Author Lee Mims is a fellow North Carolinian. I always enjoy reading books by local authors set in areas I’ve visited myself, Holding a degree in geology and having worked in the field brings gravitas to her character Cleo Cooper, a geologist working on a natural gas project off the coast of our state. She’s sunk her life savings into the deal and hopes for a big payoff.
But in this mystery, something else is going on as well.
Cleo is attacked late one night on board the drillship, a large hairy man attempting to rip her clothes off. Head knocked, she loses consciousness, only to come to asleep in her bunk, clothes arranged neatly, and no sexual assault on her person. And no one seems to know anything untoward happened to her.
When a body turns up floating downwards from the ship, the police show up asking questions. Cleo, while not getting a good look at her attacker, it was pitch black, is pretty sure he’s the one. She can’t explain and the cops keep att it, especially when it’s learned the man’s head was fractured.
That sets Cleo to wondering exactly what happened. Her ex-husband was on board. Their relationship is friendly and she wonders if he’d saved her. Had another?
The Viktor of the title is a young Russian, twelve years her junior, who she first met in the Gulf of Mexico when he saved her life while diving among drill rigs and in danger of drowning when caught up in wreckage.
They become brief lovers, then when he shows up replacing the dead man off North Carolina, she gets her hackles up. Friendly enough, almost like a puppy dog, she fends more advances off.
And one more mystery.
A fabulous treasure that someone seems ready to kill for. Cleo keeps doggedly pursuing each clue she uncovers.
I like the author’s writing style. Smooth and clean, she keeps a nice pacing on her tale, no dull stretches, as she moves toward the conclusion. Second in the series, I definitely have the first on my reading radar. Can be ordered HERE.