To read or not to read – that is never the question. Books are one of my favourite pastimes. They are a great escape from a landlubber’s world. One of the questions I find myself repeatedly asking is always – what to read?
“Beneath the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, a mysterious WWII wreck protects a precious secret.
Determined to find the lost submarine, Cayman Islands dive boat operator AJ Bailey is armed with nothing more than an adventurous spirit, and an old war story passed down from her veteran grandfather. But will that be enough when she’s plunged into a frantic duel with a wealthy Argentinian treasure hunter to find a piece of history lost to the sea for over seventy years?”
Weaving between 1945 and current time, Twelve Mile Bank blends an intriguing historical tale with thrilling modern suspense in the first book of the AJ Bailey Adventure Series.
Raised in England, working in America and heading for Grand Cayman – that encapsulates Nicholas Harvey’s extraordinary life and career.
From a young age, Nicholas Harvey’s career has been dominated by motorsports as a driver, crew member and senior manager at the top level of racing. In the late eighties, he emigrated from England to America.
His writing flourished as a second career, beginning with his debut novel, Twelve Mile Bank (the first of the AJ Bailey Adventure Series). Through these books Nicholas’s writing combines a passion for diving, an obsession with military history and a love of the Cayman Islands. He places readers in the middle of the action where they can feel the ocean breeze brushing their face, water lapping at their feet and villains chasing amid the azure Caribbean.
Since the series’s pilot novel publication in 2019, Nicholas has been a full-time author. Now he and his wife Cheryl can be found touring the world in search of adventure on motorcycles, mountains and dive boats.
Twelve Mile Bank is one of my most recent summer scuba reads, following a purple-haired divemaster Annabelle Jayne in the first book of the AJ Bailey Adventure Series.
The story is hauntingly beautiful and full of slicing suspense in this tropical island thriller that twists back and forth between three different time sequences – the end of WWII, AJ’s childhood and the present time. As I’ve discovered with some of my favourite books and TV series, this style of writing is very appealing to me. I find it adds an extra layer to the book, causing the reader’s brain to really absorb and piece together the storyline.
The novel begins in a very relaxed and unassuming way with typical character introductions and plot development. When Nicholas Harvey introduces his lineup of characters (AJ, Pearl, Reg, Thomas, Renfro, Mac, Costa, Andreas) I was partial to how well and in how much depth he describes not just them but what drives them. The detail and page space dedicated to ascribing the Twelve Mile Bank characters gave me a very three-dimensional image of their personality and quirks. When an author doesn’t give enough background or personality to a character in their novel, I find myself having a hard time relating and remembering who’s who.
I instantly connected with Twelve Mile Bank’s heroine AJ Bailey; she is intelligent, driven, spunky and knows what she wants. This in essence is what fuels the novel – her thirst for adventure and discovery escalates into a race against two cutthroat treasure hunters.
Once Nicholas Harvey sets the book’s stage, giving us a clear idea of who’s good and who’s bad, the story picks up much in the way I imagined based on the book’s teaser text – in a slow methodical burn. For me, this worked spectacularly well as I felt completely absorbed into the narrative of Twelve Mile Bank feeling the whole spectrum of emotions – from the weightless joy of hanging underwater to the frustration of coming up empty-handed to the hopelessness of bobbing around in the vast unforgiving sea. Another reason why this slow-burn worked well, is because, in spite of having a rough idea of how the novel would play out, the spider web of events and the way he meshed things together was cutting edge. It certainly kept me, as the reader, at the edge of my seat.
In some very brief instances throughout the novel, I found the sentences to be a little lengthy and wordy but that could very well be personal preference. Overall I found this book incredibly well written with an incredible story that pulls you under like a riptide and doesn’t loosen until the final chapters.
Twelve Mile Bank was a great read that thoughtfully integrated history, scuba diving, and adventure into a compelling work of fiction. This book is the first of a larger series written by author Nicholas Harvey. This collection of books follows Cayman Island dive shop owner AJ Bailey who becomes entangled in a series of happenstance events. The AJ Bailey Series includes; Cavern of the Lost Souls (Prequel Novella – 2019), Twelve Mile Bank (2017) Gardens of the Queen (2019), Wreck of the Raptor (2019), Ghost Mountain (2020), Solomon’s Well (2020), Queen of the Island Skies (2020), Valley of the Rays (2020), Neptune’s Wall (2020), Spanish Bay Reef (2021) and the Bloody Bay Rum Club (2021).
We thoroughly enjoyed the first book of Nicholas Harvey’s series and look forward to more time with AJ, Reg, Thomas and the rest of the Cayman Island crew. Given that diving and treasure hunting are the cornerstone of this novel, Twelve Mile Bank is definitely a story for scuba divers to add to their reading list.
Have you had the opportunity to read divemaster AJ Bailey’s Adventure Series? What was your favourite thing about this book? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.
Writers Note: This scuba diving book review was sponsored by the book author Nicholas Harvey. All novels were provided to Dive Buddies 4 Life by the author in exchange for the review. All comments and thoughts in relation to the book are honest and strictly that of Dive Buddies 4 Life. For more information on the book or to get your copy visit Amazon or Harvey Books website.
Additionally, this post may contain affiliate links. We will make a small commission if you make a purchase through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. See full disclosure and disclaimer policy here.
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