When ninety-five-year-old Daniel Callahan's house is broken into and he is badly beaten, the old man is asked repeatedly about a secret that went down with the SS Tahoe Steamer, the grandest ship ever to sail Lake Tahoe. In 1940 as a legally blind teenager, Daniel witnessed the scuttling of the ship, and this unscrupulous treasure hunter is convinced that he knows something about the rumored treasure resting four hundred feet down in the icy cold water of the lake.
Daniel's friend and tenant, Mae O'Sullivan, is frightened for the old man and enlists the help of private investigator Owen McKenna to see if he can find out what's going on before Daniel can be hurt again or even killed. However, once McKenna begins to investigate, he puts Daniel, Mae, himself, and others in deadly danger. McKenna has to smoke out this treasure hunter and put him behind bars before someone is killed.
Summer isn't summer without a new Owen McKenna mystery, and Tahoe Deep satisfies on so many levels. I always learn something when I read one of Todd Borg's books. This time it was the SS Tahoe Steamer, which was a vital method of transportation for the folks living around Lake Tahoe in the decades before decent roads circled the lake. Not satisfied with that, Borg also gave me information about freediving-- something I didn't realize I did a lot of when I was a kid. I even taught myself many of the proper breathing techniques. (What's freediving? Diving with only the breath you can hold in your lungs. No air tanks allowed.) The fun thing about the information about freediving is that I knew it would figure into the story sooner or later-- and it did. Wow...
Daniel Callahan is a feisty curmudgeon, and it takes all of McKenna's people skills to get the old man to cooperate in saving his own life. Borg has a knack for creating characters that I really come to care for, and Daniel is no exception. For those of you who are already fans of this wonderful series, don't worry. Spot the harlequin Great Dane has his share of the action. (I am so glad that this series takes place in its own dimension of time because huge dogs do not have long life spans. This series would be crippled without Spot.)
Having been a homicide detective in San Francisco for many years, I really appreciate how McKenna has excellent working relationships with area law enforcement. Another thing I love about McKenna? Whenever I think of him, first and foremost I think of his relationship with a brilliant entomologist named Street. Street has her special quirks that most men would not be able to accept. It always warms my heart that McKenna is completely comfortable with accepting women-- especially strong women-- on their own terms. I wish he would teach classes.
Tahoe Deep has a strong mystery, a cast of memorable characters who have become my friends, and fantastic underwater action sequences. Now that I've savored this book, I know that the Summer of 2019 is proceeding exactly the way it should.
Tahoe Deep by Todd Borg
Thriller Press © 2019
Paperback, 352 pages
Private Investigator, #17 Owen McKenna mystery