Sloan McPherson and the Underwater Investigation Unit have discovered a van at the bottom of a murky Florida pond. Sealed inside the watery tomb are the bodies of four teenagers who disappeared thirty years ago after leaving a rock concert. To authorities, it looks like a tragic accident. To Sloan, it looks like murder. Every piece of evidence is starting to connect to a string of cold case vanishings throughout Florida. Clue by clue, Sloan navigates the warm, dark waters where natural predators feed, knowing that the most dangerous one is still above the surface—nesting and dormant.
But when a fresh young kill is found in the Everglades, Sloan fears that her investigation has reawakened a monster. How can she catch someone who’s a genius at hiding in plain sight? By acting as prey. The dangerous gambit is working—only too well. She’s being lured into a deception of the madman’s own design. Has Sloan set a trap for a serial killer? Or has he set one for her?
Goodreads’ Rating: ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️
Black Coral by Andrew Mayne pulled me in immediately and would not let me go as this story, with both human and animal predators, barreled to its shocking conclusion.
What I Loved
I loved the non-stop thrills, chills, and plenty of spills. The story never winds down, not even for a second, as it moves from underwater to land.
I did not even have time to breathe between scenes as I quickly advanced the pages in a focused frenzy to find out what happens next. Even in the thriller genre, it is not that common to find a book that I cannot put down.
I found Sloan McPherson such a fascinating character with her intricate and intriguing back story and her firm, independent personality. She is the daughter and granddaughter of treasure hunters – modern-day pirate types. Sloan is working on her doctorate in Archeology while working full time for a newly created division of law enforcement, the Underwater Investigation Unit, and raising her 12-year-old daughter, which she had as an older teen. And she co-parents with her rich non-committed boyfriend, Run, who would like to have a more stable relationship with her but has learned not to push. I just marveled at her back story and am almost in awe of the possibilities.
I found the motherhood issues brought up during the story to provide a bit of relatable realism.
Sloan is always questioning her and Run’s choices regarding their daughter and worrying about whether they have made the right ones. As every mother grows to learn, though, there are no right choices – you must do the best job with what you are given and hope that you have instilled enough inner strength that they will be able to make the right decisions for themselves. Sloan is starting to realize this, which gives her an aspect that is relatable to mothers and fathers everywhere.
I learned more about alligators than I had ever known or thought to look up. I already knew some things because I live and vacation in the Southeast United States, but I learned so much more than just the normal “how to be safe around alligators” information. When Sloan dives in alligator-infested waters, not once but multiple times, and enters an alligator den, I sat on the edge of my seat while gaining an unexpected closer look at the life and habits of the deadly creature.
To Read or Not to Read
This book has so much uniqueness to offer to lovers of mystery thrillers, from a unique law enforcement department to both human and animal predators to contend with, that I cannot recommend it enough and sing its’ praises loud enough. Black Coral by Andrew Mayne is a must-read!