Beneath Still Waters, Cynthia A. Graham
Genre: Contemporary/Historical/Murder Mystery/Deep South/PTSD
Publisher: Blank Slate Press (31 March 2015)
Hick Blackburn, a reluctant sheriff with a troubled past is called to the scene. With nothing to go on except the baby’s race and sex, the task of discovering who she is and how she died challenges all of Hick’s investigative skills. But Hick faces a deeper challenge. The vision of the infant has left him shattered, a reminder of a war crime he has tried to lock away, a crime that has begun to eat away at the edges of his life, destroying him one relationship at a time.
With the aid of his deputies, Hick will begin to piece together his investigation, an investigation that will lead him to question everything. As he is forced to examine the town he grew up in, he will come to terms with the notion that within each of us lays the propensity for both good and evil. His investigation will turn up lies and ignorance, scandal and deceit, and the lengths a mother will go in order to hide her shame.
Graham has written an engrossing and deeply thought provoking southern gothic tale about the good and bad in human nature and of the demons which haunt and torment the particular characters in her novel, and of how they cope (or not) and justify their, at times misguided, actions.
Beneath Still Waters is a murder investigative tale with a troubled love story running parallel and historically through it. Although not as dark or violent as some crime novels I've read it does have disturbing themes such as infanticide and its relative autopsy details which in my view was done sympathetically and very realistically without being too gross or in anyway excessive. However, because some readers may find such issues disturbing, I wouldn't recommend it to those sensitive to such topics.
One quibble I did have was that the last 10% or so was used to tie-up, 'all of', the loose ends, including ribbons and bows. This resulted in the previous easy pacing becoming rushed, and for me had a 'Miss Marple' convenient ending. Some of the less fleshed out characters from this point onwards became fuller bodied and it is with respect to these characters that I think it would have been best left for the follow-up book.
Even with my one 'teeny tiny' quibble, I enjoyed Beneath Still Waters very much and am looking forward to reading Graham's follow-up novel, Behind Every Door, which takes place a few years later, (publish date, 22 March 2016).
Disclaimer: A complimentary digital copy of Beneath Still Waters was provided by the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest unbiased review.
Cynthia A. Graham has a B.A. in English from the Pierre Laclede Honors College at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. She was the winner of several writing awards during her academic career and her short stories have appeared in both university and national literary publications. Cynthia is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, the Missouri Writer’s Guild, and Sisters In Crime. Beneath Still Waters is her first novel.
Cynthia A. Graham's TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Thursday, February 11th: Buried Under Books
Wednesday, February 17th: Bewitched Bookworms
Thursday, February 25th: Bibliotica
Monday, February 29th: Stranded in Chaos
Wednesday, March 2nd: Life is Story
Friday, March 4th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, March 7th: Kahakai Kitchen
Tuesday, March 8th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, March 9th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, March 10th: FictionZeal
Friday, March 11th: Luxury Reading
Monday, March 14th: SJ2B House of Books
Tuesday, March 15th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage