Diamond Shoals by J.H. Roberts

Diamond Shoals

KIRKUS REVIEW

A mysterious death in Pennsylvania leads to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, U-boats and hidden treasure.

When John Durchick’s elderly neighbor Harry dies, the police and the FBI say it was suicide; John knows it was murder. And why is the FBI involved at all? A hidden map leads John and Pamela, Harry’s niece, from Pennsylvania to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where Harry had long ago buried a fortune in diamonds. But the FBI follows them there. As a Category 3 hurricane bears down on them, the deaths mount, and the truth about Harry begins to emerge. Flashbacks to Cartagena, Colombia, during World War II tell the other side of the drama, featuring a long-hidden Nazi secret. This isn’t just about diamonds. A U-boat–obsessed scuba diver named Chrissy holds part of the answer. Splendidly researched, this novel hooks readers from the beginning and doesn’t let go, submerging them in a world of scuba diving and submarine warfare. Who is what they seem? Not Harry, whose past is dredged up from the depths long before the treasure; not Pamela, who carries a Beretta in her backpack; not even FBI agent Collins, whose black Caprice appears too often at murder scenes. The plot briskly rolls toward the finish, and the suspense never lags. Roberts punctuates scenes with knowing details about the mechanics of cars, the construction of ships, scuba diving and the history of U-boat attacks against the U.S. There are some missteps, however. A few crucial plot turns are unrealistically convenient, and the bad guys seem to know too much too easily. And though the mystery related to the bad guys’ identities fuels the suspense, the relationships among them are still not adequately explained by book’s end. Nailing those connections down would improve the story considerably. With the current ambiguity, what should be the climactic scene ends on a thin, rather flat note.

A taut, evocative thriller that needs a few screws tightened.

Pub Date: May 17th, 2013
Page count: 244pp
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Program: Kirkus Indie
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