Even the sunny clime of a Florida beach town has its dark undercurrents. When the body of a real estate agent is found floating in the water just off the panhandle near Santa Rosa Island, only one woman has the wits and knows the ways of the waters to track down her killer. That woman is Carla Harper, though she’s not exactly in the best spirits these days to go chasing the bad guys. Tumbling in the Downdrift is the debut novel by T. K. Hatfield that tells a searing story of murder and betrayal, with a loyal mutt thrown in for good measure. It’s a pause-resisting mystery that will enthrall listeners who like their characters with a dash of sea salt and their murder served beachside.
Out on her boat, Tenacious, on the beautiful Emerald Coast beaches – in an effort to recover from a tragedy involving her late husband, Marty – former Coast Guard officer Carla Harper discovers a strangled body that turns out to be her friend. Local real estate agent Crystal Mason was the wife of Dale, and the couple had spent many a convivial evening with Carla and Marty. Before she knows it, Carla is wading knee-deep in the investigation, in spite of the fact that she doesn’t have law enforcement authority in Florida. Using her military investigations training, Carla works to clear Crystal’s husband, Dale, from suspicion, with a trail of leads wending its way as far as Mexico to find out just what a wiry dockside dude knows about the circumstances. And when a tony local named Nicholas Dickson Price gets involved, the stakes become perilously high.
As Carla chases down leads, the bodies mount, and Carla herself becomes the target of break-ins and police acrimony. With her colorful mother, Jolie, and trusty four-legged sidekick, Molly, Carla musters the strength to sleuth out the real killer, all while grieving the loss of Marty.