UNDERTOW
by Dixie Browning

July 2003
ISBN: 0-373-21831-1
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Mass Market Paperback
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Recently divorced and still smarting from the last beating her ex-husband bestowed as a parting gift, Mariah Henry returns to the family owned Henry Island to hold a memorial service for her father, Edgar Henry. She hasn’t decided what to do with his ashes, yet and is waiting for a sense of home or family to help her decide. Unfortunately, this does not happen as her family seems to dislike her and has no intention of including her in their lives or their future plans for the island. They just want her to give up her rights to the property, her father’s portion. Further complicating matters, it appears her cottage has been rented out by her father prior to his death and the occupant refuses to leave.


Gray Hollowell is a private detective that seems to especially enjoy cold cases, cases where every clue seems to have run out and the crime was a long time ago. Which is why he eagerly accepts Edgar Henry’s offer to live in the cottage on Henry Island as payment for investigating the death of his wife, Roxie, Mariah’s mother. When he meets Mariah an interesting attraction sparks. Soon though, it appears someone is out to get her, and it goes beyond a simple scare tactic.


There are actually two things going on in ndertow at the same time. While Gray is investigating the past and trying to determine whether it was an accident or intentional that Roxie’s boat exploded, someone is currently sabotaging Mariah. Are the two crimes tied into one another? Though, her relatives dislike her, would they actually try to kill her? What motives would they have?


Mariah and Gray are easy characters to like. They are smart and able to draw on their mental strengths to get through danger. There are several secondary characters, though my personal favorite was Orestes, the lonely fisherman living on the island. He stays in the background for the story and yet, he is a key element. I enjoyed reading Undertow and recommend it as a great romantic mystery. There wasn’t enough edge of the seat drama, to actually say suspense, but it was a great mystery and the twists at the end will certainly surprise the reader. Undertow is the perfect compliment for a nice fall night on the swing.


Reviewed in September 2003 by Katy.

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