In a stunning debut novel featuring a resourceful female amateur P.I., Christine Kling establishes herself as a major voice in suspense fiction. Surface Tension depicts a world as deceptive as a Florida land deal, as electrifying as the hottest Miami nightclub, and as dangerous as the tug of an invisible riptide. . . .
Years ago Seychelle Sullivan had the chance to save a person’s life. But on that summer night in Florida, lost in a world of teenage resentment and loneliness, Sychelle was not able to feel any pain but her own. Today Seychelle captains her father’s forty-six-foot salvage boat out of Fort Lauderdale’s New River. She’s seen change sweep through South Florida, and witnessed friends and lovers come and go. But she’s never escaped that one moment when she could have made a difference and didn’t. Now each time she rescues a ship in distress, a little hope is born in her again.
On a steamy Florida morning Seychelle is answering a Mayday call launched from the five-million-dollar Broward yacht called Top Ten. Racing her fiercest competitor for salvage rights, Seychelle has a personal stake in this rescue: Her former lover, Neal Garrett, is the yacht’s hired skipper. But being the first to reach Top Ten will lead Seychelle to a bloody payday. A beautiful woman has been stabbed to death onboard. And Garrett is nowhere to be found.
Even on shore, the pressures are mounting–Seychelle owes money on her boat, and her love life is in shambles. Within twenty-four hours of finding the dead woman and towing Top Ten out of the surf, Sychelle realizes that she has stepped into a lethal business involving some of South Florida’s sleaziest criminals.
While the police treat her as the prime suspect, Seychelle begins to unravel a tangled plot centered on a strip club where “all the girls are tens on top.” Discovering the sordid secrets of the owner of the yacht she rescued and the fate of the man she had once loved, Seychelle is connecting human predators with innocent victims, and a mystery on land with a mystery buried deep beneath the sea. Now, to find out what really happened to Neal Garrett, Seychelle must retrace his last steps, through two murders and a horrific crime wave, to a final confrontation with someone who may want to kill her . . . or be her salvation.
From the Hardcover edition.