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Surface Tension (Seychelle Sullivan #1)

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  895 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
In a stunning debut novel featuring a resourceful female amateur P.I., Christine Kling establishes herself as a major voice in suspense fiction. Surface Tension depicts a world as deceptive as a Florida land deal, as electrifying as the hottest Miami nightclub, and as dangerous as the tug of an invisible riptide. . . .


Years ago Seychelle Sullivan had the cha
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 28th 2004 by Ballantine Books (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Cathy DuPont
Could have finished this last night, but just wasn't that interested in it so I put it down 25 pages from the end. Why? It sagged the last third of the book and kept sagging until it really got tiresome. Most times I cannot and will not do that. I'll read until after midnight if needed.

If the rating would let me rate the book in thirds, I would give the first two-thirds a 3.5 or 3.75. But no can do.

It started with a bang and a real mystery and kept getting better. Like I said, in the final thi
Dianne Parkhurst
Apr 29, 2012 Dianne Parkhurst rated it really liked it
good plot and story line. good writing. writer is very knowledgeable of all types of boats. and boating. I liked the book and am now reading her next Seychelles Sullivan novel.I very much enjoyed this book.
The supposedly detail focused detective, despite ample evidence of her innocence, continues to suspect, and accuse the main character. Such foolishness snowballed until I could no longer continue.
Aug 15, 2013 GIZMO rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
really enjoyed the first 75% of this book but it totally fell apart for me at the tried to stuff too many cats into the bag and it didn't wirk
Jan 19, 2017 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A most excellent 5 star read but, this almost got 4 stars because of all the wrong moves and wrong signals, I mean it was all I could do to not want to smack her upside the head and then maybe give her a hug
C.E. Grundler
Feb 08, 2011 C.E. Grundler rated it it was amazing
A smart, tough, believable female protagonist, a tugboat captain running a salvage business in Fort Lauderdale, that sounds like my kind character. The story wasted no time diving right into the action and I was immediately hooked. Seychelle comes to life on the pages as both capable and likable, intelligent and take-charge, and Kling does a superb job of presenting scenes in vivid detail, both visually and emotionally, without slowing the story for one second. Without question, Kling knows her ...more
Cynthia Raleigh
Surface Tension was an interesting story that started right off with suspense. Lots of information about boats, ships, and the business of the waterways, of which I knew very little, so I did learn something. Seychelle Simpson, the main character, is an adept salvager and knows her way around the Ft. Lauderdale area with her eyes closed. She is an independent, no-nonsense type of woman who took over her father's salvage business after his death, while maintaining her two brothers as absent one-t ...more
Surface Tension is the first in a series of mysteries by Christine Kling that are set on the Atlantic coast between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Seychelles owns a tug/salvage business and captains her boat. She gets pulled into solving a murder that she happened upon, but which also helps her resolve unfinished business in her life.

You might want to read this if, like my husband, you're a boat fan. That's not necessary, though, as the nautical scenes are not difficult to follow. He argues that thi
Jul 09, 2012 Candy rated it really liked it
I got this book for free from Pixel of Ink or Kindle Nation, can't remember. I don't usually read suspense stories but this one caught my attention solely because it was based in Florida not too far from where I'm from.
From the very beginning, the novel grabbed my attention and kept it all the way to the end. Kling's writing flows like the sea where the mystery begins.
However, I agree with one reviewer about how often the main Character, Seychelle, gets hurt and I found myself feeling that some
Mar 10, 2012 Mark rated it liked it
Shelves: indi-e-book
This page turner is a four star read except for a few plot turns that snapped my suspenders of disbelief a bit too hard.

Solid writing and a story that leaps into gear makes “Surface Tension’ hard to put down. Even better, most characters are well developed and the storie's primary conflict is complex and truly horrifying, generating great sympathy for characters and high stakes that feel real.

