Lies Beneath

Lies Beneath

4.1 36
by Anne Greenwood Brown

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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 must prey on humans and absorb their positive energy. Usually, they select their victims at random, but this time around, the underwater clan chooses its target for a reason: revenge. They want to kill Jason Hancock,… See more details below


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 must prey on humans and absorb their positive energy. Usually, they select their victims at random, but this time around, the underwater clan chooses its target for a reason: revenge. They want to kill Jason Hancock, the man they blame for their mother's death. 

It's going to take a concerted effort to lure the aquaphobic Hancock onto the water. Calder's job is to gain Hancock's trust by getting close to his family. Relying on his irresistible good looks and charm, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter Lily. Easy enough, but Calder screws everything up by falling in love--just as Lily starts to suspect there's more to the monster-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined, and just as the mermaids threaten to take matters into their own hands, forcing Calder to choose between them and the girl he loves. One thing's for sure: whatever Calder decides, the outcome won't be pretty.  

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brown debuts with a mermaid novel told from the perspective of Calder White, a gorgeous teenage merman, who is torn between his family's quest for vengeance and the girl he loves. Calder and his equally beautiful sisters have spent years seeking revenge for their mother's death; their intended victim is Jason Hancock, the adult son of the man responsible for killing their mother. When Jason and his family move to Bayfield, a Wisconsin town on Lake Superior, Calder is instructed to seduce one of Jason's daughters in order to lure him into the mermaids' trap. But as Calder gets closer to (and is attracted to) Lily, she begins to suspect his secret. The mermaids' plan is slow to unfold, and their de-termination to exact revenge for a death is somewhat puzzling, considering that they themselves kill humans regularly, feeding on human happiness to survive. Variations on questions common to paranormal romances—why is Calder (who is actually several decades old) so taken with 17-year-old Lily? why is Lily so calmly accepting of Calder's murderous habits?—remain baffling. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jacqueline Flynn, Joëlle Delbourgo Associates. (June)
Children's Literature - Enid Portnoy
From "The Little Mermaid" to other movies, cartoons, myths and fantastic sightings of half-fish, half-human creatures from the deep, Brown weaves a spell which is part reality and part fiction within a modern setting. The fantasy in the book pairs normal eighteen year old teenagers with merpeople of about the same age. They meet each other on the Apostle Islands along the shores of Lake Superior. Three mermaid sisters and their brother, Calder, a merman, have come together to take revenge on the person they believe killed their mother long ago. Calder is to play the role of a boyfriend of the daughter of the man the mermaids wish to lure into the depths of the lake. In the cold waters they will squeeze life out of him, just as they have done to other victims in the past. Readers who fantasize about mermaids and sea legends will undoubtedly identify with the plot, which is filled with romance, murder and mystery. When Calder begins to have doubts about his siblings' sinister plot he realizes that he has grown attached to his new human friends. He analyzes stories being circulated about a monster in the lake. He wonders if he will ever be able to reveal his true identity to people he likes. Is there any place which can promise him safety when his true identity is discovered? At times, the book's plot resembles a watery version of a vampire story, or one about an alien creature from a strange environment. However, to her credit, Brown offers logical explanations to several weird happenings and behaviors, such as how the merfamily morphs back and forth between sea and land. In spite of the phrase repetition "tingling sensations" used all too frequently, teen readers should find enough conflict and action to hold their attention on events. The plot and characters are different from other water adventures and leave readers anxious to see what will occur next. Brown catches the readers' sympathies as her characters try to live their double lives. Albert Einstein once suggested, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Readers will have to wait for the spring of 2013 to decide if they agree, when Brown promises to release a sequel in which the victim's daughter tells her side of the story, entitled Deep Betrayal.

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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I hadn’t killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that. Sure, I’d wanted to, but too many suspicious drownings got people talking. Fearful towns- people were the last thing I needed. Besides, I was getting a sick thrill out of denying my body what it craved. Self-­control was my latest obsession. I doubted my sisters could say the same thing.

