Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Treasure of Love by Scotty Cade

Treasure of Love by Scotty Cade
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: GLBT
Length: 214 pages

Summary: Hunky Alaskan dive master and charter boat captain Jackson Cameron is absolutely sure he’s straight until openly gay treasure hunter Dax Powers calls him and offers him the adventure of a lifetime: Dax and his sister Donatella have found the Anna Wyoming, a ship that went down during the 1889 gold rush on return from Skagway Island—very possibly carrying a fortune in gold.

But real treasure is never free, and this one comes with some heavily armed strings attached. Jack and Dax struggle to keep their small crew safe from a powerful threat while they fight against the attraction they feel for each other. Between the danger of the hunt, the risks in the dive, and the thrill of being lost in passion, Dax and Jack are going to have a hard time holding on to their treasure... and to each other!

Treasure hunters need good maps, good hunches, and a lot of determination to find their booty, and Dax Powers has both when he charters Jack Cameron's dive boat. In Treasure of Love by Scotty Cade, Dax starts by looking for gold but finds a great deal more.

Both Dax and Jack are alpha kinds of guys, who start out with friction. The back and forth over the treasure diving trip makes for some great reading; they growl at each other to cover up the attraction, which is mutual, to Jack's great surprise. Poor Jack gets a lot of flak from his crew/friends Mac and Brad about this – paybacks are hell, but such fun for the reader. The relationship unfolds more gently than it starts out, and kudos to Dax for not pushing too hard. He pushes just hard enough:

"―If all I need to do is go on a tirade to get you to kiss me, look out, Jack. Your life is about to become very confrontational."

They do find their treasure ship, too, using seriously unsafe diving practices – twice they nearly run out of air, no one thinks to leave spare tanks below, and the words "safety line" or similar do not appear anywhere -- and salvaging the valuables is suddenly the least of their dangers. The shadowy danger materializes with explanations – a LOT of them, that seem reasonable for modern day and really weird for 120 years ago. The day is saved though, through an outside agency that had not previously appeared in the story and seemed tacked on.

The style of the book, unfortunately, doesn't flow very well: there are huge chunks of exposition, some unnatural sounding dialog, and a lot of explanations of the "as you know, Jack" variety to convey information that could have been worked in more naturally. The POV is not stable – it can go for pages in one person's POV, only to flip for a sentence or two and then back. The occasional forays into a true omniscient POV worked to convey menace, and I don't consider those a problem, but really didn't like the dizzy-making quick trips through other heads. The heads all had similar names: Jackson/Daxton/Dax/Jack/Mac/Brad.

The love story was the best part here; Cade writes good relationships, not only between lovers, but with friends. I wish the adventure had matched. 3 Marbles


  1. Hi Cryselle,

    I wanted to thank you for reviewing Treasure of Love. Being a diver myself, I really enjoyed writing it and I'm so excited that you got Jack and Dax's complex relationship. I'v been hearing the "gay for you" thing from some people and it really is not that at all. It's more of a discovery and a light switch when you meet the right person.

    But mostly I wanted you and your readers to know that the story was based on the actual wreck of the Sara Nevada located in the Lynn Canal. I did weeks of research about the wreck, the mystery surrounding the wreck, what the conditions were when the ship went down, what the ship was said to be carrying and... then more research about the opium market during that period and the Russian Drug Cartel. From all the research, I pasted together a story. So, all the facts that you consider to be unrealistic are directly from the ships records and my other research including the way the opium was packed as Salt Cod. The ship was lying in less then fifty feet of water at the deepest point and again, according to my research, life lines are not used at that depth, nor are they used when a ship is not completely flooded. Also, when they were alomst out of air, they were inside a compartment that was not flooded and it would have done them no good to have tanks below the surface. Lastly, the ship was like a vault that had been locked many years ago and untouched until it was reopened during the story.

    I don't usually respond to reviews, because they are simply people's opinion, but it is a little disheartening to have painstakingly done so much research to have your review make it sound as if I made up the story and the events surrounding it.

    Scotty Cade

  2. Thanks for explaining some of the background; I was interested enough in the opium aspect to look around a bit myself, but only found out about the traffic north out of Afghanistan and west into the bigger Russian cities and Europe, so clearly there's a lot more to it.

    I do have the greatest respect for research, and so I fear that what we have here is a case of truth being stranger than fiction, but all making sense to someone with specialist's knowledge.

    I did find out a bit about the strange history of the Clara Nevada as well, and thought that building a story around a real shipwreck was cool. Apparently it's a pretty popular dive site.

    However, a wreck is essentially a man-made cave. It's dark in there and easy to get turned around. Lights don't penetrate as far as you'd think. A team that goes in without a safety line marking the fastest way back out is asking for trouble. You have them depending on this:

    "―The problem is that I don‘t know how to find you,‖ Jack snapped. ―I wasn‘t down there, remember?‖

    A thought hit Dax immediately. ―Problem solved,‖ he said. ―Mac shot the entire thing on video. You and Brad can watch the video while we‘re below and you‘ll get to see the entire adventure and know exactly where to find us if something goes wrong.‖"

    "Gay for you" never entered my mind. I saw it as "gay, and want you!" I enjoyed that part of the story very much.

  3. Thanks Cryselle,

    I really appreciate you taking the time to look into all the different aspects of the wreck and the opium trade. It became more and more interesting to me as well during my research and the more I dug, the more I found, so was perfect food for thought. Anyway, I do appreciate you taking the time to do such a through review.


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