The best coastal mystery & adventure novels

Who am I?

I’m an entrepreneur who was born literally within sight of the Intracoastal Waterway in South Florida. Got my first boat (a dinghy) when I was six. I used to drive an airboat on Lake Okeechobee and learned to fly back when I was a teenager. Since then, I’ve flown over a dozen different types of planes and even a helicopter. As a kid, I spent a lot of time in the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, and the Antilles. In my late teens I worked on various private sportfishing boats in Florida, Georgia, and the Bahamas. With this much time spent on, in, under, or around the water, I was destined to write coastal novels. 

I wrote...

Coastal Jury: Coastal Adventure Series Number 9

By Don Rich,

Book cover of Coastal Jury: Coastal Adventure Series Number 9

What is my book about?

Some crime figures consider avoiding indictments to be a deadly serious business, with murder as the best solution to the problem. One recently reformed man is determined to save the lives of his friends as well as the new woman in his life, even though it means exposing his own criminal past. He could end up going to prison, though first, he’ll need to survive. But sometimes people with everything to lose can be more dangerous than those with nothing to lose at all. “Rut” Rutledge is determined to prove it.

The books I picked & why

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Stolen Sommer: Nora Sommer Caribbean Suspense - Book Two

By Nicholas Harvey,

Book cover of Stolen Sommer: Nora Sommer Caribbean Suspense - Book Two

Why this book?

I have a deep and long-standing love of coastal adventure books, and Stolen Sommer is the best I’ve ever read. Yes, that’s a bold statement, but Nick Harvey’s work with this book resonated with me and backs up my choice completely. I even found myself holding my breath at a couple of points. Harvey keeps the reader guessing throughout the story with his carefully crafted characters that seem real enough to step off the pages. While that’s the ultimate goal of every author (at least it should be), few do it as well as Nick Harvey does in this great mystery that’s set in the beautiful Cayman Islands.

The Lonely Silver Rain

By John D. MacDonald,

Book cover of The Lonely Silver Rain

Why this book?

This is the last book in the famed Travis McGee series that MacDonald wrote before his death in 1986. At the time, this was the ultimate coastal adventure series, and it cultivated a lifelong obsession for me in this genre. I wish there had been more installments, but it wasn’t meant to be. Throughout the series MacDonald’s style continually evolved and improved, ending with his having become the dean of all the living coastal writers of the time. If you ask the top-ranked coastal adventure writers of today to list three authors that inspired their work and/or styles, MacDonald will always be at or near the top.

Low Tide

By Dawn Lee McKenna,

Book cover of Low Tide

Why this book?

Dawn Lee was a friend and an inspiration to me. Cancer took her from us way too soon, but she left behind a large legacy of great books that were set on the Gulf coast in the panhandle of Florida. Low Tide is the first book in her Forgotten Coast Florida Suspense series which launched her into the bestseller ranks. If you ask anyone who’s read her what makes her writing so special, they’ll all tell you it’s her uniquely crafted characters. The plots and the twists of her stories are top-notch as well, but the characters are simply amazing.

Deep Focus

By Nick Sullivan,

Book cover of Deep Focus

Why this book?

As a veteran actor of stage and screen, Sullivan is well versed in the art of movie-making. In his best-selling book, Deep Focus, he blends this along with his love of SCUBA diving and the Cayman Islands into a great coastal mystery and suspense read. As he asks in his book description, “Who wouldn’t want to shoot a movie in paradise? What could possibly go wrong?” As it turns out, plenty of things. So, grab a good sipping rum, settle into your favorite reading chair, and prepare to be entertained.

Backwater Channel

By Steven Becker,

Book cover of Backwater Channel

Why this book?

I first started reading Becker with his Mac Travis series (which I also loved), but when he created Kurt Hunter, I was totally hooked. He and I both share a love for the area around Biscayne Bay, which is where he set the Kurt Hunter Mysteries. Hunter is a Park Ranger who patrols and protects the underwater national park in that area. This creates great and unique plot opportunities, of which Becker takes full advantage. Oh, and then there are the rare saltwater crocodiles that make appearances throughout Backwater Channel. Real creatures, unique to the area. Really nasty, too!

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in private investigators, murders, and Florida?

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