The best mysteries set on a tropical island

Who am I?

Even as a kid, I was intrigued by the underwater world, so as an adult, I learned to scuba dive. I took to it like a fish to water, and my husband and I spent the next several years traveling to tropical islands to experience the local dive conditions whenever possible. I loved learning how every island had a different culture and a different undersea environment. Since I love tropical islands, scuba diving, mysteries, and adventure stories, these books really hit my sweet spot.


I wrote...

In Deep

By Sharon Ward,

Book cover of In Deep

What is my book about?

Underwater, Fin is a supremely competent young woman. On land, not so much. She has problems in every part of her life, from her scheming ex-husband to her career as chief underwater photographer at the oceanographic institute founded by her mother. She's got very few friends and no love life to speak of. But her troubles really escalate the day of the first accident...

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Deep Shadow

Sharon Ward Why did I love this book?

As a long-time diver, I was enthralled by the details of the undersea world. Set on the tropical island of Bonaire, a scuba diver’s paradise, this book introduces the reader to two great characters, divemasters Boone Fischer and Emily Durand. 

The author interweaves Boone and Emily’s budding romance with compelling descriptions of the diving and the sea life they encounter. The way the two divemasters get involved in the search for the drug submarine at the heart of the mystery is plausible. Twists and turns on every page keep the reader guessing about the fate of the sub, its crew, the cruise ship, and most critically, the two highly appealing divemasters who use every skill they have to avert disaster. I was instantly hooked on the series.

By Nick Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Deep Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, something lethal is on the move.

Scuba divers travel from all over the world to visit the little island of Bonaire, with its crystal-clear waters and a host of beautiful marine life. After three years in the “Diver's Paradise”, divemaster Boone Fischer thought he’d seen it all; but on a routine afternoon dive, he spots something that will turn his tranquil life upside down.

From the arid shores of the ABC Islands to the tropical jungles of Venezuela—from the ocean depths of the Southern Caribbean, to the lush islands of the Northern Leewards,…


Book cover of No Virgin Island

Sharon Ward Why did I love this book?

The author sets an intricate murder mystery against the details of life on St. John in the Virgin Islands. Sabrina Salter, the ex-pat protagonist, is a wounded bird seeking solace from her troubled past by trying to start over in the tropics, but trouble—and romance—follow her.

Details about life on the island make it clear that the author spent a lot of time on St. John and loves the island deeply. I didn’t guess who the murderer was until the very end, although the clues were there. I really like Sabrina and her dog, and the hunky Neil is a fitting romantic partner. 

This book had everything I like—friends, lovers, local color, and a juicy murder. I was captivated from page one.

By C. Michele Dorsey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Virgin Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sabrina Salter traded a high-pressure job as a Boston meteorologist for life managing villas on sun-soaked St. John. But storm clouds roll in when Sabrina finds Carter Johnson, her most attractive guest, tucked up in a hammock way past check-out time...and he’s not just dead to the world, he’s just plain dead, with a bullet hole in his chest.

This isn’t the first time Sabrina has seen a dead body, and the island police are well aware of that. Thanks to her checkered history, not to mention the fact that she was the last person who saw Carter alive and…


Book cover of Twelve Mile Bank

Sharon Ward Why did I love this book?

The Cayman Islands are my favorite place in the world, so a mystery featuring a female divemaster on Grand Cayman is right up my alley. AJ Bailey, the protagonist, is a realistic portrayal of a woman in a man’s world. Many books in the tropical islands have female protagonists, but they are often gun-toting, knife-wielding super-models, not realistic women like Harvey’s protagonist. 

The diving details are spot on; the dive site descriptions are accurate; and the thrilling story will keep you turning pages to the very end. A great start to a super series.

By Nicholas Harvey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Twelve Mile Bank as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A mysterious shipwreck. A ruthless treasure hunter. A race against time.

Cayman Islands divemaster AJ Bailey is searching for a long forgotten WWII U-boat at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea. Armed with nothing more than an adventurous spirit and her late grandfather’s tale, she's determined to find the submarine and the secret it protects.

When a wealthy treasure hunter shows up with a ruthless crew, AJ becomes entangled in a frantic duel to find the precious piece of history. Diving into the path of merciless killers at treacherous depths, she must fight to keep her grandfather’s dream - and…


Book cover of Fields' Guide to Dirty Money

Sharon Ward Why did I love this book?

