Book Review: Deadly Currents by Beth Groundwater

Deadly Currents
Beth Groundwater
Midnight Ink, March 8, 2011
ISBN No. 978-0738721620
Trade Paperback

Mandy Tanner is on her second week of serving as a seasonal river ranger on the Arkansas River, a fantastic location for whitewater rafting.   Mandy is still under the supervision of Steve Handley, head river ranger, when both Mandy and Steve realize that Gonzo Gordon, a rafting guide, was in trouble with the three-raft pod he was leading down river.

Steve and Mandy both spring into action in an attempt to rescue the occupants of the rafts.  Mandy manages to reach the woman who had taken a spill but there is still a man who needs to be rescued.   Once Mandy has the woman secure, she moves towards the man who appears to be unresponsive.  Mandy manages to get to get the man somewhat secured and after fighting the current finally made it to shore.  Mandy immediately began CPR but her efforts were useless.  The man was dead.

The deceased is identified as Tom King, a real estate developer in Salida, the town where Mandy lives and her Uncle Bill owns a rafting business.  The first indication was that King’s death was due to a heart attack.   As soon as the news of Tom King’s death gets around town people start cancelling trips booked with her Uncle’s business.  To make matters even worse, King’s widow filed suit against Mandy’s uncle.

When the autopsy revealed that King’s death was due to poison Mandy was relieved and hoped that the news would make customers realize that the death had nothing to do with her Uncle’s business.  Detective Quintana warned Mandy that she should stay out of the murder investigation and keep quiet about the poison.

Rob Juarez, Mandy’s boyfriend, was no stranger to Mandy’s stubborn side and was not at all surprised when Mandy begins to do her own investigation.  Mandy’s questions not only make a number of people mad but also actually puts Mandy’s life in danger.

The scenery around Salida and descriptions of all the activities based on the nearby Arkansas River make for an interesting and exciting read.   Beth Groundwater has introduced a number of interesting characters in Deadly Currents. I hope to meet some of these same characters in future additions to this series.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, February 2011.