DEADLY DEPTHS by John F Dobbyn
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller (Clean with mild language)
PUBLISHER: Oceanview Publishing
RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2023
A notable archaeologist, close to finding a priceless artifact, meets his untimely demise—Matthew Shane vows to find his murderer
Matthew Shane is a law professor in Salem, Massachusetts, where he enjoys a rewarding mentorship with Professor Barrington Holmes, a well-known archaeologist. So when Professor Holmes is found dead in his office and the police rule it a suicide, something doesn’t sit right with Matthew. He becomes determined to find the true cause of Holmes’ death and bring closure to his widow.
Matthew soon learns that Professor Holmes belonged to a group of notable archaeologists dubbed “The Monkey’s Paw,” who were all entangled in an expedition to find an unknown object of unprecedented historical and financial value. Each member had been given one piece of the instructions to find the object, but some of the men had encountered horrific twists of fate before the group could reunite to continue in their search. Joining forces with the remaining members, Matthew’s quest for the cause of the apparent curse of The Monkey’s Paw leads him on a global wild goose chase that culminates in a turn of events not even Professor Holmes could have predicted.
Perfect for fans of Michael Crichton and Dan Brown
Praise for Deadly Depths:
“Deadly Depths gives readers characters they care about and gets hearts pumping as the mystery and adventure unfold!”
~ Janet Hutchings, Editor, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
“Deadly Depths is an exciting mystery novel that asks who has the right to seek and exploit lost treasures.”
~ Foreword Reviews
Confession: Deadly Depths is not my typically-preferred type of suspense novel. I usually leave the Indiana-Jones-esque adventure reads to my husband who does love them. However, Dobbyn’s latest drew me in with three simple words from the book description – “The Monkey’s Paw”. My grandfather nurtured in me a love of short stories in the vein of O’Henry and Poe, and one such story that I devoured in high school was The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs. I won’t go into detail here, but look it up if you’ve never read it – it’s a fascinating exploration of ‘be careful what you wish for’. Anyway, after seeing that the group of archaeologists in Deadly Depths gave themselves that title, I had to see what connection, if any, Jacobs’ short story had to this novel. I am delighted to report that the parallels in theme combined with each story’s own distinct flair made the basis of my initial interest well-warranted. This is definitely not a rewrite of Jacobs’ classic but in many ways it IS an homage.
Five men form a secret coalition of sorts after a mysterious poker game. Now some have met a fate that makes rumors of an ancient curse seem more likely by the minute. And in the middle of it all – and trying desperately to get up to speed on the whole situation – stands Matthew Shane, former military intelligence and current law professor. He is on a personal mission to uncover the truth behind the mysterious deaths, an even more mysterious legend, and perhaps the biggest mystery of all – who is pulling the strings. His quest takes him to exotic destinations, though he certainly can’t relax enough to take in the sights nor can he shake the feeling that his every move is being watched. I really liked Matthew – he seems to be a man of integrity and I’m always rooting for characters like that! Kwame was another favorite of mine, as well as two secretive characters that end up playing an important role in Matthew’s present and his future.
Bottom Line: Deadly Depths by John F. Dobbyn is a high-stakes race against unseen forces (maybe human, maybe supernatural – that’s part of the mystery) to unearth secrets and maybe great treasure on an archaeological adventure that Harrison Ford would easily get behind. It’s well-plotted with layered characters and explores intriguing questions of exploitation and greed. Some of the historical explanations and the diary entries made the book lag in places, in my opinion, but overall I couldn’t put it down. I had to know how it would all play out, and I would definitely read a book with these characters again. This book will definitely appeal to fans of Indiana Jones, Dan Brown, Edgar Allan Poe, and The Monkey’s Paw.
Reviewer’s Note: Readers of my blog may want to be aware that there is a moderate amount of mild cursing throughout this book.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / enjoyed it!
Following graduation from Boston Latin School and Harvard College with a major in Latin and Linguistics, three years on active duty as fighter intercept director in the United States Air Force, graduation from Boston College Law School, three years of practice in civil and criminal trial work, and graduation from Harvard Law School with a Master of Laws degree, John F. Dobbyn began a career as a Professor of Law at Villanova Law School. Twenty-five years ago he began writing mystery/thriller fiction. He has so far had twenty-five short stories published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery magazine, and six mystery thriller novels, the Michael Knight/Lex Devlin series, published by Oceanview Publishing. The second novel, Frame Up, was selected as Foreword Review’s Book of the Year.
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