YUCATAN DEEP

Tom Morrisey, Author . Zondervan $12.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-310-23959-8

Cave diving is a relatively unusual topic for an evangelical Christian adventure novel, and this debut novel by Morrisey is chock-full of interesting characters and cliff-hanging suspense (not to mention enough brand-name details to satisfy any number of potential corporate sponsors). As members of the media look on, Mike Bryant and his mentor, Pete Wiley, attempt to log record dives in Mexico's Cenote X, the world's deepest known water-filled cave. Expedition Channel commentator Viktor Bellum is among the onlookers, but he has his own sinister reasons for wanting them to fail. Also watching is one of CBA fiction's more original characters, deaf physician Bridget Marceau. Mike and Bridget's lives are about to intersect with that of surfer-turned-missionary Elvis Hastings, making conversion scenes (one occurring underwater!) inevitable. The story leapfrogs through various locations, time periods and points of view, but there are enough common threads to keep the narrative woven together. The author, a certified Full Cave diver, has an affinity for detail that is both an asset and a liability: original descriptions are sometimes overwhelmed by technical information, repetition, clichés and overuse of brand names (including at least six for sunglasses). There are some memorable moments, as when Bridget and Mike have a knock-down, drag-out argument in sign language, but the novel's breast cancer subplot is a tired one. Some readers may also quibble with the author's simplistic take on answered prayer. However, Morrisey's fresh characterizations and flair for suspense should hook adventure readers. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/26/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
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