Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Lies Beneath

Lies Beneath

Anne Greenwood Brown
For ages 14 and up
Random House, 2012   ISBN: 978-0385742016

Calder is spending the cold winter months in the warm Caribbean, and he has managed to avoid killing anyone for months. Calder is a merman, a creature that kills humans so that he can steal happy human emotions. Such emotions are like a drug to mermaids and mermen, and they crave it. Calder is just about to give into his need to kill when he gets a phone call from his sister, Maris. She is summoning him home because she and her sisters, Pavati and Tallulah, have found Jason Hancock.

   Many years ago, at Lake Superior, Maris’ mother ran into Jason’s father, Tom Hancock, who was boating on the lake. She was about to grab him and take him under the water to harvest his emotions when he made a deal with her. If she would let him go he would bring her his baby son. Maris’ mother agreed to this deal and let Tom go, but he did not keep his promise. While she was trying to find Tom to punish him for going back on his word, she swam into a fishing net and died.

   Maris and her sisters have been waiting for their opportunity to have their revenge on Tom Hancock. They have decided that they will take Tom’s son Jason, thus taking what their mother was never able to claim. They want their brother Calder to help them achieve their goal, even though he isn’t really interested in doing so.

   Unlike Maris, Tallulah, and Pavati, Calder wasn’t born a merperson. He was human who fell off a boat when he was only three. Maris’ mother chose to save him and turned him into a merperson, and now he is tied to the three sisters whether he wants to be or not. Maris has promised that she will set Calder free if he helps her claim her mother’s debt.

  Calder travels north where he connects up with his sisters in Minneapolis. The plan is that Calder will befriend one of Jason Hancock’s daughters to get close to the man. Jason moves his family up to a small town on the shore of Lake Superior and Calder has no difficulty making friends with Jason’s daughters. He is a very handsome young man, and like all mermaids and mermen, he has the ability to charm humans into falling in love with him. For some reason his abilities do not work on Lily, Jason’s older daughter. Calder has to work hard to gain her trust and then her affection. The problem is that in the process he starts to fall for Lily. He begins to realize that he cannot bear the idea of her being hurt in any way, and if Maris claims Jason and kills him, Lily will be devastated. Calder has no idea what to do, but he is willing to risk everything to protect Lily,

   If you are looking for a story about warm and loving mermaids, then this book is not for you. The merpeople in this tale are cold blooded killers who have no qualms about killing humans so that they can absorb their happy emotions. Though his sisters are deadly, and Calder has the potential to be the same, he is different. He does not see humans as prey, instead appreciating that they have feelings and needs just as he does.

   This thrilling and often chilling story will delight readers who like a tale that is unpredictable and exciting. The characters change and secrets are revealed as the story unfolds.