Title: Lies Beneath
Author: Anne Greenwood Brown
Published June 12th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: Received for review from the publisher via NetGalley
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 irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting 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.
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown unfolds the tale of Calder White, a merman with three sisters. Despite Calder’s preference for warm waters, he is pulled north to migrate to Lake Superior with them every year. But this year is different. This year, they have a previous target in mind.
One of my favorite parts of reading a mermaid novel continues to be discovering the author’s interpretation of mermaids. Calder and his sisters are what amounts to energy vampires. They seduce their prey and drag them down to the floor of whatever body of water they happen to be in, and suck positive emotions away. Essentially, they suck the life right out of them. There’s more, of course, but the rules and secrets of mermaids are revealed as the plot of Lies Beneath progresses and I wouldn’t want to spoil any of that for you.
There are also moments in Lies Beneath that strongly reminded me of The Little Mermaid. Only… the positions of the male and female were reversed. Still, those small moments made me chuckle to myself in my reading of the novel.
Lies Beneath has many of the typical hallmarks of a paranormal romance. Boy is overprotective and undeservedly jealous. Boy has to resist killing girl. Girl unravels boy’s secret and ignores danger.
And ummm… girl is an English aficionado… Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the poetry sprinkled throughout Lies Beneath, but it only enforced the stereotypes of paranormal romance that I already had in mind.
And those are ordinarily factors that would have me write a book off. But I think what saved Lies Beneath from that fate for me was the fact that we see the paranormal romance from the male point of view this time.
Calder’s conflicts didn’t quite excuse the obvious issues that he as a love interest presented, but being in his head for the novel made all the difference. I suspect that if the positions were reversed– if Lies Beneath had been through Lily’s eyes instead, I’d have quickly grown irritated with both her and Calder. As it was, when Calder is trying to impress upon her the danger she and her family are in and she says something about “Ariel,” I totally understood Calder’s frustration– I wanted to shake Lily myself.
Greenwood Brown’s Lies Beneath also has subplots of Calder’s history and current desire to free himself from from the “school of fish” that is his family. The climax is gripping and brings the story to a satisfying conclusion.
I’d recommend Lies Beneath for fans of mermaids and paranormal romances. Even those former fans of paranormal romance who have grown tired of the cliches of the genre may enjoy this refreshing take, as I know I did.
Overall rating: 3.5/5. More enjoyable than most paranormal romances for me, I quite enjoyed the mermaids in Lake Superior in Anne Greenwood Brown’s Lies Beneath.