Saturday, March 19, 2016

Death by Sunken Treasure (A Hayden Kent Mystery #2)

Author:  Kait Carson
Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

Hardcover; Paperback; Ebook
ISBN #:  9781635110043; 9781635110012
Henery Press
256 Pages
$31.95; $15.95; $2.99 Amazon
March 22, 2016
Five Stars

When Hayden Kent's mentor and friend discovers her son Mike's dead body, dressed in full scuba attire, washed up on Pigeon Key, she needs Hayden.  Her paralegal and dive skills may help unravel the tragedy of Mike's last days.  He'd recently discovered a sunken Spanish Galleon and rumors that he hit the mother lode ran through the Keys like wildfire.  Hayden's dive on the treasure site uncovers gold, and clues that Mike's death was something far more sinister than an accident.  When two different wills, both signed the day Mike died, are delivered to the courthouse, the suspect list grows, as do the threats against her.  The danger escalates as she tries to save herself, discover the motive, and find the killer.

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Hayden Kent is a paralegal who works and lives in the Florida Keys, which is perfect for her since she's also an experienced diver and spends her free time exploring the ocean area nearby.  After arriving at work one morning, she has a message from her friend Dana and when she returns the call, it jolts her:  Dana, the woman who cared for Hayden after her parents' deaths, is frantic.  Her son Mike was found on the beach dead - and by Dana no less.  When Hayden arrives at Dana's, the woman is nearly hysterical.  The police believe it was probably a diving accident, but Dana doesn't believe it.  She tells Hayden that Mike, who owned a treasure salvage company, had discovered a wreck at the ocean bottom, and wants Hayden to dive the site - to see the last things that Mike saw, to discover the truth about Mike's death.  When Hayden makes the dive, she discovers the remains of a wreck, and brings back a couple of gold doubloons to prove it.

Later, when Hayden goes to file Mike's new will - a will that leaves everything to his infant son - she discovers that someone else filed a second will on his behalf the same day.  But the other will gives money to Dana and Lisa, his girlfriend and mother of his son, and Lisa becomes trustee of the child's money; plus the operation of the salvage permit for the treasure site goes to Devon Rutherford, Mike's former partner, with a financial split awarded to Devon and Jake Patterson, Devon's stepfather.  It also leaves Mike's bar, The Petard, to Devon and Jake with Mike's son receiving a share of the profits.  She's also not pleased to find Mike's ex-wife  Kristin in town, filing for a part of Mike's estate, and with her is his ex-boss Rupert - whom Mike sued after an accident and received enough money to bankrupt the man.

With the discovery of the new will, Hayden is convinced that it's grounds for murder, and one of these people murdered Mike.  Suddenly Hayden has an entire plethora of suspects, and any one of them could have killed Mike for the financial gain, but which one?

Even though Hayden's friends Mallory and Janice, and her boss Grant try to convince her that she's got it all wrong and Mike did commit suicide, Hayden has a gut feeling that something is wrong about the entire situation and she knows that she needs to dig for the truth - which isn't suicide.  And the deeper she digs, the more questions she asks, she knows she's on the right track when she starts receiving threatening notes telling her to back off.  But if Hayden isn't careful about whom to ask and the questions she chooses, she could find herself the next victim of  an unexpected accident...

In Death by Sunken Treasure Ms. Carson has given us not only a delightful book to read, but a full blown, suspense-filled mystery.  We are drawn into the world of diving the Florida keys and shown what can happen when even an experienced diver becomes distracted; how discovering a sunken treasure can change not only the one who finds it, but anyone else who happens to be in that circle.  Greed can be a powerful motivator, and there is no doubt in this reader's mind that any of the scenarios in this book could have happened if they occurred in real life.  Such is the ability of Ms. Carson's writing.

The plot is riveting, the intrigue palpable, the characters believable; and the tale itself is wound tightly like a coil of wire: pulling at it releases it slowly, but not without twisting and it never comes out easily or without trouble.  Such is Hayden's struggle to find the truth about what really happened to Mike and why.  When I got to the end, I will tell you that (having never said this before) I didn't see it coming.  It truly blindsided me, and it was at the same time sad yet plausible.  Bravo, Ms. Carson for giving us a story worth reading.

This book is the second in the series, the first being Death by Blue Water, although there is enough information given that it can be read as a stand alone.  Highly recommended.



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