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Colin Kersey
Swimming with the Angels
Colin Kersey, author
Gray Reynolds' world is violently upended when assassins wound him and kill everyone else aboard a speedboat. He then learns from his dying wife that she helped steal $100 million from a notorious drug cartel. Gray's only hope of staying alive is to disappear. Forced to flee, Gray searches out a remote trout fishing farm in the foothills of the North Cascades that seems to be the perfect hideout. But his identity is not the farm's only secret. Traumatized by the childhood loss of her mother to cancer, a young blind woman believes the mysterious stranger is the man her mother promised would one day come. Her infatuation, however, arouses the desires of her older married sister. Tensions escalate when a near tragedy occurs, raising the possibility of the farm's imminent sale and rekindling the cartel's relentless determination to discover Gray's whereabouts. In Swimming with the Angels, Colin Kersey weaves themes of longing and grief, love and sensuality into a thriller of uncommon beauty and depth.
Kersey follows his exciting debut (Soul Catcher) with this immersive thriller about how a man reinvents himself when members of a drug cartel kill his wife. Grayson Reynolds is the name that a man adopts to evade pursuit when the Sinaloa cartel takes revenge against his wife, Heide, after discovering that she had engineered the theft of some of its money through a hedge fund. Bereft and in danger, this “Grayson” leaves California to work in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains, north of Seattle. Though the pay is minimal, Grayson hopes that his job at a farm will at least keep him safe. But complications arise when the farmer’s younger daughter, Valerie, a kind, blind woman, becomes attracted to Grayson—and her married sister Vonda starts flirting with him, too. Once he realizes his presence puts the family in danger, he must decide on his next move.

Kersey’s expert pacing and attention to detail surrounding the life-changing events in Grayson’s life breathes life into the story, quickly immersing the reader. An early attack on a boat at Newport Harbor captures the combination of momentum and convincing color: “Bits of vinyl seats, fiberglass,and bloody body parts peppered me as we blasted past the paddleboarders, swamping them in our wake.” Elsewhere, that lyricism highlights Grayson’s introspective nature, offering greater insight into a man forced to leave his life behind and start over.

While highlighting the beauty near the North Cascade Mountains, Kersey deftly depicts the family dynamic between Vonda and Valerie. He reveals the complexity behind Vonda’s jealousy of Valerie; though she’s initially portrayed as somewhat naïve, her depth gets revealed as Grayson comes to know her, discovering her conviction that he is the man her deceased mother believed would one day come to see her. This thriller offers the on-the-run action that fans of the genre crave but also character and heart.

Takeaway: One man must take on a new identity if he wants a chance at survival in this fleet on-the-run thriller.

Great for fans of: Nora Roberts’s The Witness, Michael Koryta’s Those Who Wish Me Dead.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A