‘Night Diver’ is a blend of romance and mystery

By Lezlie Patterson / McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Published Apr 13, 2014 at 12:01AM

“Night Diver” by Elizabeth Lowell (William Morrow, $26.99)

Elizabeth Lowell’s characters are often snide, cynical and sarcastic, and she did not deviate from this form in “Night Diver.” But in this case, it adds a bit to the charm and chemistry between Holden and Kate.

Another quirk of Lowell’s is totally submersing readers into whichever subject she has chosen to research for her latest book. Thankfully, she has stepped away from that with her last couple of books, which makes them so much more pleasurable to read.

In “Night Diver,” Lowell does an admirable job of blending a mystery with a modern-day romance.

Kate fled her Caribbean home and her family’s nautical salvaging (treasure hunting) business many years ago. A frantic call from her brother begging her to return to help them save the struggling business has Kate very reluctantly going home.

Once she’s there, she realizes all her memories aren’t bad. And the man sent to essentially put her family out of business isn’t all bad either.

Holden has been sent by a British government agency to discover if Kate’s family is inept, or if they are stealing recovered treasure. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take Kate long to ally herself with Holden. Not as surprisingly, it doesn’t take Holden long to realize Kate is innocent of anything nefarious going on.

It takes even less time for the both of them to recognize the fierce attraction that pulsates between them. Not much longer to act on that attraction.

While Lowell does refrain from smothering readers with too much detail, there is a lot of information about diving in the story. Most of it is rather necessary. Doesn’t make it less tedious, but at least it’s not too much and it doesn’t overshadow the romance and suspense that hooks a reader almost immediately.