“Here be the beginnings of a superb series.”
—Ken Bruen, author of the Jack Taylor series
Duck Darley should have been a winner. Once a competitive swimmer destined for Olympic gold, he drank away his gilded youth and followed his fraudster father’s footsteps into prison. Barely scraping by as an unlicensed private investigator, Duck now chases down cheating spouses for the same Manhattan elite who once viewed him as equal, and drowns bitter memories with whatever fills his glass.
Duck’s lost glory days resurface when he’s tasked with finding the teenaged sister of a former teammate turned Olympic champion. Privileged Madeline McKay vanished over Labor Day weekend, leaving behind a too-perfect West Village apartment and a promising athletic career of her own. Duck thinks he’s hunting for a self-destructive runaway—until Madeline’s film student ex is savagely murdered, and the media spins her as the psycho who killed him.
As Duck searches for Madeline, he’s plunged back into the dark underbelly of Olympic swimming—a world rife with wild lies and terrible violence. And he soon learns that no matter how hard he tries to escape his past, demons still lurk beneath every surface . . .
Praise for Under Water
“Now and again a debut novel comes along that blows you out of the water. Charles Willeford is rarely mentioned much these days yet his Hoke Moseley series is among the true classics of the genre. Casey is the rightful heir. A novel that sparkles with wit, sass, and wonderful narrative style. The book sings in its sheer narrative momentum. Here be the beginnings of a superb series.”—Ken Bruen, author of the Jack Taylor series
“Casey Barrett should find himself in the big pool of crime writers with this deftly conceived, crisply written debut. Slick and brash, with a little New York hip thrown in, it does for competitive swimming what Megan Abbott did for gymnastics, exposing the poison at the heart of a coach’s and a family’s need to win.” —New York Times bestselling author Andrew Gross
“Casey Barrett, an ex-Olympian, knows what he’s writing about in this sordid tale of murder and sport. This one has it all: mystery, suspense, secrets, and a longing for new adventure. It should be mandatory reading for all thriller aficionados.” —New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry
“Casey Barrett knows the world of swimming as well as almost anyone. But who knew it could be the source of so much suspense?” —Bob Costas
“I loved it. Duck Darley is an original, smart, and sympathetic protagonist, the central mystery was really well thought through, the story gripping and the ending terrific. A great debut novel!” —Adrian McKinty, author of the Sean Duffy series
“Barrett has created a series character in Duck Darley that rivals any detective or PI out there today: a bourbon-drinking, fringe-living antihero you’ll find yourself rooting for despite his many flaws. I’m addicted . . .” —Charlie Donlea, author of The Girl Who Was Taken
“Deliciously lascivious and violent, Under Water’s hero is impossible not to cheer on. The pull of his dark world will keep readers captivated to the last page.”
—International bestselling author Kyle Mills
"Olympic swimmer Barrett dives into the disturbing side of competitive sport with his savage thriller debut."
- Publishers Weekly
"Barrett's first-person narrative has a music of its own, and his alcoholic hero, just two drinks away from seeking his next fix, is appealingly vulnerable even if the improbable pile of unspeakable felonies here will mainly bring to mind your mother's admonition: don't go near the water."
- Kirkus Reviews
"Duck is a protagonist you’ll love to hate, but his self-reflection, intelligence and tenacity to protect the weak make him an uncommon hero. The story is dark and gruesome at times, but its brash delivery makes it a totally engrossing mystery with a plethora of evil villains lurking in plain sight. This is a stunning debut filled with excesses, narcissism, greed, and evil delivered with some New York swagger.”
– RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
"An expertly crafted mystery that introduces the antihero you can’t help but root for, Duck Darley is witty, crass and endearing and quickly became one of my all time favorite characters."
- The Suspense is Thrilling Me, 4 Stars
"It's noir-ish and quite old school, but also quite pacy! A seedy undertone throughout the narrative... One for fans of James Ellory maybe? Recommended for sure!" - Bibliophile Book Club