Rising through the Caribbean waters, I walked my fingers up the bank of dead coral until I found the pattern of cracks I was looking for. I followed it to the surface, coming up at the spot where I’d stashed my pile of human clothes. My cell phone was ringing somewhere in the pile. Maris, I thought, gritting my teeth. I’d lost count of how many times she’d called today. I’d let all her attempts go to voice mail.

A splashing sound pulled my attention from my sister’s ringtone, and I jerked around to face the ocean. An easy hundred yards away, a girl lay on an inflatable raft. A yellow light outlined her body. She wasn’t ripe yet. Maybe, if I waited, the yellow light would grow into something more brilliant—­more satisfying—­more worth breaking my hard-­won self-­control over.

Against my will, the memory of my last kill teased the corners of my brain. It tempted me, mocked me for ever thinking I could rise above my nature. My fingers twitched at the months-­old memory: the grabbing, the diving, the guise of human legs giving way to tail and fin, the tingling sensation heating my core as I pinned my prey to the ocean floor, absorbing that intoxicating light, drawing the brilliant emotion out of her body until I felt almost . . .

Oh, what the hell.

But before I dove after the unsuspecting girl, my cell went off again. For a second I considered chucking it into the ocean; it was the disposable kind, after all. But that was a little extreme. Even for me. I let it go to voice mail. I mean, it wasn’t like I didn’t know why Maris was calling. The old, familiar pull was back. That pull—­somewhere behind my rib cage, between my heart and my lungs—­that told me it was almost time to leave Bahamian warmth and return to my family in the cold, bleak waters of Lake Superior. It was time to migrate.

A shiver rippled down my arms. Get a grip, Calder, I told myself. Ignore it. You don’t have to leave quite yet. I could hear the memory of my mother’s voice telling me the same thing, just as she had before my first migration. Focus, son, she’d said, rumpling my curly hair. Timing is everything.

Thirty years might have passed, but the loss of my mother still gripped my stomach. It hurt to remember. And the great lake only made the memories more painful. No, there was no good reason to go back to the States. Except that I had no choice.

The urge to migrate was irresistible. Far more powerful than the urge to kill. With each rise and fall of the moon, with each turn of the tide, it grew more impossible to ignore. Experience told me there were only a few more weeks before I had to rejoin my sisters. By the end of May, I’d be shooting through the water on a missile’s course. God help anyone who got in my way.

My cell went off again. With a resigned curse, I pulled myself halfway out of the water and dug through my clothes until I found it and hit Send.

“Nice of you to take my call,” Maris said.

“What do you want?”

“It’s time. Get home. Now.” Her voice, originally sarcastic, now rang with her usual fanaticism. I could hear my other sisters, Pavati and Tallulah, in the background, echoing her enthusiasm.

“Why now?” I asked, my voice flat. “It’s still April.”

“Why are you being such a pain?”

“It’s nothing.” There was a long pause on the other end. I closed my eyes and waited for her to figure it out. It didn’t take more than a few seconds.

“How long?”

“Five months.”

“Damn it, Calder, why do you always have to be such a masochist? God, you must be a mess.”

“I’m pacing myself. Mind your own business, Maris.” There was no point in trying to explain my abstinence to her. I could barely explain it to myself. I watched mournfully as the yellow-­lit raft girl paddled safely toward shore.

“Your mental health is my business. Do you think you could take better care of it? One kill, Calder. Just one. It would make you feel so much better.”

“I’m. Fine,” I spit through my teeth.

“You’re an ass, but that’s beside the point. I’ve got something to improve your mood.”

I rolled my eyes and waited for her to give it a shot. Good luck, I thought.

“We’ve found Jason Hancock.”

My heart lurched at the sound of the name, but I kept quiet rather than give in to her assurance. I’d heard this all before. My silence prompted something on the other end. Panic? Tallulah’s voice was now ringing through the receiver, a fluid stream of words almost too quick for me to catch.

I let my gaze drift up to the thin lace of clouds above me. My sisters sounded sure of themselves. Perhaps this time they’d gotten it right. “Fine. I’ll start off tomorrow.”

“No,” Maris said. “There’s no time for you to swim. Take a plane.”

She hung up before I could protest.

From the Hardcover edition.

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