“The lies they tell can be deadly”
An intriguing and twisty domestic suspense about loyalty and deceit in a tight-knit Texas community where parents are known to behave badly and people are not always who they appear to be.
Galveston Island is a place with a lot of secrets. Catherine and her husband, Carter Callahan have moved home to be closer to his mother after the death of his father. At least that’s the story they tell.
The Callahan name is sacred here. Nothing goes on without their matriarchs approval or knowledge. Even the school is named for them.
Emily loved her old school. She hates this one. And when she finally does make a friend, Alex, a boy with his own demons, she begins receiving threatening notes.
Then Emily goes missing. Her clothes washed up on shore and no sign of her. Until the day of her funeral when she is found floating in the water with a life preserver on. Unconcious. Where has she been all this time? Every judgy mom in this book was awful. Even though they think they are protecting their children, they are actually harboring a rapist.
So the first half of the book I was intrigued. In the second half, I was frustrated. And the ending was not in the least believable.
NetGalley/February 8th, 2022 by MIRA
A sneak peek:
They find me faceup in the murky water of the harbor on the day of my funeral. Or memorial service. Whatever. It’s not like there’s much difference. Dead is dead.
Except I’m not. I. Am. Not. Dead. I would pinch myself if I could move.
“Can you hear me? Hey, what’s your name? Can you open your eyes?”
My eyes are as dense and heavy as basalt. Basalt: rich in iron and magnesium, Mr. Schwartz penned on the board during our volcanic rock unit in eighth grade. I fight to come out of the emptiness that has held me for the past…the past what? Hours? Days? Weeks?
I attempt to whisper my name even though my eyelids remain anchored. Emily. That’s right. Emily. I can’t remember the last time I voiced those three syllables.
“Pull her up.”
Hands yank at me, jerking me from the arms of the water. Two hands wander up my body—over my feet, my legs, the arch of my hips, my arms, onto my neck, stopping at my forehead. This touch is not like the familiar plying of the boy I love, so fiery that it almost stings. This touch is necessary, cold, perfunctory. Perfunctory, Mrs. Abbot, my sophomore English teacher had pronounced for us students as we learned the word for the first time. P-E-R-F-U—
The voice cuts in. “Tell them we have a girl, a teenager. No broken bones as far as I can tell but looks like she’s been out here for hours. Unconscious, but breathing on her own.” His voice muff les as he turns his head. “I think she might be Emily.”
Suddenly, a brilliant choir of tenors and baritones and basses burst forth. “The Emily?”
Emily. Yes, that’s me. What a comforting thing to hear one’s name spoken by those who can point the way home. I breathe in gratitude and descend into the lightness of sleep before a hand touches my cheek again.
“You awake, Emily?”
The swooshing of the waves calls to me, a reminder that the song of the deep is steady despite all the new sounds: The bustle of work boots, the hum of the boat waiting to churn to life and set out across the open sea.
“Your mama’s been looking for you, Ms. Emily. You gave us all a fright. You hear me?” The man seems to sense that I can hear his words while my body remains frozen despite the warmth of the water and the sun overhead. “You’re gonna be okay, sweetheart. Yes, ma’am, you’re gonna make it just fine. Got a daughter about your age, and I woulda been worried sick if my girl had gone missing for weeks on end. Your mama sure is gonna be happy.”
A nasal voice now. “Where you think she’s been all this time? Turned into a mermaid?” The boy chuckles.
The man’s hand touches my forehead, his fingers sandpapery with callouses. “Now, sweetheart, if you can open your eyes for a sec, I can introduce you properly to the crew. We’re getting you help as fast as we can, but you can go ahead and open them eyes before all the medics arrive. They’d be good and relieved to see you looking around.”
I try. Oh, how I want to flicker them open, but my head aches, and oblivion pulls harder. The siren call of the void is too tempting to resist.