"One Mile Under" (William Morrow), by Andrew Gross
Detective Ty Hauck returns from a hiatus to tackle a personal case in Andrew Gross' latest mystery, "One Mile Under."
Dani Whalen knows the Roaring Fork River like the back of her hand, and she enjoys taking tourists on whitewater rafting excursions on the more exciting sections. One morning, her group comes across another boat and the body of someone she knows. From all appearances, Trey Watkins had an accident, hit his head and drowned. She knows Watkins knew the river better than she does, so she's skeptical of the official report since he wasn't wearing his usual helmet.
When a local hot air balloonist tells her that he was overhead that morning and saw someone with Watkins, she asks for more details. When the balloonist dies in a fiery crash, Whalen knows that something is up and that she needs expert help. She approaches the local police chief, who happens to be her ex-stepfather, but chief Wade Dunn blows off her suspicions. Thankfully, her uncle Ty Hauck arrives to assist.
The straightforward mystery dives into a devil's bargain among people desperate for water and a company seeking oil. The instigators will do anything to keep their involvement secret — even murder.
Gross tells a simple mystery surrounded by a provocative topic that screams to be investigated further. How is the process of fracking affecting the environment, and what are the long-term costs? Ultimately, the identity of the guilty culprit is a bit obvious, but that ultimately doesn't matter since the characters are terrific.
Gross delivers another satisfying journey for readers who like their suspense mixed with small-town politics.