Review: BLACK DIAMOND, A Wilds of the Bayou Novel, by Susannah Sandlin.
Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon.
Jena Sinclair is an enforcement agent (a/k/a game warden) with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries in Terrebone Parish. She has recently returned to work after recuperating from two gunshot wounds suffered in the line of duty, and she is still learning to cope with the lasting damage done to her body, mind, and emotions.
Coleman Ryan (a/k/a the Hermit) has been living apart from the world, in his isolated home-built shack deep in the bayou swamps, totally off the grid for the past five years. He hunts and fishes and tries to heal from horrors he suffered a long time ago, and he wants nothing to do with other humans.
Everything changes when a man is mutilated and killed by an alligator, and the ensuing investigation leads Jena Sinclair to Cole Ryan’s rustic door. Soon a strange force binds these two together against deadly narcotics traffickers dealing the new drug, Black Diamond, deep in the Louisiana swamps.
Readers will be enthralled with the pursuit of the evil-doers and by this unlikely pair of good guys who wage war against their own scars while working to overcome threats from their environment and avowed enemies.
The action and emotion are nonstop from beginning to end. Settings and characters are well developed and unique, personal relationships are multifaceted and engrossing. Readers will fall in love with the damaged protagonists and will root hard for them to succeed in catching the criminals and finding a way to be together as a couple.
There is some violence, notably a gruesome alligator attack at the beginning, but few profane words and only one modest love scene. If this were a film, it would probably be rated PG or PG-13. Religious faith is treated respectfully. The Cajun-influenced bayou culture is created well and entertainingly.
I rated this novel five stars, and I look forward to reading others in the Wilds of the Bayou series by Susannah Sandlin.
This writer received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest, objective review.