Flotsam, by Tracy Grogan, is an engaging mystery featuring divemaster Riccarda “Ricky” Yamamoto, who inadvertently finds as much adventure on solid ground as she does in the deep seas.
Ricky, a free spirit, is respected as a diver who leads scuba experiences for tourists visiting Palau, Micronesia. With her Japanese and Swedish descent, she has an interesting family history and an uncommon mix of physical characteristics, being tall with Asian features.
While deep sea diving on a day off, Ricky encounters two separate bodies weighed down with chains and a car axle. Although the police send a dive team to investigate, they find nothing. Ricky returns to the scene, locates the bodies and attaches floating markers so that, on a subsequent dive, they can be recovered.
Soon, a local reporter provides details about their identities, including their suspected organized crime affiliation. Ricky is named as a witness. Concerned for her safety, the FBI places Ricky in protective custody. But she slips out of police protection, dodging thugs and others to investigate the crime on her own.
This fast-paced mystery is rich with tension. From her first immersion into the water to the adventures that follow, Ricky is in action mode. Throughout, Grogan delivers a fully fleshed character: Ricky is a self-deprecating, likeable protagonist with a sharp sense of humor. She’s athletic and intelligent—although readers may disagree with her decision to skip police protection and other dangerous actions. Still, the many unnecessary risks she takes contribute to the page-turning appeal.
The author’s vivid descriptions of the verdant island, life under the sea, a hurricane and its aftermath, and technical details regarding deep sea diving add to the novel’s appeal.
Flotsam is an apt title for the dangers that wash up into Ricky’s life. As she takes them on, one by one, readers will find a suspenseful story with a character they will surely root for.
Also available as an ebook.