“Surface Tension’ delivered a tense, emotional rollercoaster story that I won’t soon forget. I'm lookin
Cynthia Maddox
Oct 31, 2013 Cynthia Maddox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first in a series by Ms. Kling. I've read them all and they're all equally well written. She knows how to tell a good story and keep you riveted to the end of the tale. The entire series focuses on Seychelle Sullivan and her misadventures with her salvage boat. Ms. Kling certainly knows nautical and you can almost smell the sea when you open the covers. If you've ever visited the region, you won't have any trouble visualizing it as you read and you'll be caught up in a great story.

Carmie Callobre
I am kinda familiar with that area of South Florida (part of my childhood vacations) - especially Pompano Beach and the A1A area, and the author was able to bring that area to life as well as make me think about my time spent in Pompano. The sailing background was very good. What I didn't like was how our heroine was beaten up, left to drown, beat up AGAIN, unrealistically single-handedly fights the bad guys - all in like 5 days. She should have been dead by day 2.
Excellent. I had read Bitter End, #3 in the series and enjoyed it. I like mysteries and being a Navy vet, like books with a sea flair. Christine Kling has a talent for incorporating both. I've got the 2nd in the series standing by.
Martin Pingree
Feb 23, 2016 Martin Pingree rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was fun ! Great murder mystery in beautiful Florida with a woman salvage tug captain and lots of bad guys and good guys. Great story and great characters, one of those I couldn't put down.
Dec 03, 2016 Pammy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seychelle Sullivan is at home on the sea, much like the author, according to her bio. This confidence about the sea and boats of all types is part of why the book presents as "authentic". Now, I say that, knowing absolutely nothing about the sea, its critters, and the above water vessels.
At one point (where we learn why the title "Surface Tension" is used), our heroine is on a boat/craft/ship (?) trying to deal with some heavy emotions, thinking about her past. And I quote: "Around the south sid
Anne Parker
Jan 30, 2017 Anne Parker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Florida mystery, first in a series about a female salvage boat skipper from Fort Lauderdale. The Florida insights are genuine and deep. The story is well-plotted although why our heroine refuses to ask for help beats me. I'm ready for the next book in the series.
Susan Ash hanson
Mar 04, 2017 Susan Ash hanson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great thriller, really enjoyed it
Kinsey Millhone + Travis McGee = Seychelle Sullivan.

The female protagonist, Seychelle Sullivan (who goes by "Sey"), reminds me of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone, with ocean-loving touches of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee. Sey could be the love child of those 2 fictional detectives... although in this first book of the series, she's very naive.

Sey(chelle) is a tough 29-year old lady determined to get to the bottom of a friend's muder, and to clear her own name. A boat captain by trade, she's th
This exciting story starts with a Mayday call, and the action never lets up. Seychelle Sullivan owns and operates a salvage boat she inherited from her father. She lives in a bungalow on Fort Lauderdale's New River, and works on Florida's Intracoastal Waterway. When Seychelle hears a Mayday over the radio, she races to beat her competitors to rescue the multimillion-dollar yacht Top Ten, captained by her ex-lover Neal. Seychelle finds a dead body on the boat, no sign of Neal. Florida police pref ...more
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the Florida coast: the flora and fauna and the men and women who earn their livelihood from working on and in the waters surrounding Florida. The protagonist's occupation as a tug boat operator was interesting and novel. Unfortunately, the plot and character development could use a lot of work; the last part of the book was a confusing mess. Some of the characters' actions were inexplicable, which led me to think more than once the protagonist was an idiot. I ...more
Suzanne Williams
Jul 07, 2012 Suzanne Williams rated it it was amazing
As a native Floridian, the descriptions of Florida were fantastic. I could see it all in my mind's eye. The plot was a real "page turner." I simply could not put the book down until the end. Add to that, the hint of romance and this was a real pleasurable read. Story does have some language and violence in it. However, the main character, Seychelle and her boyfriend, B.J. are well-developed. I felt like they were my friends. The evil characters at the same time had me wishing the worst for them. ...more
Carmen Raggio
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kay Robinson
Aug 06, 2012 Kay Robinson rated it it was amazing
This is the first full length novel by Christine Kling I've read and I'm in no way disappointed after Sea Bitch. A full on crime thriller set in paradise with a mystery to be solved. What is so important out there between the islands and who would murder a beautiful girl in such a beautiful place, and why. The suspense builds and very real dangers are faced. Usually a lover of crime fiction expects it it the major cities of the world, in the realms of the gangster and drug dealer. This is differ ...more
Jun 14, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#1 in the Seychelle Sullivan series. The debut novel in a series about a tugboat captain, who with her two brothers own the boat. The brief series lasted for four entries over 5 years.

