Book Review

A Book That Knows It’s A Film

Deep Steal, by Mike Seares

Appeared in DIVER January 2018

IT’S NOT OFTEN THAT we get thrillers written by divers, even less often that we get good thrillers written by divers – and by good,

I mean thrillers that succeed in thrilling.

Mike Seares has been around in the diving community for a long time. He has run a dive-school and worked extensively in film and TV, from safety-diving and underwater sequence co-ordination to camerawork, writing and directing documentaries and various video projects.

He also incidentally once wrote a very good short guide to underwater video-making for DIVER called Ready, Mr De Mille, which can be found on  DIVERNET.

The plot of his first novel Deep Steal is wildly implausible, and

I italicise the word to emphasise just how wildly it deviates from life as we know it.

Much as it might look like one, that’s not meant as a criticism. Rather, I recognise the book’s implausibility as a shout-out to Hollywood studios to “come and get me!”

After all, when did you last see a movie thriller that wasn’t deeply implausible? This might be Seares’ first novel but he has written a series of screenplays and has a film-maker’s mind – it’s clear that Deep Steal was written with “screenplay” at the back of that mind.

And implausible as it might be – and I won’t spoil it even by outlining the plot – it’s an exciting and well-written heist-tale that kept me turning its 400-plus pages quite happily over the course of a day,

and thinking about what a money-spinning caper-movie it could make.

It has an arch-baddie who will stoop to any level of villainy (he is CEO of a deep-sea salvage company, after all); an uncomplicated hero (“this is a John McCready novel”, it says on the cover – there are no others yet but I’m sure there will be); a tough yet vulnerable female scuba-diver who is also an expert on water-delivery systems; and a support crew who are either immoral, comical or a bit of both. And while the book may be full of holes, many of these are pipelines and are meant to be there.

Be warned: there is precious little scuba-diving in this book. We’re in the realms of saturation-diving bells and manned submersibles here. Who knows, perhaps the next McCready novel will satisfy that need.

In Depth Solutions

ISBN: 9780995733916

Softback, 424pp, 13 x 20cm, £9.99

Review by Steve Weinman