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Wrecker's Key: A Novel of Suspense    by Christine Kling order for
Wrecker's Key
by Christine Kling
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

In the southern constellation of mystery writers - particularly those setting their novels in the semi-tropical splendors and sensational sins of south Florida - there are a number of well-established masters: Randy Wayne White, Tim Dorsey, James W. Hall, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, John Lutz, Carl Hiassen, and John D. MacDonald, the most brilliant star among Florida mystery writers.

Now, with her fourth novel Wreckers' Key on the market, Christine Kling stands poised to join the ranks of her lustrous predecessors as one of the best writers of mystery novels set in the Sunshine State. Dynamic and colorful, entertaining and exciting, Wreckers' Key certainly holds its own within the constellation of other superb Florida mysteries.

When Wreckers' Key opens, the beautiful but romantically and emotionally vulnerable Seychelle Sullivan has gone south from Fort Lauderdale to Key West on Gorda, her 46' aluminum tugboat. Coming to the aid of her old friend Nestor Frias, Seychelle finds herself involved in a seemingly straightforward salvage operation that is, however, complicated by Nestor's suspicions. Millionaire Ted Berger's luxury yacht Power Play inexplicably went aground with Nestor at the helm; now, in spite of meddlesome interference from Berger and unsettling and devious complications coming from a rival salvage operator Neville Pinder, Seychelle is determined to move the damaged yacht (as ordered by Berger) and even more determined to help Nestor sort out his suspicions and find out whether or not someone intentionally scuttled the yacht and sabotaged his reputation.

Quickly, in spite of her resourcefulness and determination in the rapidly changing business environment of salvage operations, Seychelle finds herself entrapped in a raging southern tempest of deceit and death. First, someone near and dear to Seychelle is found to have apparently drowned in a windsurfing accident; the victim's wife, however, and Seychelle remain convinced - even if the police remain skeptical - that the death was not an accident but was in fact a murder. Meanwhile, with a growing list of people she had loved and lost (for one reason or another), and with an even more complicated (and longer) list of people she may or may not be able to trust (including old and new friends), Seychelle remains determined to clear Nestor's name and find out what happened to Berger's million-dollar yacht. Unfortunately danger and murder continue to threaten on the horizon, and Seychelle may or may not survive her most dangerous adventure.

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