Book Review: A diving thriller trilogy by J. F. Kirwan


I love to read a good book onboard a flight to a diving destination, or as we relax at the end of the diving day whilst sat on the top deck of a liveaboard or enjoying the final bits of sunshine on the beach. And with all the travelling I do, I get through a huge number of books, and so, I was delighted to meet Barry Kirwan on a recent liveaboard trip to Egypt. We were sat in the lounge of Emperor Asmaa and he was typing away on his laptop, or at least that was what he was trying to do, but I kept interrupting him. I finally asked what he was up to, and he said he was writing a book, and that he had already published a trilogy of thrillers that featured scuba diving. I was intrigued and wanted to know more…

As soon as I got home, I ordered all three and downloaded them onto my Kindle app on the iPad. I love a “real” paperback book, but the trilogy is only available as ebooks, so I would have to make do. The trilogy: 66 Meters, 37 Hours and 88° North revolve around a strong central female character called Nadia Laksheva, a Russian who gets caught up in saving the world, whilst trying to save her sister. The main characters, Nadia and Jake (Ex-MI6 intelligence analyst) are both divers, and each adventure sees them diving somewhere in the world, sometimes in exotic locations, and sometimes less so!

The pace of the books is perfect and, to use a cliché, they are real page-turners. I found myself staying up far too late each night, just to see how their latest escapade turns out. They are edge-of-your-seat thrillers with a hint of old-school James Bond style espionage intertwined. The stories are well-told, and as Barry is an experienced diver, the dives are beautifully described and, as far as I know, technically correct too. Each book grabbed my attention right from the very first page and held me to the very end.

My only criticism of the trilogy is the somewhat stereotypical portrayal of sharks as mindless killing machines. I understand that these books are thrillers and meant to be tense and exciting but as our two lead characters are both experienced divers, their fear of sharks did not ring true to me. But then I am particularly sensitive to this issue.

Each of the three books was a compelling read. They had great plots that will appeal to divers, as well as anyone that loves a good thriller. Aside from our two lead characters, a host of well-rounded supporting cast members are there to keep you wondering who exactly are the goodies and who are the baddies and how will it all turn out… Well, I don’t want to give the story away, so you will just have to read them yourselves.

Take them on your next diving holiday, although you may end up skipping a dive or two, as you get fully immersed in the world of Nadia Laksheva!

For more information about the author click here:

The books can be bought here:

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are a husband and wife team of underwater photographers. Both have degrees in environmental biology from Manchester University, with Caroline also having a masters in animal behaviour. Nick is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in underwater wildlife photography and he also has a masters in teaching. They are passionate about marine conservation and hope that their images can inspire people to look after the world's seas and oceans. Their Manchester-based company, Frogfish Photography, offers a wide range of services and advice. They offer tuition with their own tailor made course - the Complete Underwater Photography Award. The modules of the course have been written to complement the corresponding chapters in Nick's own book: Underwater Photography Art and Techniques. They also offer equipment sales and underwater photography trips in the UK and abroad. For more information visit

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