First sentence: "I know I should call the police immediately, but I wonder if you wouldn't mind popping over for a moment to discuss before I do."
Sam Acquillo, cabinetmaker, part-time private investigator, and full-time resident of Eastern Long Island, used to be part of the one percent and still has some friends who are. Burton Lewis was a houseguest of Joshua and Rosie Edelston. Another guest, Elton Darby, a fundraiser for the charity Volunteering with Love, aka the Loventeers, has been found dead with Burton's watch in his hand. What begins as an investigation to clear his friend, grows to a case involving the FBI, a trip to post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico, and a journey back to Long Island to unmask a killer.
Knopf provides an excellent short history of Sam which segues nicely into his current relationship with Amanda Anselma and Sam's trusty dog, Eddie Van Halen. Sam's background is what makes him such an interesting, well-rounded character. He is fully capable of taking care of himself in a dangerous situation but is just as inclined to toss in the appropriate Latin phrase, and introspection—"You've heard it noted that time is a river, though what is overlooked is all the sediment the river leaves behind, diverting the path, obscuring recollection." Having been part of both sides of the socio-economic spectrum has given him an understanding not found in everyone. He can even be forgiven, perhaps, for one point where he could be perceived as a bit of an idiot about his relationship with Amanda, but that's up to one's own opinion.
Sam's trip to Puerto Rico is a turning point in the plot and presents a hard view, and real understanding, of the conditions there today. It also takes the plot into a deeper, very serious and relevant issue. What's nice is that Knopf offsets the serious with occasional well-done, well-placed humor, such as his description of air travel—"…park in a long-term lot about one hundred miles away, ride a tram with nervous, unhappy people, get stripped nearly naked by the TSA, find a bar near your gate, drink too much, but still get on the flight with more nervous, unhappy people…" and it goes on in perfect form. One of Sam's other attributes is the way in which he applies engineering and design to problem solving.
"Deep Dive" has great characters and a good amount of tension. It is a very well done book, particularly the final chapter.
DEEP DIVE PI-Sam Acquillo-Long Island, NY-Contemp)- VGKnopf, Chris – 9th in series
Permanent Press, July 2019