I received an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.
In Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain, Grey returns to her hometown in Louisiana for the summer, but everything feels different. Her lifelong best friend, Elora, went missing three months ago, and no one knows if she’s dead or alive. And being a town that is filled with clairvoyants and psychics, the mystery is even stranger. So Grey is determined to find out what happened to Elora, and in doing so starts to unearth secrets that get darker and darker the more she learns.
The first thing I want to mention is how great the atmosphere is—everything feels so ominous and haunting. I can really picture the town, and Sain does a wonderful job portraying the humidity and heat of the place. It’s all so vivid, and really draws you into the story.
I also thought the mystery was really intriguing. The idea that a girl could go missing, and no one seems to know what happened, despite this being a town of psychics, was fascinating. I liked watching the gradual shift in the relationships between the characters. Grey was a good protagonist, and the other characters like Hart and Evie were well-written as well. There are quite a few secondary characters, and yet they are all distinct, and I wasn’t confused about who was who.
I can’t go too much into the plot without delving into spoilers, so I’ll just say that the final climactic revelations were really intense and exciting. I didn’t see it coming, but it was pretty compelling to see what exactly happened to Elora, and how, and why.
In the end, Dark and Shallow Lies is a great debut novel from a really promising author. The setting is vivid and palpable, the characters are full of secrets and have complex relationships with each other, and the mystery at the heart of this story is eerie. It didn’t completely blow my mind, but it definitely kept my attention and kept me guessing. I also kind of wish the crocodile had featured more, but that’s a minor—and probably slightly weird—thing to want.
Overall rating: 8.5/10
Dark and Shallow Lies is now published!