Thanks to NetGalley for a complimentary copy of What Lies Beneath. This is an honest review.
I’m going to do this review a little differently. For those of you who’ve read a lot of my previous reviews, you’ve probably guessed that that means it wasn’t a great book and there’s a list coming up…
And you would be right!
So, without further ado, let’s get into the review of What Lies Beneath, penned by J.G. Hetherton.
I have to deviate significantly from the blurb on Goodreads because that one almost seems like it’s for a different book. You can check that one out here.
My blurb goes like this: Journalist, Laura Chambers, gets called in to identify the remains of an accident victim. Except, the body is so broken and damaged that Laura can’t recognize the woman. Then Laura discovers that the woman’s last call had been to her. And so begins Laura’s descent into chaos. Hell-bent on finding answers, she bends rules where required, faces off against a police officer who hates her guts, and discovers that a friendship from her long-forgotten past has ties to her present. Who was the woman who died on the highway? Why had she called Laura? And what did any of it have to do with an old friend that Laura had lost touch with decades ago?
3 out of 10
6 out of 10
3 out of 10
6 out of 10 for its mystery
4 out of 10
Part of a Series:
Yes. This is Book #2 in the Laura Chambers series. However, most people who’ve read it said it stood on its own without much concern. I don’t know if the first one was any better, especially on the characterization, but I did feel like I may have lost out a bit by not having read the first one – especially regarding getting a feel for any of the persons involved.
What Worked and What Didn’t:
- What Lies Beneath has an incredible start. It jumps right in and gets you hooked. The first couple of chapters are thrilling as heck!
- The rest of the book just plods along. I remember thinking, at one point, “This is moving really slowly. Maybe I should stop.” And then I saw that I was 56% in. At which point I realized that it was not moving slowly, but that was its actual pace – a lot of nothing happening.
- I feel like the main reason for that emotion was that the story was so vastly different from the blurb. For instance, there was no mention of Laura thinking that the picture she found was of “someone she had imagined”. There was very little confusion between her fact and fiction – more like questions about why things that happened (and that she remembers happening) had happened.
- I have never disliked so many characters in a single book. Okay, maybe I disliked the ones in Win by Harlan Coben more (review here), but this was a close second. Laura, in spite of being a victim, was so selfish and annoying that I could not find myself rooting for her at any point.
- That’s not to say that there were no glimpses of her ‘goodness’. They were just so rare that she’s just an unlikeable person. And having a main character you can’t root for makes it that much more difficult to be invested in the book.
- There’s also a lot of assumed characterization. Relationships and emotions spill over from the previous book, but none of it is explained. As a result, you feel like you’ve walked into the middle of a conversation where everyone is mad at everyone, irrational, and intentionally obtuse. I’m not saying Hetherton should have given the entire plot away. But some introduction would have been good at specific points to help understand what was happening. I’ve started a lot of series midway and have seen most authors do this, specifically to help with characterization.
- Plus, the writing style gets super weird at times. The author seems to get taken in with his own similes, and I often found myself lost in paragraphs that didn’t add anything to anything.
- Overall, the book is okay. It moves very slowly, doesn’t really fill you with active interest to know what happens next, and is oftentimes exhausting in both narration and conversation. All in all, worth a pass.
I had a lot of expectations going into What Lies Beneath, but I wouldn’t really recommend the book to anyone. If you love thrillers and mysteries, there are other, much better ones out there. And I’m definitely not going to be reading more from J.G.Hetherton. His style may be great for some, but it just didn’t suit my tastes.
Have you read What Lies Beneath or Last Girl Gone? Tell us what you thought in the comments below. And, as always, thank you for stopping at The Book Review Station and reading this review.