First in a four-book series about tug and salvage captain Seychelle Sullivan, Surface Tension leads readers across the sunny waters of Florida's glittering yachting capital Fort Lauderdale and through the dark and dirty streets of her sex industry.
On a steamy Florida morning Seychelle Sullivan is answering a Mayday call launched from the five-million-dollar Broward yacht called Top Ten. Racing her fiercest competitor for salvage rights, Seychelle has a personal stake in this rescue: Her former lover, Neal Garrett, is the yacht’s hired skipper. But being the first to reach Top Ten leads to a bloody payday. A beautiful woman has been stabbed to death onboard. And Garrett is nowhere to be found.
While the police treat her as the prime suspect, Seychelle begins to unravel a tangled plot centered on a strip club where “all the girls are tens on top.” Seychelle is connecting human predators with innocent victims, and a mystery on land with a mystery buried deep beneath the sea. Now, to find out what really happened to Neal Garrett, Seychelle must retrace his last steps, through two murders and a horrific crime wave, to a final confrontation with someone who may want to kill her . . . or be her salvation.
FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
In this strong suspense debut, Seychelle Sullivan owns a salvage tug near Fort Lauderdale, and makes a precarious living piloting luxury yachts and sportfishing boats in the Florida waters. When her radio picks up a distress call from the Top Ten, she hurries to the scene, hoping to net a windfall. The luxurious yacht is skippered by her former lover, Neal, who seems to have abandoned ship and left a dead body behind. Who is the dead girl, where is Neal, why do the police suspect Seychelle, and how much can she hope to recover for salvaging the yacht? When she finds her modest cottage has been searched and her stash of emergency money is missing, she figures Neal must be alive, hiding from the police or from the girl's killer. The Top Ten's representative offers a paltry sum to settle the salvage claim, so Seychelle decides to find out who the real owner is and go to arbitration. As the tension and suspense build, Seychelle's existence becomes increasingly precarious. Kling vividly portrays a characteristic dichotomy of the Sunshine State-native Floridians trying to earn an honest living in an atmosphere where anything and anyone can be tainted by loan sharks, drug money or worse. As a female tugboat captain, Seychelle is one of the genre's more unusual amateur sleuths, and Kling makes her one of its more endearing ones as well.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
–Kling packs her debut with nautical detail, interesting characters, a well-tangled plot, and detailed descriptions of both the natural beauty and rampant tackiness of southern Florida. Recommend to James W. Hall fans and to all who like outdoor adventure along with their murder and mayhem. Carrie Bissey
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