Paul J. Mila traded in his corporate suit for a wet suit in 2002 and now devotes his time to writing, scuba diving around the world, underwater photography, and speaking to groups about ocean conservation. He has enjoyed photographing and diving with sharks in the Bahamas and with diverse sea life in the Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Bonaire, Hawaii, Antigua, and in his home waters off Long Island, New York. In addition, he has had the opportunity to free-dive and photograph humpback whales in the Dominican Republic and the South Pacific Tonga Islands.
Paul’s underwater photos and videos have been featured in magazines, scuba diving websites, and used by National Geographic Television. His latest video, featuring a barracuda attack, will appear on National Geo Wild’s series, Caught in the Act, 10pm ET on Monday June 17th and 8 pm ET on Friday, June 21st.
He also publishes a monthly online newsletter, The Sea-gram. www.sea-gram.com. Diving in the same waters as the characters in his books has enabled him to write with realism, and describe for non-diving readers the beauty and wonder of exploring our undersea world.
How I became a writer:
My original career was in finance and banking. However I always enjoyed writing, and often thought about writing a novel one day but had no ideas for a story.
On a vacation in Cozumel before I decided to leave corporate life, I met a dive instructor who divulged her very interesting background. Consequently, the idea for a dive adventure featuring a strong female character emerged. My dive instructor became the model for the main character in my first novel, Dangerous Waters, and in subsequent stories, Whales’ Angels, Fireworks, and Near Miss.
Near Miss Synopsis:
Husband and wife diving duo Terry and Joe Manetta return in this adventure, along with a new cast of unforgettable tropical characters.
Displaced international consultant Dayle Standish heads for the Caribbean, following a losing battle involving corporate intrigue and blackmail. Diving Cozumel’s azure waters, Dayle photographs a mysterious encounter inside a deep underwater cave. Soon after, a deadly assassin working for a foreign intelligence service starts targeting Cozumel dive operator Terry Manetta’s customers. But Dayle is determined not to become the next victim, keeping one step ahead of a relentless killer pursuing her across the Atlantic and back to the Mexican Caribbean.
If I had to sum it up Near Miss in 30 or less words, I would you say:
A young woman’s life is turned upside down after she accidentally photographs a secret encounter inside a deep underwater cave in the Mexican Caribbean.
The Inspiration behind Near Miss:
Scuba diving several years ago at Cozumel Mexico’s famous Palancar Reef, I noticed numerous bricks scattered on the sea floor, remnants of cargo from a nineteenth-century shipwreck. Divers typically move the bricks around and then continue their dive.
Watching the movie Letters to Juliet, a scene struck a chord with me. Vanessa Redgrave’s character explained that “What” and “If” are two of the most powerful words in the English language, especially when used together: “What if . . .”
Diving in Cozumel again, the dive master had paired me with a very interesting dive buddy, a spunky young lady from Australia. I spotted the bricks and began thinking, What if . . . there was something special about those bricks? I felt confident my Aussie dive buddy would make a fantastic female protagonist in a Caribbean thriller. I combined those thoughts and wondered, What if . . .
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There is nothing like a fast-paced, well-written mystery/thriller, and that exactly what Paul Mila has written in this fantastic story. Fromt the beginning, I was drawn into the story. Little hints were dropped here and there, but the entire story did not come out until the book was almost done. And that is how it should be.
I am most impressed that the author based so much of the story on fact and actual people. Following the story, he points out exactly what is true within his tale, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it when authors do this. I learned so much about Cuba both past and present, and if you actually ruminate on some issues from this book, you may even find it troubling. Especially in light of current news events. But enough about that.
I honestly only have a couple of criticisms. I am glad there were no sexual encounters described within the book (but there were some allusions). I only wish that the occasional profanity was not there either. Because the book was written so impeccably, I basically overlooked this, but I could have done without the profanity. I also didn’t like the conclusion the author wrote. Those of you who are true romantics will love it, but I would have preferred it if the book stopped before that particular portion. It was actually a bit of a let-down for me, but that is just that I preferred not resolving that part of the story.
This is a phenomenal mystery that is fast-paced and still written with such a command of quality literary devices, especially point of view. I prefer mysteries that tell the reader the story from different perspectives, and that only added to the adrenaline rush of the novel. This is the perfect summer read, and lovers of mystery will want to pick this up for a day at the beach or the park.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.