Katherine Nichols, a former high school teacher, calls her new book, Deep Water, both a narrative non-fiction novel and a coming-of-age story. But even though it is published by Simon and Schuster’s Children’s Publishing Division and marketed to teenagers, it's a really good read for adults and a fun dive into a part of 1970s-1980s history that some Coronado, CA, residents would like to not remember. If you liked Breaking Bad, you may love this story because in Deep Water, published in early May, a high school teacher in Coronado, California, becomes part of a global marijuana smuggling operation that has ensnared a number of his former students, one of them initially swimming with packages of drugs to and fro between Mexico and California in the depth of night, before the business expands exponentially and requires major boating and hauling equipment.
Deep Water is based on a true story wherein, by the time it's over and the FBI, DEA and Mexican and Asian drug lords all have played their parts, the $100 million marijuana and hashish enterprise operates on both the east and west coasts of the United States. Told in large part from the point of view of Eddie Otero, a champion swimmer who knows the tides and currents of the ocean like the back of his hand, the book provides a very good insight into the immature but energetic minds of young adults and the hair-raising decisions they make. Easily swayed by the lure of big money and all it can bring, confused and uncertain about the legal but boring roles they can or want to play in the world of their parents and teachers, and driven by the overriding principle of wanting to have fun with your buddies, Eddie and his pals stumble into the treacherous world of drug lords and international crime syndicates. The question arises, "where were the parents" when Eddie buys a house at age 20, drives a Porsche, and pulls out wads of money to pay for dinners and wines in expensive restaurants without having an obvious legitimate source of money that can be determined?
But that's perhaps asking too much. Nichols, a Boston resident who grew up in Coronado where her father had been a city council member and a state court judge, is a longtime journalist, a very good swimmer, and currently living in Boston while studying for a MBA at Yale University.