Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Expected publication: June 12, 2012 (Delacorte Books for Young Readers)
Series or stand-alone: Lies Beneath (1)
Source: E-ARC from the publisher
Further info/purchase: Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon
Find the author online: Twitter | Website
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy.
But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls.
Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.
Every once in awhile, a book comes along that, within a few pages of reading, you just know: it's special. And Lies Beneath is that book, in which Anne Greenwood Brown lures the reader deeper under the surface of her debut novel, and into a splendidly sinister tale of revenge, tinged with brilliant, slow burning chemistry between the main characters. Lies Beneath is everything the synopsis promises and more, opening with an introduction to Calder White, a singular merman, who - although he does participate in killing humans for survival purposes - seems to live by a different moral code than his seductive, predatory sisters. I at first was not sure if I would enjoy this type of book, from a male narrator; yet Calder was wildly surprising, pensive, and heart-felt even. Full of a need to escape the choke-hold his sisters have over him and his life, I could sympathize deeply with Calder.
Anne Greenwood Brown delivers a masterful tale of suspense, loyalty - sometimes misguided -, affections and secrets with Lies Beneath. I loved every minute of it, and devoured this book eagerly. I read it over the course of a few hours in two nights and the time I was away from it was rather painful, because I was thinking, wondering: what was going to happen next? I was immediately hooked on Lies Beneath, and really felt like for me, this story worked, as did the pacing. It never felt rushed, or too leisurely. Anne did a great job of balancing the mystery with the back story and romance, and building relationships between the characters. Even the big reveal - there is one, and it is pretty awesome - wasn't something I saw coming...but for once, I wasn't trying to figure out anything...I was too wrapped up in enjoying this book!
I really fell, hard, for Calder (he totally drives an old Impala...FOR THE WIN!), and for Lily. Both characters were fleshed out very well, and absolutely resonated. Anne Greenwood Brown did an amazing job of making me care about the characters in Lies Beneath. Calder and Lily's interactions were hilarious at times, with him trying to figure out how to act human, and her trying to make sense of him, and then sobering and wrenching at times, as they realized they were truly from two different worlds. I wanted to shake them both at times, but mostly, I wanted to see them happy, and my heart hurt for the two of them at various parts of Lies Beneath. Anne Greenwood Brown has definitely created two unique characters with Lily and Calder, and I simply couldn't get enough of them. Their chemistry and slow understanding of one another had my heart pounding more than once.
And Calder and Lily, although they were my favorites, weren't the only well-done characters in Lies Beneath. I really liked Lily's dad, Jason, and her relationship with her parents. It wasn't perfect because none of them were perfect - but it was genuine and it was real. And I also found Calder's sisters to be really fascinating - sometimes creepy, especially the domineering Maris - but nevertheless completely absorbing characters. I want to know much more about Pavati and I felt so bad for Tallulah more than once. I really do wish we'd seen a bit more into their motivations, what made them tick, other than the need for revenge against the Hancock family.
Overall, if you're looking for a fast-paced, delicious mystery, with undercurrents (I couldn't help it) of danger, romance, and the supernatural, I would definitely recommend Lies Beneath. It's the first in a possible series, though there will be at least one more book, Deep Betrayal, and I for one cannot wait to read it. Anne Greenwood Brown has a flowing writing style that never feels choppy or ethereal, but rather gets to the heart and soul of the story she's telling, and I'll be anxiously waiting for more of Calder White.
Are mermaid books the next big thing? With several due out this year, it would seem so. How do you feel about this, happy, sad, impassive? What do you think of books told from a male's POV?