Untamed Shore came to me in a Storybundle. I usually get scifi or fantasy, and sometimes expand my mind a little by getting collections from international authors. So when I started reading this book, I was expecting something like Mexican fantasy/scifi. It isn’t. It’s a thriller, as it says in the blurb’s first line! I read it in July, and I’ve been putting off doing the review.
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Renowned author Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s first thriller, UNTAMED SHORE, is a coming-of-age story set in Mexico which quickly turns dark when a young woman meets three enigmatic tourists.
Baja California, 1979. Viridiana spends her days watching the dead sharks piled beside the seashore, as the fishermen pull their nets. There is nothing else to do, nothing else to watch, under the harsh sun. She’s bored. Terribly bored. Yet her head is filled with dreams of Hollywood films, of romance, of a future beyond the drab town where her only option is to marry and have children.
Three wealthy American tourists arrive for the summer, and Viridiana is magnetized. She immediately becomes entwined in the glamorous foreigners’ lives. They offer excitement, and perhaps an escape from the promise of a humdrum future.
When one of them dies, Viridiana lies to protect her friends. Soon enough, someone’s asking questions, and Viridiana has some of her own about the identity of her new acquaintances. Sharks may be dangerous, but there are worse predators nearby, ready to devour a naïve young woman who is quickly being tangled in a web of deceit.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one of the most exciting voices in fiction, and with her first crime novel, UNTAMED SHORE, she crafts a blazing novel of suspense with an eerie seaside setting and a literary edge that proves her a master of the genre. [goodreads]
Now that I’ve got over the several surprises this book had in store for me, I can confidently say it’s very good.
The atmosphere the author builds made me swelter on the bare beaches and rocky coves, and avoid the stink of the sharks–caught for their fins. Yes, It’s well described, and possibly more than I needed to know.
Viridiana (what a good name) is well characterised. All the characters are well drawn and believable, even when you don’t believe them. And I worried about what Viridiana was getting herself into from the start.
It’s a complicated plot, as you might expect from what is effectively a long con in the process of going wrong. It’s very clever, and very readable, since I kept going even though I wasn’t actually enjoying it. Gripping in a gentle sort of way. Holding your hand and not letting go, perhaps.
And because I really couldn’t work out what I thought of it, I delayed doing the review. It’s possibly a good thing, as the things that remain in my mind are of brilliant writing, amazing scenery, and people betraying each other. I ended up giving it 4 stars, which is good from me.