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MARCH 2016

Charlie Sweetwater saw Mexico—especially the Mexican Gulf Coast—as a spiritual second home. He’d worked, played and lived there for much of his life, and thought the country suited him better than anywhere this side of his home on the Texas Coast.


But now a worrisome and potentially dangerous development has shown up on Charlie’s radar. Young Augustus Sweetwater, affectionately known as Augie, hasn’t reported in after completing a south-of-the-border sales trip for Sweetwater Marine. Raul, Augie’s father and Charlie’s nephew, is worried sick. Drug cartel violence in Mexico has reached epidemic proportions and Augie’s path took him through the heart of the narcotraficantes’ territory.

Charlie figures Augie just went off the grid to do some well-deserved fishing, surfing and beer-drinking at the end of his trip. He’d done the same in his time. But as Augie’s unexplained absence grows, Charlie and Raul become increasingly alarmed and set off for Mexico to bring their boy home.


What they unearth is far more than the sum of their fears. The familiar and friendly Gulf of Mexico has turned into a hidden sea plagued by smugglers, human traffickers, crooked politicians and even pirates. And Augie is lost somewhere in the middle of it all.


Charlie and Raul must summon an unlikely cast of characters to aid them, including a hilariously dissolute ex-pat musician, a priest whose faith struggles against the rising tide of refugee migration, a Mexican tycoon who may have secrets of his own and a beautiful maritime “repo man”. At the end of their quest, as the deepest secret of all is revealed, Charlie Sweetwater learns that neither Raul and Augie, nor the Gulf of Mexico, nor even himself, will ever be the same again.


“A terrifically worthwhile read…definitely one to add to the library.” Read the review

    — Lisa Brown-Gilbert for 

“Arceneaux sets a breathless pace from the beginning…Proficiently develops characters, relationships, and storylines in the midst of nonstop action.” Read the review

    — Kirkus Reviews 

“Hidden Sea is viscerally atmospheric, like Jimmy Buffett but a little mournful, with razor edges. Is it an elegy? An ode? A lamentation? Maybe, but Arceneaux still makes you want to don your shades and a funky hat, shove your toes in the sand, and while away the afternoon with a drink accessorized by a tiny umbrella.” Read the article

    — Michelle Newby, Lone Star Book Reviews


“Arceneaux’s talent for crafting clever plots peopled by colorful characters is informed by a willingness to put a human face on both those who knowingly engage in the slave trade, which they depict as drawing its lifeblood from the flood of refugees from Central America, and those who enable them.”  Read the article

    — Ed Conroy, For the Express-News

“A riveting story from Texas that wanders down the cartel-infested Gulf Coast of Mexico and drifts across to lawless Cuba. The characters are as salty as the sea and the plot pulls you along as powerfully as the Loop Current.”

    — W.F. Strong, Stories from Texas, Texas Standard Radio Network

“Hidden Sea is a total blast: smart, funny, and riveting, with unforgettably colorful characters and a world so alive that you’ll swear you’re really there.”

    — Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone


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