Professional Audible narrator turned author Nick Sullivan has pulled off completing another new adventure in the “Caribbean Dive Adventure” series called “Deep Cut”. This book is his third available in audiobook format, and I can say I have had the pleasure of reviewing each of them. “Deep Cut” picks up shortly after the event of “Deep Shadow” however this one takes place on a different island from the first book. Each book in the series could be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, but listening to them in order, one gets more out of the whole story. So, if this book sounds exciting, I recommend you pick up “Deep Shadow” and give it a listen first. It is difficult for me to put Mr. Sullivan’s books in a specific genre category as they all have plenty of action, adventure, emotion, mystery, romance and excitement. The author has placed this series in the “suspense” genre and I’m OK with that. If you are one who likes to sink their ears into well-researched, suspenseful, adventure-based tales, I recommend you give “Deep Cut” a listen. If you had previously enjoyed the first book in the series or are a fan of stories involving the sport of SCUBA, I know you will get even more out of this book than those who are not.
This book references a few of the events from the previous one, but as stated earlier, both could be enjoyed as stand-alone stories. In “Deep Cut” we are dropped off on the island of Saba, which is a small Caribbean island to the east of Puerto Rico. However, this new location is not all sand, sun, fun and aquamarine colored water. Not at all. As with any small community, there are tight friendships, few enemies, and way too many tourists. If I were a diver, I would think this would be a pristine location to enjoy the sport of diving. Much of what I liked in the first book continues in this one as well. Boone, one of the book’s main characters, seems to have a “Spidey sense” when it comes to people, places, and events. He is able to quickly detect and determine if events around him seem normal or abnormal. Others around him do not possess this special talent. In the second book, I would say his special talent is elevated even more, and you see that those who know him respect his gift of intuition. I additionally enjoyed the ever-present banter between Emily and Boone, through it, I was able to truly understand and enjoy their relationship. Such poking and joking between them added elements of humor and fun.
Unlike the first book where our main characters battle people in the drug trade and win, this story instead involves a form of what could only be called pure evil (a reference to the movie Time Bandits) coming ashore at the same time a major hurricane is scheduled to impact and devastate this small island; cutting it off from the rest of the world. In their new environment our main characters need to build fresh relationships with the locals, survive the forces of natures, and face one of their most challenging interactions yet. Sorry, no spoilers here. One of the things that stands out for me is the immense amount of research necessary to make a book like this feel and sound believable. Here Mr. Sullivan pulls no punches and it is clear when you listen to the book’s last chapter (afterward), here the author provides some background details and thank you messages to all those involved in making the book what it is. It is clear that a vast number of people along with the author were required to fill in the many nuances that most listeners take for granted while listening. I think this is what I enjoy most about Mr. Sullivan’s books. They seem like a well-planned and organized television series or movie. The scenes are well described, the characters are dimensional, and the interactions between characters are realistic. The story had a flow to it which changes pace as various times of action, but I always felt like it was the same flowing story. I do not recall having to suspend belief at any time while listening. To me, this is a sign of a well-crafted story.
I thought the author’s ability to weave in some island background and lore made the location feel more personal and ominous at the same time. Not only did the island have a much older history of volcanic activity but it also was a key place of pirates and thieving during its history. The book’s characters also had a purpose and drive which continued throughout the story. Even this form of evil that has plagued the island was driven and its actions and motivations felt right.
As many who have read my previous reviews know, I often do not feel the author of a book is a good fit to also be the narrator. Both roles require different skills and I often like when they are performed by separate individuals. Here, Mr. Sullivan is a well-respected and established Audible Narration who has come in to his own as an author. In this case I did not mind that the book was narrated by the author as well. The audiobook’s narration was what one expects from a professional. The audio quality was very good, the characters were all voiced well, even though the female voicing was not my favorite it was passable for being read by a male narrator. I do not recall any audio artifacts such as swallows, page turns, or inconsistent volume while listening. The various accents from British, American, islander, etc. were spot on and memorable. Mr. Sullivan enhances an already good story with exceptional narration.
For parents and younger readers, Mr. Sullivan has done a decent job of limiting both vulgarity and overt sexual subject matter. The book does include some profanity which I believe I could count the times used on my ten fingers. There are some elements containing light romance and innuendos or sexual references mostly when the two main characters were joking with one another. The one element that might make the book less suitable for younger readers is some of the graphic violence portrayed in the book. It is not over the top, but some of the actions of this new enemy are brutal and savage. I recommend this story to be targeted at more mature listeners.
In summary, you do not need to be a fan of diving to like this story. There is plenty of action, mystery, and suspense. Diving is an activity of the author as well as the book’s characters, yet in this book it is really used more as backstory components. The amount of research that went into the book is not always obvious up front, but when you learn about it in the afterwards chapter your eyes will be opened. There is adventure, humor, love, and loss all woven into one great story. I recommend you give it a listen, and when you are done, pick up any other of Mr. Sullivan’s books as you will not be disappointed. The story’s major plot lines are addressed in this book and yet the author leaves a few things hanging (not cliff hangers) allowing the adventure and story of our characters to continue another day.