Mar 24, 2013

Book Review: Undercurrents by Pamela Beason

The Sunday Welcome to the Sunday Salon!

Scary picture, isn't it? Scary for divers but more so for the sharks, targeted by illegal poachers for its fins and then thrown back into the ocean to be prey for other sharks and sea creatures. That's the premise for the mystery novel, Undercurrents by Pamela Beason, third in the Summer Westin mystery series.

Summer or "Sam" is a wildlife biologist and freelance writer, hired to write reports for an online publication, Out There, during a week-long trip to the Galapagos Islands, a World Heritage Center off the coast of Ecuador.

Sam is to do her reporting as two different personas, an underwater diver to trail Dr. Daniel Kazaki, the biologist doing a marine life survey, and as hiker Wildlife Westin, a reporter giving readers a view of the islands themselves.
"So, a post every day about the islands by Wilderness Westin, expert hiker and kayaker," Wyatt prompted.
"No problem...."
"And another by a new character that we'll create for the underwater adventures. You are a diver, right?"
(p. 5)
Daniel hires a senior park naturalist, an Ecuadorian named Eduardo Duarte, to take them out on a small boat or panga every day.  And they are guests on a small cruise ship that will be their home base in between dives.

But things start to go wrong from day one. Daniel almost dies underwater as his oxygen tanks were contaminated with carbon monoxide. The native fishermen are hostile to the idea that Daniel's marine research will mean that they won't be able to fish as much as they like. Daniel and Sam find the bodies of finless sharks underwater, sharks whose fins had been removed and their blooded bodies thrown back into the deep. The count of sea cucumbers was way down. All this was evidence that local fishermen were supplying the Asian market with delicacies taken from these waters.

Sam and Daniel's lives are in danger. The mystery is intense as we follow Sam underwater and on land. The ending and wrap up was a little bit too neat for me, but I wholeheartedly recommend this book for those mystery readers who would also like a great setting - the Galapagos Islands, both underwater and on land. I learned a lot about scuba diving, its delights and its dangers.

Title: Undercurrents: A Sam Westin Mystery by Pamela Beason
Release date: April 2, 2013; Berkley
Source: review copy from publisher
Objective rating: 4.5/5


Brian Joseph said...

Sounds like a fun book.

It is also good that it highlights the threat that people pose to sharks as a species. Have you ever read anything by Peter Benchley Harvee? His novels covered similar plots and themes.

Harvee said...

I haven't read Benchley, Brian, but will look him up. Thanks for the tip!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I probably need a good adventure story, since my excitement comes from mysteries.

And I love family drama. I don't know why I don't pick up more novels about adventures and danger? Hmmm.

Thanks for sharing...and here's MY SUNDAY SALON POST

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This one sounds quite good!

Hope you've been enjoying your weekend.

Mason Canyon said...

This is a fun series. I'm looking forward to reading this. Enjoyed your review of it.

Thoughts in Progress

Staci said...

Great rating...sounds like you really enjoyed it. I didn't know that poachers did that to sharks. How terrible is that???

Suko said...

I know next to nothing about scuba diving. This book sounds like a great way to learn about it. Thanks for a terrific review!

The Bookworm said...

This sounds like a fun mystery and I like the setting.

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

  Klara and the Sun   by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of such magnitude and celebrity, I found...