Andrew Gross returns to his detective Ty Hauck to bring us a novel replete with twists and turns and set in what has become oil country, Aspen, Colorado, thanks to the new technique of fracking. The area is rich in resources, but in a drought situation during the time of Gross’ story.
Dani Haller, college educated, has become a guide for a Whitewater rafting business enjoying the life as opposed to working at a desk for some large company. Leading a tour down the rapids near Aspen she comes upon the dead body of a close friend.
Trey Watkins’s death is ruled an accident by the authorities called to the scene, but Dani in returning to the area finds evidence that that is not the case. She takes her suspicions to Wade Dunn, the local chief of police, who is coincidentally her step father having married her mother when her real father died. Wade insists that the case is closed and is an accident. But Dani talks to a balloon operator who insists that that is not the case and witnessed something while flying over the area where Trey was killed.
Before “Rooster”, the balloon operator, can talk to Dani, he is killed along with four passengers by a seemingly freak accident to his balloon. Bringing her further suspicions of foul play to Wade Dunn causes the chief of police to jail her, seemingly for her own protection.
Dani’s father, currently working on a project in South America, calls on Ty Hauck to help his daughter. Hauck is coincidentally related to her and leaves a long term vacation he is on to go and help Dani. The descriptions of Ty are perhaps the best part of Gross’ handling of the events. The detective is portrayed as a human being, not the hard nosed sleuth of other books. He has been wounded in a previous novel and still recuperating from it, is not omnipotent by any means, does not possess super human strength and works in a logical and plodding manner to get to the crux of the matter. He is a person that can be seen as normal, possessing average intelligence, but instilled with the desire to see things to their conclusion.
In the course of the novel, Andrew Gross provides the reader with a description of what fracking for oil entails. He also indicates that rumors that this process poisons the land are not true, and that properly handled can bring the United States independence of supplies from the OPEC countries and lower costs to consumers and industry as well. The ending leaves Hauck in a position to take on more work, and the probable lead in future books by Gross. Well done and certainly one to lead the reader awaiting further Ty Hauck books.
4/15 Paul Lane
ONE MILE UNDER by Andrew Gross. William Morrow (April 7, 2015). ISBN 978-0061655999. 400p.