Osprey Reef

Victoria McKernan, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $17.95 (250p) ISBN 978-0-88184-635-5
Daughter of a Norwegian sea captain and a woman from Trinidad, exotic and feisty Chicago Nordejoong, the heroine of this mystery debut, is an appealing character. At the novel's promising start, professional diver Chicago and her teenage Haitian assistant are collecting fish on South Florida's Osprey Reef, a former missile site, when they are attacked by a group of unusually aggressive sharks. Fighting their way to the surface, they find that their boat has been set adrift. The two are rescued by Alex Sanders, a seasick Miami cop who is sportfishing with his partner. From here, however, the novel founders, as references to mysterious goings-on at the reef give way to a conventional story of drug-running. While pursuing their mutual attraction, Alex, an undercover federal agent investigating police department corruption, and Chicago find that her brush with the sharks and his investigation are connected, a coincidence that undermines credibility. It's a shame that McKernan centers the story around Alex and drugs instead of on Chicago and her life as a fish collector for aquariums. Chicago, who has sailed everywhere and can curse in a dozen languages, is original. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
Genre: Fiction
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