Seychelle Sullivan uses her tug to keep a yacht from foundering on the beach. She finds a dead woman aboard and no sign of the captain, her ex-boyfriend. The yacht's owner is a mystery, the lawyer is lowballing the salvage fee, her brother wants to sell the tug so he can get his third, a runaway she had befriended
Jan 24, 2015 Stacei rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
really exciting

I really enjoyed this book. Seychelles Sullivan is a struggling salvage boat captain. She hears about a yacht captained by her former boyfriend is adrift, and is off to save it for a salvage fee. Going after the boat puts her in line to be accused of multiple murders, being hunted by some very bad guys, not to mention problems with one of her brothers. I had no idea where this story would go as there seems to be several story lines that intersect. This was a great mystery and I hi
Will Decker
May 08, 2012 Will Decker rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this story and really appreciated the manner in which the author used her firsthand knowledge of boats and boating describing scenes (both background and action) without over describing or getting too technical. The story flowed and kept drawing you in deeper with each page until the very end. Nice job. And though I don't want to come up for air, I must. Looking forward to the next in the series.
Laz the Sailor
May 15, 2014 Laz the Sailor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is a solid thriller involving an independent but slightly naive tug boat captain who gets caught up in nefarious machinations stirred up by her ex-boyfriend, her brother, and other "nice guys" she meets.

This is less complicated than the author's later books, but that's a good thing, as it allows the characters to develop a bit, and the Florida shoreline exudes the exotic and the fermenting.

I'll read the next one.
Gary Sedivy
Apr 23, 2016 Gary Sedivy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a stretch to call the main character a 'sleuth'. There is a mystery involved, and it is interesting that it involves a marine salvage boat captain, the main character. In order to clear her own name of the crime, she begins to ask questions, talk to people, and generally cause trouble for the bad guys. Unfortunately, while she's flailing around several people die. There is required angst, the problem, the guilt she bears and partially cripples her ability to have relationships.
Diane Wachter
Surface Tension: Seychelle Sullivan, Book 1, (Florida is Murder), Christine Kling, NB-M @ 2013, 9/2/14, 279 pgs. A young woman who took oveer her father's marine towing and salvage business, goes on a call in Ft. Lauderdale to a huge yacht that is in danger of running aground. The yacht is captained by her ex-boyfriend, but when she boards, he is not on board, and she finds his new girlfriend shot to death. Boyfriend is assumed dead, and cops think she killed them both. Good.
Aug 26, 2015 Yvonna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author keeps the reader invested in the story's outcome

With difficulty in putting the book down, the reader becomes involved with the characters, particularly Seyscelle and the young girls she is trying to save. Adding Seyscelle's financial and family problems promote a legitimacy to this story. Drawing the reader into the story seems to be a forte of this author. I cannot wait to read the next installment!
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The Free Book Cha...: Surface Tension, by Christine Kling 2 20 Jun 22, 2013 02:47PM  
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I have spent over thirty years living on and around boats and cruising the Caribbean and the Pacific. I've been a boat wife, mother and now I am captain of my own boat. I've had articles and stories published in many publications including Cruising World, Sailing!, and The Tiller and the Pen, Gulfstream Magazine and Miami Noir. My first four novels are in a series about Florida female tugboat capt ...more
More about Christine Kling...

Other Books in the Series

Seychelle Sullivan (4 books)
  • Cross Current (Seychelle Sullivan, #2)
  • Bitter End (Seychelle Sullivan, #3)
  • Wreckers' Key (Seychelle Sullivan, #4)

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