Monday 11 October 2021

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Review: Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain (#Ad)

Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain

I received this eProof for free from Electric Monkey via NetGalley for the purposes of providing an honest review.

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Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain

Published: 2nd September 2021 | Publisher: Electric Monkey | Source: NetGalley
Ginny Myers Sain’s Website

La Cachette, Louisiana, is the worst place to be if you have something to hide.

This tiny town, where seventeen-year-old Grey spends her summers, is the self-proclaimed Psychic Capital of the World--and the place where Elora Pellerin, Grey's best friend, disappeared six months earlier.

Grey can't believe that Elora vanished into thin air any more than she can believe that nobody in a town full of psychics knows what happened. But as she digs into the night that Elora went missing, she begins to realize that everybody in town is hiding something--her grandmother Honey; her childhood crush Hart; and even her late mother, whose secrets continue to call to Grey from beyond the grave.

When a mysterious stranger emerges from the bayou--a stormy-eyed boy with links to Elora and the town's bloody history--Grey realizes that La Cachette's past is far more present and dangerous than she'd ever understood. Suddenly, she doesn't know who she can trust. In a town where secrets lurk just below the surface, and where a murderer is on the loose, nobody can be presumed innocent--and La Cachette's dark and shallow lies may just rip the town apart.
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I was originally drawn to Deep and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain because of the beautiful cover, but knew I had to read it as soon as I read the blurb. A murder mystery set in a town full of psychics, right on a bayou? How could I not read it? And it was absolutely incredible!

Grey lived in the small town La Cachette - the hidding place - right up until she was eight, and her mother died by suicide. Since then, she's lived with her father, but would return to the bayou, go back home, every summer, to live with her grandmother. Back to where she belongs, back with the other Summer Children, her friends who were all born in the same summer. Only this year is different. Six months ago, her best friend Elora disappeared without a trace. La Cachette is grieving, and Grey especially so. But as Grey tries to piece together what happened that night, she discovers links to La Cachette's past, a past dark and full of secrets, and a stranger who connects them all. La Cachette's lies are slowly rising to the surface.

Dark and Shallow Lies is a slow burner. It's not action packed until quite near the end, but quiet and atmospheric, and utterly gripping. Grey's grief is palpable on every page, but she simply cannot accept that Elora is gone, and that's it. She needs to know what happened, to find out where she is, even as she she slowly comes to accept that Elora is most likely dead, and she's determined to discover the truth. But La Cachette has been looking for Elora for six months, what is Grey likely to find that they missed? So not a massive amount happens in the great scheme of things; Grey works at the Mystic Rose, her grandmother's shop, she hangs out with her friends, and she gets to know the stranger living out on Keller Island, Zale. Her friendships are different, especially with Hart, who was Elora's step-brother. Elora, Hart, and Grey were inseparable, and Hart is struggling just as much as Elora. Their relationship is strained; they're both lost without Elora, and only each other really understands the other's pain, but there is always that missing part. Add the fact that Grey has always been a little bit in love with Hart, an everything gets a little complicated.

As the weeks pass, Grey learns slithers of what happened that night, along with the flashes she's now having. In a town full of psychics, Grey was the only one who didn't have any kind of ability. #hart is an empath, and can feel others' emotions like they're his own; Elora was a water witch; Honey, Grey's grandmother, is a medium and gets messages from the dead; Sera and Sander, twins, get visions that they translate into art; Mackey gets death warnings just before someone dies; Case can bilocate, be in two places at once. But Grey has spent her whole life being the odd one out, until now. Now, she's getting flashes, visions of the moments just before Elora's death. Little glimpses that give her very little information. But with her flashes and the slithers she learns from the people of La Cachette, and about the town's past, she tries to piece things together. And I right along with her.

I cannot tell you how many times my theories changed. I stuck with two most of the time, and kept switching between them as I read. I would be so sure about who the murderer was, but then we'd learn something that would make me doubt it, make me think it was something else, and become so sure again, only to end up doubting again. Back and forth I went throughout the whole story. I never knew who to trust, and Myers Sain kept me guessing right up until the very end. And I was completely wrong! We start to get some answers throughout the last 30% of the story, several reveals, and even as we got answer after answer, I still wasn't entirely sure who the murderer was, still going back and forth, to the point where I was at a complete loss as to who bloody killed her! But the reveals kept coming, and it just blew my mind. Dark and Shallow Lies might be a quiet slow burner, but my god, is it intricately plotted! When the pieces finally start to full into place, it was shock after shock. Each reveal just bowled me over, and I am just in such complete awe of how Myers Sain created such a story! Looking back over the whole thing, all those tiny slithers, all those subtle hints, and the red herrings! Dark and Shallow Lies is a goddamned masterpiece!

I also need to comment on the amazing symbolism. La Cachette is white all over, all of the buildings, the boardwalk the town is built on to raise it above the water level, everything. But underneath the white paint, the wood is starting to rot, and the wood is crumbling away - to the point where it collapses underneath Grey's feet at one point. While it looks so clean and pristine, underneath, La Cachette is rotting. Literally and figuratively. The secrets of the past are eating away at the town, and it was just so apt that the floor is literally crumbling away beneath them.

I can't not talk about the setting itself either, which is a character in itself. The Mississippi River, the bayou, Li'l Pass, the wetlands of Keller Island. Grey's love for the town, and where the town is located is just as strong as her love for Elora, and it breathes with it's own life. It's knows La Cachette's secrets, it knows them in it's bones, and I couldn't help but think that it had it's own opinion about what had been going on there. The hurricane that starts up and heads La Cachette's way over a number of days is no coincidence, not when the water turns on the town.

I stayed up late to finish Dark and Shallow Lies, because I couldn't put it down as things were revealed, and I just had to know. And then I lay in bed for ages just thinking about it. Not just about how intricate and clever the plotting was, but just how incredibly heartbreaking this story is. I absolutely could not help but hurt for the characters. It's so overwhelmingly sad; what happened in the past, what happened six months ago, and what is happening right now. While the reveals were all completely shocking, they were also unbelievably tragic, and I was just so overcome. This book really hit me like a ton of bricks.

Dark and Shallow Lies is such an incredible story. Expertly crafted, keeping you guessing until the very, very end, and but also absolutely agonising. I completely adore this book, and cannot recommend it enough. Ginny Myers Sain is not an author to miss, and I will look forward to whatever she writes next.

Thank you to Electric Monkey via NetGalley for the eProof.

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