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In Dark Waters
by Mary Burton
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1378, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27448-3
In Dark Waters is Harlequin Historical author Mary Burtonís debut in the Intimate Moments line. Clearly familiar with scuba diving, she weaves that sport into a ten-year-old mystery and love story.

Kelsey Warren grew up tossed between foster homes and her peripatetic mother who had numerous addictions: men, money, drugs and liquor. As a young teenager, Kelsey and her mother returned to Grantís Forge, Virginia, to spend several days with her motherís aunt. Her mother promised she was coming into a large sum of money and things would go well in the future. Kelseyís mother left one night, never to return.

Grudgingly, her aunt permitted Kelsey to live with her and finish high school. While working in a scuba shop the summer after graduation she fell in love with Mitch Garrett, four years older. After her first night of lovemaking she used that L word with him, to quickly find that was not his interest. Humiliated, Kelsey left town and fashioned a life of scuba diving and underwater photography.

Years later, Kelsey returns to Grantís Forge for her auntís funeral. Her old employer and friend Stu asks her to do a favor for him. He had recently purchased a quarry and was getting it in shape for scuba diving when he had discovered an old car teetering on a ledge above a crevice. Before pushing it over, he wants to check the ownership.

He asks Kelsey to make the dive. He also had asks Mitch who is back in town serving as the sheriff to be her dive partner. Reluctantly they dive together, find the car and, to Kelseyís horror, discover the remains of the driver trapped within, who Kelsey realizes was her mother.

Soon, other things start happening. Stuís partnerís car is found abandoned and the divers locate another body in the waters of the quarry.

The suspense plot is loosely tied together and ambles along in the fashion of a lazy summer day. The same can be said for the mounting romance between Kelsey and Mitch, one that Kelsey is determined to avoid.

Burtonís talent is clearly in character creation and not particularly evidenced in creating plot tensions or in persuasive dialog. The use of scuba diving in the story adds interest to a story not teeming with it.

The resolution to the murder story and the resolution to the love story happen - somewhat out of the blue and not too convincingly. On balance, In Dark Waters is any easy, but not challenging, read.

--Thea Davis

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