Those who are introduced to Tiller Galloway through LOUISIANA BLUE will find what readers familiar with David Poyer’s hardbitten deep-sea diver already know: The man cannot keep out of trouble. Of course, that is part of the attraction in this series which novelist Poyer has created as a vehicle for combining two of his personal passions: adventure writing and diving.
In LOUISIANA BLUE, Galloway, a former convict, ends up in south Louisiana looking for work; he joins a crew of tough characters whose boss has agreed to do pipe-laying and surveying for one of the giant oil companies operating rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Things seem to go wrong from the beginning of the job: Galloway is almost killed in a helicopter crash as he travels out to the rig, and among those who do not survive the crash is a government inspector; one of the best divers is drowned in a freak accident while fishing; an older member of the crew is killed when he receives an erroneous mixture of gas in his diving suit.
Poyer introduces these ominous occurrences slowly, focusing for nearly two-thirds of the story on the divers’ work beneath the murky waters of the Gulf. Readers will find themselves learning all they wanted to know (and perhaps more) about the technical aspects of deep-sea diving: The equipment and procedures are described in the kind of loving detail only a devotee of the work could bring to the writing. Although his characterization is sometimes sketchy and his dialogue stilted, Poyer manages to keep readers wondering whether Galloway will figure out—before it is too late—who is trying to take advantage of him and his diving partners, and why. The action-packed final pages resolve things with a bang, making LOUISIANA BLUE another successful adventure yarn from a deft and knowledgeable storyteller.