Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Book Review: Drowned Under by Wendall Thomas (Cyd Redondo #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery, lots of fun
Cons: At times a bit too busy
The Bottom Line:
Missing passengers
Send Cyd racing down under
Fast paced and wild ride

Cyd’s Cruising to Find Missing Passengers

I haven’t been able to travel for a couple of years now (stupid adult responsibilities), so I’m anxious to find some mysteries that scratch the itch to travel.  That’s why it was a pleasure to head out again with Cyd Redondo.  She’s a travel agent who is just starting to travel herself, and she’s finding herself in some dangerous waters as she does so.

Drowned Under is her second adventure, but I don’t recommend you start here.  This book includes some major spoilers for the first book.  It has to.  But you’ll want to read the books in order, so go back and pick up Lost Luggage first.  It’s well worth it.

It’s the week before Christmas, and Cyd is dreading the upcoming holiday filled with rumors, whispers, and awkward family moments.  Then Barry Manzoni comes to her for help.  Barry is a childhood friend and Cyd’s ex-husband.  His parents are on an Australian cruise, and they vanished part way through.  Even though they didn’t book with Redondo Travel, Cyd still begins to use her contacts to see what she can learn.  In fact, she uses one of those contacts to get herself booked on the next cruise their ship is taking, which is following the same route.  Okay, so she might be using the trip to avoid Christmas with her family, but she does want to help Barry.

After a whirlwind trip half way around the world, she arrives on the ship only to find a dead body.  The crew want to say it is a tragic accident, but Cyd suspects foul play.  Does this tie into the disappearance of the Manzonis?  Can Cyd trust anyone on board?

Those who have read the first book will know what to expect here, and they won’t be disappointed.  We are off on another wild romp with plenty of surprises and complications that keep Cyd rushing to figure out what is going on and us turning pages.  I do feel the book gets a little frantic at times, but by the end the various plot threads come together into a satisfying conclusion.

Because Cyd is traveling, we really get an entire new cast of characters here, all of whom might or might not be behind the problems Cyd is trying to unravel.  Of course, that adds to the plot, but the characters all come across as real, or at least real for Cyd’s world.

What do I mean by that last comment?  This book has a very strong screwball comedy element.  Between some of the situations that Cyd finds herself in and some of the people she meets, there are plenty of laughs.  Yes, that does mean many of the characters come across as a bit more caricature instead of characters, but they fit perfectly into the book.  And there are definitely more serious moments that ground us enough to take the crimes seriously.  It helps that Cyd, while not immune from the occasional odd ball comment or action, comes across as very real.

The book has a smattering of foul language.  Like the first, there is a very strong sub-plot involving an endangered animal, however, there is no animal cruelty in this one.

Since this book is set in Australia at Christmas, it doesn’t feel like a Christmas book I normally would read.  After all, we’re talking about heat instead of cold and snow.  But I enjoyed the nods to the season that were part of the story.

If you are looking for a fun ride off the coast of Australia, look no further than Drowned Under.  Pick up this book and hold on tight.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

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