While shark fisherman Luke Brock is concerned for the townspeople's safety, his focus shifts from helping to catch the beast to helping rescue the woman he loves from another white death. As a result, he is a constant target for scornful Mabel's venom, barbs he refuses to take seriously since he is certain the drugs are talking for her. That the local law enforcement is slow to bust the drug chain is baffling at first, until one realizes that certain local businessman are not at all bothered when the t-shirts and souvenir keychains move slower than their real "inventory."
White Death is a tense debut thriller, peppered with more than one mystery. Burch, whose authority on sharks and shark fishing has been bolstered by numerous appearances on radio and TV in the North Florida area, employs a present-tense style to the story, creating a suspenseful immediacy which highlights the action, especially during his graphic scenes of the shark attacking its prey. In Luke he has created a mysterious hero, a man who desires a love he cannot have (Mabel), yet refuses what likely could be a more healthy, albeit long-distance, relationship. Despite the motley assortment of yokel fisherman and spaced-out teenagers, Luke quietly keeps his calm and his focus -- to obliterate white death in all its forms.
Burch writes with an air of accuracy, able to instill a sense of discomfort in anyone daring to test the ocean. I found it somewhat of a bizarre coincidence that White Death was released late this summer in the wake of shark attacks off the East Coast. This is a story that may cause you to rethink that vacation at the beach.