“Drowned Under” by Wendall Thomas is the second in the “Cyd Redondo Mystery” series. New readers will find that Cyd shares all the needed background information right as she goes along. Things always begin with her introduction “Hello. Cyd Redondo, Redondo Travel.”
Cyd’s first person narrative begins in December when ex-husband, Barry Manzoni asks her to find his parents. Her former in-laws took a cruise to Australia and are missing. On a happier note, they did win the shipboard a dance competition the night before docking in Tasmania. Thus begins an adventure that will make readers laugh and never ever want to set foot aboard a ship.
The story unfolds in Cyd’s first person narrative, and the situation driven plot is guided by her conversations with those she meets. She reflects on her decisions. (“This was crazy. Why was I doing this?”) She tells readers her plans. (“I’d ask her about that later.”) She recounts her experiences. (“I’d been forced to arrange a few speedboats for tardy clients.”) She shares evaluations. (“They sailed to bucket list locations and hadn’t had a norovirus /fire in the engine room/ sinking disaster in the past few years, so I felt better putting my clients there.”) Readers trust her instincts and her strategies for maximizing travel rewards. (“I was able to combine my credit card frequent flier points, travel agent discounts, and three coupons to upgrade Harriet’s coach seat into Premium Economy for both legs, round trip.”) However, even Cyd has her limits, (“Look, as far as accessories go, I’m strictly a purse and shoes girl. No murders.”)
Descriptions put readers right into the drama, even while laughing, (“A pack of life-jacketed tourists surrounded us, like aggressive Cheetos.”), or while cringing, (“I grabbed a green apple out of my bag, ate a few bites, then promptly threw up over the railing.”) “Drowned Under” is definitely not a travelogue. Nothing is even close to reality, (I hope) but Wendall Thomas fills each page with absurdity as Cyd navigates drug smuggling, missing persons, romance, endangered animal smuggling, seasickness, and murder, all on board a cruise ship. I was given a copy of “Drowned Under” from Wendall Thomas and Poison Pen Press. It was hilarious, outrageous, and funny. I learned that even a $4000 handbag should have Tupperware and Band-Aids.