Hidden Sea

Hidden Sea

by Miles Arceneaux


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Charlie Sweetwater saw Mexico—especially the Mexican Gulf Coast—as a spiritual second home. He’d worked, played and lived there for much of his life, and thought the country suited him better than anywhere this side of his home on the Texas Coast.

But now a worrisome and potentially dangerous development has shown up on Charlie’s radar. Young Augustus Sweetwater, affectionately known as Augie, hasn’t reported in after completing a south-of-the-border sales trip for Sweetwater Marine. Raul, Augie’s father and Charlie’s nephew, is worried sick. Drug cartel violence in Mexico has reached epidemic proportions and Augie’s path took him through the heart of the narcotraficantes’ territory.

Charlie figures Augie just went off the grid to do some well-deserved fishing, surfing and beer-drinking at the end of his trip. He’d done the same in his time. But as Augie’s unexplained absence grows, Charlie and Raul become increasingly alarmed and set off for Mexico to bring their boy home.

What they unearth is far more than the sum of their fears. The familiar and friendly Gulf of Mexico has turned into a hidden sea plagued by smugglers, human traffickers, crooked politicians and even pirates. And Augie is lost somewhere in the middle of it all.

Charlie and Raul must summon an unlikely cast of characters to aid them, including a hilariously dissolute ex-pat musician, a priest whose faith struggles against the rising tide of refugee migration, a Mexican tycoon who may have secrets of his own and a beautiful maritime “repo man”. At the end of their quest, as the deepest secret of all is revealed, Charlie Sweetwater learns that neither Raul and Augie, nor the Gulf of Mexico, nor even himself, will ever be the same again.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A riveting story that wanders down the cartel-infested Gulf Coast of Mexico and drifts across to lawless Cuba.

The characters are as salty as the sea and the plot pulls you along as powerfully as the Loop Current."

- W.F. Strong, Stories from Texas, Texas Standard Radio Network

Kirkus Reviews

The fifth entry in Arceneaux's (North Beach, 2015, etc.) thriller series finds the Sweetwater family searching for one of their own—19-year-old Augie, who inexplicably vanished in Mexico.Though it's been only a couple of days since Raul Sweetwater's heard from his son, Augustus, he's still worried. Augie had been touring the Mexican Gulf Coast to touch base with clients of Sweetwater Marine, the family's Texas business. Raul voices his concerns to his uncle Charlie, and despite Charlie's assurance that Augie is fine, the family's phone calls to customers and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City have turned up nothing. So Charlie and Raul head south. Charlie flies to the southern end of the Gulf in Veracruz, while his nephew works his way down the coast until the two reconnect in Tuxpan. Both men—hearing stories of Mexican drug cartels as well as a vicious one-eyed pirate named Mal de Ojo (Evil Eye)—surmise that someone has kidnapped Augie. In the meantime, the dazed teen awakens on a boat, held captive and secured by a chained metal collar. Now effectively a slave, Augie can wait for rescue or try to escape, either option providing the distinct possibility that he won't survive. Arceneaux sets a breathless pace from the beginning by separating Charlie and Raul, who gather info and clues twice as quickly. In the same vein, perspective from Augie bolsters suspense. He's introduced on the ship, initially baffled as to how he ended up there. His scenes are often bleak, courtesy of his brutal captors, but the story eases tension with comic relief. Augie, for example, imagines a letter to his family: "Dear Mom, Dad, and Sis—It's been a good month for pillage and plunder." The tale references events from preceding books, though narrative context ensures readers who are just joining the series won't be lost.Proficiently develops characters, relationships, and storylines in the midst of nonstop action.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780996879743
Publisher: Brent Douglass
Publication date: 10/20/2017
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.49(d)

Customer Reviews