What a fabulous debut novel! This was a beautiful, mysterious, and thrilling ride. A.K. Smith expertly wove this story together, dropping little morsels of secrets and past moments shared with Tim that I savored while wondering if it was a clue to the mystery surrounding this special dive trip. She laid an intricate web of intrigue that kept me guessing who to trust and what was to be discovered till the very moments all was revealed in the final chapters.
I was immediately drawn into the lives of the characters. The pain of loss hit me hard from the start. My heart hurt for Kendall and Ryder who continued to struggle with their loss all these months later, never fully letting go of their pain until the truth was revealed. I loved how real everyone was. Kendall struggled with opening herself back up to the world. Ryder was an angry teenager fighting against a relationship with Kendall. It was clear from the start he resented her relationship with his father and the distance it caused in their own relationship, so why would he want to have anything to do with her now that Tim was gone? I also liked the secondary players – Scout, Steve, Conrad, and Andrew. Throughout the story, it was clear everyone had their own agenda, but the question was whether they wanted to help or hurt Kendall in discovering the truth behind Tim’s deception and death.
It’s been a while since I’ve read something filled with government conspiracies, fantastical beliefs, and deception from those closest to you. As the author alluded to in the book, it was like reading an Indiana Jones adventure. While we got closer on the puzzle Kendall was trying to solve, there was still a question as to what would happen down the road. And in the end, I was left wondering what Ryder’s intentions were. Was he as fame and money hungry as his mother and the rest of the vultures they were fighting against, or did he want to find a way to identify those who wanted to fulfill the mission his father put him on?