversely I like yelling at my book "You stupid woman!"...I will go on to read more.
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on July 21, 2012
Christine King knows how to tell a story and her books don't disappoint when it comes to plot, pace, mystery and boat knowledge. This is the second King story I have read; the first being Circle of Bones. Bones, was the better crafted as thrillers go, but this was still a good book.

This book (like Bones) is a tip of the hat to girl power. Seychelle Sullivan is the captain of a towing/salvage tug boat which she inherited from her father. Seychelle is a interesting mix of strength and insecurity, knowledge and self doubt, confidence and gullibility. The gullible part of Seyshelle was the part I liked the least...for being a smart, boat savvy woman operating in a man's world of water and salvage work, her fluttering heart over three different men in the book seem a bit unbelievable. The plot hinged on her gullibility, so that seemed somewhat forced at times. I found it puzzling that she could be so instinctive at times and seemingly clueless at others.

Her timely rescue of a megayacht that was about to drift onto the beach (captained by her former boyfriend) finds her embroiled in a murder mystery that includes a dead scantily clad female discovered aboard the yacht, and the presumed death of the yacht's captain who is nowhere to be found.

The story line unfolds rapidly with Seychelle and the center of the firestorm comprised of an aggressive (although stereotypical) detective who thinks she had something to do with the death of her former boyfriend's new young girlfriend, and the bad guys who don't believe the captain is really dead. One of the bad guys is a charming fellow who keeps the story interesting and has Seychelle's libido a little distracted.

At the heart of the drama are some dark themes including strip joints, sexually abused teenagers, and masochistic video porn. While I enjoyed the craftsmanship of the book, I did not enjoy the darkness. My rating reflects more on my uneasiness with the themes of the book than the quality of writing.

Parts of the story and a couple of characters were predictable, but this is one of those fast reads that will keep you entertained on a beach vacation.

If you like boats and can stomach themes that are seedy and shadowy (and sadly, all to prevalent in the world), this book is worth a shot and definitely worth the price.

And don't forget to give Christine King's Circle of Bones a try too.
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on June 8, 2018
I obtained this free e-book from Amazon and I am writing an honest review. Seychelle is a salvage boat captain barely eeking out a living in the coastal waters of Florida. While doing repairs on her boat she hears a MAYDAY call out from a 92 foot super yacht that so happens to be captained by her ex-lover and his girlfriend. She figures she is closer to the distressed call than the Coast Guard and rushes to the site. She is first on the scene and is shocked to find the girlfriend dead with a knife protruding from her body a lot of blood everywhere and no other person on board. That is the start of the downhill slide when people she cares about start popping up dead and the police are looking to pin it all on her.
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on May 14, 2018
This is a thriller for anyone who enjoys salt water, mystery, a plot line that roars like the tide, and a human and likeable protagonist. Deep psychological barnacles are etched in Seychelle's brain and her struggles are believable and haunting. So is her courage. Christine Kling could teach creative writing alongside my friends at Florida State in a stellar department peppered with those who are linguistically gifted and whose prose grabs you, teaches you, and entertains you. This sea tale compels the reader follow the series.

Chick LaPointe,
Author of Blood Ice, Lizard Eyes, and Paul Broca and the Origins of Language in the Brain
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on June 26, 2015
I suppose one of the common elements of suspense fiction is for the main character to do things that have the reader mentally shouting, "DON'T GO THERE!!!" or "DON'T BE STUPID!!!". Kling uses this shtick frustratingly often. Seychelle seems smart enough to avoid most of the dangerous situations she keeps placing herself in. Nonetheless, you keep turning the page to see how she will get out of each scrape she foolishly gets into. So, even though this tool works to keep you absorbed, it becomes a little monotonous. I think Kling is a good enough writer to use a fuller palette of literary hues, if she just would!
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on August 18, 2017
I don't normally read books about the sea, but this book grabbed my attention. I'm glad it did. Seychelle is easy to like, her character was well drawn out. I wouldn't think a tug boat could be run with only one person. What I really liked was that one scene seemlessly led to another. I didn't wonder how we got from one place to another. I really liked the way she endeared herself to Chewy. I wish that the dark world of Crystal was only imagination, but, sadly it is not. With a little help from friends, Seychelle wins the day! :-)
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on May 3, 2012
I have discovered a new to me author, and a whole new series, and I'm well and truly hooked, or gaffed, or netted! For one thing, the premise of this series is unique. I mean, how many lady tug boat captains with black labs do you know? Well, here is one, and with a name as unique as her career, too. But, she is one of those characters that remind us that, usually, ordinary, flawed, sometimes frightened and confused people do extraordinary heroic acts which are driven by innate decency, caring for other people, and a desire to protect the vulnerable and make things right. This is the case in this first book, although the fact that the heroine is threatened on all levels doesn't hurt her decision making process, either. but she can get herself into a whole world of trouble with alarming speed, and I think I spent at least 2/3 of this book with held breath. the plot is excellently developed, and when finished, I could look back and find all the clues that I was reading too fast to take much note of before.

the setting is Florida ...the ocean, the swamps ...and, oh yes, underneath the ocean! In fact, there is one spectacular scene in which a fight to the death is taking place, but there is a sense of other-worldliness about it, and it has a dream like quality that leads one to almost forget the real dangerous and lethal events going on. This is writing at its best! The style is crisp and no nonsense, perfect for the book ...with occasional brief touches of near poetry, a fine descriptive sense, too! Ms. Kling paints with words most beautifully and efficiently. A few word strokes create a vivid picture that blazes in the imagination!

All in all, this is a *very* good read, and I look forward to more, and more, and *more*!
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on April 6, 2015
An enjoyable read, but one dimensional. Not a Lee Child or Michael Connelly. I think if she had expanded the novel with actions of the ex-boyfriend and the bad guys, alternating chapters, with 3 bylines that you know were coming to a final conclusion it would have been a great novel. I like Child and Connelly because I'll read three more chapters because i want to get back to the first sub-story to find out where it was going. Not to say that I wasn't a little late leaving the house a couple of days while I was reading this book. I just think I might have been later if she had multiple story lines running toward the same conclusion. Set three or four hooks and start reeling them in. Basically a good read, I finished it quickly, and I don't finish books I don't like. It kept my attention and there are lots of books out there that I've only read the first two or three chapters. Got to love that ADHD!
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