Thriller Thursday Audio: Sea Castle by Andrew Mayne
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Series: Book 4 of Underwater Investigation Unit
Publisher: Brilliance Audio (February 21, 2023)
Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
Author Information: Website | Twitter
Narrator: Susannah Jones
Sea Castle is probably the best book and my favorite in the Underwater Investigation Unit series so far, but ironically, it also features the least amount of underwater investigation. That’s right, UIU is taking a break, at least the time being. When the book starts, the unit has disbanded, and Sloan McPherson has been reshuffled to another part of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement when the body of a young woman washes up on shore, and our protagonist is called up to the scene for a consult.
And that’s pretty much all the wetsuit action you’ll see in Sea Castle.
Still, while her new colleagues are ready to rule the case an accident or suicide, Sloan isn’t so sure. There are certain elements that don’t add up, making her suspect that the victim was murdered.
Unfortunately, the only other person who can help her find the killer is Gwen Wylder, a curmudgeonly old detective with a reputation for being difficult to work with, and sure enough, Gwen makes Sloan jump through all sorts of hoops before she would agree to hear her out. Happily, our girl aces all the tests, even making headway on a couple of Gwen’s cold cases, impressing the older woman and setting the two of them on the trail of a crafty serial killer who may have hunted the Florida coast for years without detection.
Author Andrew Mayne is back on form with this fourth installment in a series that I’d been concerned was starting to fizzle out. Truth be told, I wasn’t crazy about the last book, Sea Storm, which I felt was weak on plot and lacked the typical levels of excitement I’d come to expect from the author’s work. To be fair though, Sea Storm also relied heavily into the internal politics of law enforcement and government for its intrigue, and to each their own, but I just wasn’t a fan. I’d much rather my mystery thrillers be about solving cold cases and chasing serial killers, thanks.
And that’s what Sea Castle was all about! I loved everything in this book from its twisted, unpredictable plotline to its dastardly mastermind villain. It didn’t even matter to me that we got hardly any underwater action, though I can see how the lack of it might jar some readers considering it’s the main hook of the series. Characters we’d gotten to know from the first three books, like Scott Hughes or George Solar, were also largely absent, which might be another point against Sea Castle.
For me though, all that was definitely a plus. Taking Sloan away from her comfort zone and the people she worked with gave new life to this series, and allowed someone like Gwen Wylder to come into the picture. Despite her cantankerous ways, I really liked Gwen’s character and her relationship dynamic with Sloan. While their personalities can’t be any more different, the two worked well together, no doubt because they’re both incredibly intelligent and driven. Even if their partnership ends up being a one-off for this book, I really hope this won’t be the last we see of Detective Wylder.
Lastly, everything that makes Sea Castle such an atypical UIU book also means that it can work great as a standalone. If you’re curious about the series and find catching up with the first three books daunting, you may find this one very accommodating to newcomers as a place to jump on board. Speaking as a big fan of Andrew Mayne who reads all his books, I also think this is one of his best in years.
Audiobook Comments: Hats off to Susannah Jones for another wonderful performance as narrator, giving the perfect voice to a strong female lead like Sloan McPherson. I love her work and she never disappoints.
More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of The Girl Beneath the Sea (Book 1)
Review of Black Coral (Book 2)
Review of Sea Storm (Book 3)
I’ve definitely gotten behind with Andrew Mayne. Still haven’t started this series. Very glad to see, though, that you enjoyed a book this much when this far into the series. Really gives me something to look forward to.
This one’s my favorite so far! This series has definitely got legs 🙂
Yes I’ve been thinking of trying this series! I think I first saw it here with Black Coral…
Yep! And it starts with The Girl Beneath the Sea 🙂
You sure had a good week
I love it!