Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hidden Sea ~ ~ Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!


  Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense
Date of Publication: November 2017
Number of Pages: 384

Scroll down for giveaway!

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.

Praise for Hidden Sea:

“A riveting story from Texas that wanders down the cartel-invested 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

“Hidden Sea is a total blast: smart, funny, and riveting, with unforgettably colorful characters and a world so alive that you’ll swear you’re really there.”
Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone
“In Hidden Sea, Miles Arceneaux tosses us in the drink of a timely contemporary adventure tale with the Sweetwater clan, complete with pirates, slave ships, family secrets, and the mother of all plot twists, in his patented Gulf Coast noir style.”
Michelle Newby Lancaster, Contributing Editor, Lone Star Literary Life, NBCC Literary Critic


HALL WAYS REVIEW: ✪✪✪✪✪ Charlie and Johnny Sweetwater are back! Hidden Sea picks up right where the last book by Miles Arceneaux, North Beach, left off. . . well, not exactly. It’s fifty years later, and main character Charlie is living in dead brother Johnny’s house, and getting philosophical about life.  Seems tame enough, except Charlie’s great nephew, nineteen-year-old Augie, is missing and last seen in Mexico.

Because “nineteen was sort of an itchy age, especially in a family whose motto was, ‘Hold My Beer and Watch This,’” and because the aforementioned family is the Sweetwater family, Raul (Augie’s father) and Charlie are only mildly worried. However, since the story is told in alternating viewpoints (Charlie’s, his nephew Raul’s, and Augie’s), readers know there is reason for concern. Serious concern.

The world building by authors Miles Arceneaux is spectacular. They perfectly capture the tranquility of life on the coastal waters, something familiar to me and easily imagined with the descriptive writing.

A blue heron stood motionless on the dock, fixated on something in the turtle grass below. A sudden breeze fluttered the great bird’s crest and then moved across the bay, ruffling the surface of the water like an invisible hand. 

At the same time, I felt completely immersed in the foreign settings filled with people (and sharks) and places (including the sharks’ house) I don't want to believe exist but which I know really do.  It made me uncomfortable, it made me squirm, but it absolutely made me keep turning the pages.  (And might have kept me out of the ocean while on my beach vacation.)

Given the majority of Hidden Sea takes place in Mexico, it makes sense that there is lots of Spanish in the dialogue. Thankfully, the authors made it easy to understand what was happening, either by context or translation. Reading the Spanish words is never tedious and adds a real air of authenticity to the setting. I am pretty sure the Spanish profanity is at its highest level, but sometimes reader ignorance is bliss.

Another aspect that makes the book exceptionally good is the bounty of colorful and eccentric characters in Hidden Sea. Despite the large cast, each person is distinct and memorable, and many are familiar. These characters feel real and the authors Arceneaux force readers to have pretty clear-cut opinions about most – that is until the veil of distrust settles over pretty much every one of them.

Once Hidden Sea gets rolling, it doesn’t ever stop, and WOW, it achieves plot twist perfection! I was wide-eyed, madly flipping pages to find out what would happen next. It’s a wild and emotionally exhausting ride that had me experiencing a full range of feels. By the end, there is nothing left hanging, and Miles Arceneaux brings readers right back to a comfortable place where we appreciate the simple goodness and ironies of life. 

Miles Arceneaux’s books just keep getting better, and Hidden Sea is a top-notch thriller. Immaculately written, perfectly-paced, and with fascinating plots and sub-plots, I cannot recommend it highly enough. 

Thank you to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the authors for providing me an eBook copy in exchange for my honest review – the only kind I give.

“Miles Arceneaux” is the pen name of three long-time Texas friends. James R. Dennis is a former attorney turned Dominican friar who lives in San Antonio. Brent Douglass is an international businessman from Austin. John T. Davis, also of Austin, is a journalist and author. Together, as “Miles,” they have been featured authors at the Texas Book Festival, the San Antonio Book Festival, and the Lubbock Book Festival.
Grand Prize: Autographed copies of all five Gulf Coast series books by Miles Arceneaux + a copy of Geoff Winningham's Traveling the Shore of the Spanish Sea -- The Gulf Coast of Texas and Mexico
Two Runners-Up: Each win an autographed copy of Hidden Sea

October 11-October 20, 2017
U.S. Only

Excerpt 1
Author Interview
Guest Post
Excerpt 2

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