I’m a huge fan of all Julie Mulhern’s lighthearted books, and this one, set on Grand Cayman, is no exception. Poppy Fields, wealthy socialite, fashion icon, and undercover spy, gets dragged into an investigation into money laundering while attending her movie star mother’s destination wedding.

This isn’t the first in the Poppy Field’s series, but it’s one of the best.

By Julie Mulhern,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Fields' Guide to Dirty Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Poppy Fields, social influencer and secret spy, is on Grand Cayman. Her mission? Maid of honor at her mother’s wedding to Russian billionaire Yurgi Prokorhov. No surprise, Chariss Carlton is a difficult and demanding bride.

When Poppy witnesses a murder, her days change from irritating to dangerous. She and her partner Thor (real name Mark Stone—but a dead-ringer for a Norse god) are tasked with catching a killer and shuttering a billion dollar money laundering scheme.

Between bombs, bridal showers, high-speed car chases, a missing wedding planner, and a femme fatale with her eye on Thor, it will be a…


Book cover of The Firm

Sharon Ward Why did I love this book?

The Firm was published in 2010, but it’s still on my list of all-time favorites. The protagonist is an idealistic young law school graduate who gets dragged into shady dealings and money laundering on Grand Cayman when he accepts a lucrative job at a law firm. Almost immediately, he’s contacted by the FBI, who want to turn him into an undercover agent to help them get the goods on the firm. But the firm has made it plain that both Mitch and his young wife will die if there’s so much of a whiff of a double cross.

This novel was made into a movie starring Tom Cruise, but in my opinion, the book is 10,000 times better.

By John Grisham,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Firm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**THE BOOK THAT MADE JOHN GRISHAM A HOUSEHOLD NAME**
Featuring an exclusive introduction from the author.
_______________________________________

He thought it was his dream job. Until it turned into his worst nightmare...

When Mitch McDeere qualified third in his class at Harvard, offers poured in from every law firm in America. Bendini, Lambert and Locke were a small, well-respected firm, but their offer exceeded Mitch's wildest expectations: a fantastic salary, a new home, and the keys to a brand new BMW.

Except for the mysterious deaths of previous lawyers with the firm. And the FBI investigations. And the secret files.

Mitch…


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The Vixen Amber Halloway

By Carol LaHines,

Book cover of The Vixen Amber Halloway

Carol LaHines Author Of Distant Flickers: Stories of Identity & Loss

New book alert!

Who am I?

The anthology form unites diverse voices around a common theme—in the case of Distant Flickers, identity and loss. The stories in the anthology explore intense personal relationships—of mother and child, old lovers, etc. Some of the stories are in the moment and some recounted with the perspective of time, some are fable-like, some formal, and others more colloquial. Reading them the reader is struck by the variety of approaches a writer might take to a subject. The device of the contributor’s notes enables the reader to see the story behind the story and how life informs art—life furnishing the raw material or day residue of the story.  

Carol's book list on themed anthologies

What is my book about?

Ophelia, a professor of Dante, is stricken when she discovers that her husband Andy has been cheating on her with a winsome colleague. What follows is Ophelia’s figurative descent into hell as she obsessively tracks her subjects, performs surveillance in her beat-up Volvo, and moves into the property next door to Amber’s, which has gone into foreclosure.

She spies on the lovers, growing more and more estranged from reality. Andy’s betrayal reawakens the earlier trauma of abandonment by her mother at the age of eight. When Andy and Amber become engaged, Ophelia snaps. The story is a jailhouse confessional, a dark comedy, an oeuvre of women’s rage, a suspenseful revenge fantasy, and a moving portrait of one woman’s psychological breakdown.

The Vixen Amber Halloway

By Carol LaHines,

What is this book about?

Ophelia, a professor of Dante, is stricken when she discovers that her husband Andy has been cheating on her with a winsome colleague. What follows is Ophelia's figurative descent into hell as she obsessively tracks her subjects, performs surveillance in her beat-up Volvo, and moves into the property next door to Amber's, which has gone into foreclosure. She spies on the lovers, growing more and more estranged from reality. Andy's betrayal reawakens the earlier trauma of abandonment by her mother at the age of eight. When Andy and Amber become engaged, Ophelia snaps. The story is a jailhouse confessional, a…


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