Deep Betrayal, by Anne Greenwood Brown

To borrow an image from the cultural zeitgeist, Anne Greenwood Brown's Deep Betrayal, the second book in her YA trilogy about killer mermaids lurking in the Great Lakes, is like Syfy's Sharknado: a ridiculously fun idea, poorly executed.

Deep Betrayal switches the narrative focus from merman Calder White to his half-human, half-mermaid girlfriend Lily. Lily's parents have sent her back to her old home to finish out the school year, but Lily has bigger problems than graduating from high school: it's been a month since she's heard from Calder, and her father (who knows nothing about his mermaid heritage) is increasingly drawn to large bodies of water. The moment school gets out, Lily charges back to her family's house on Lake Superior, but when a rash of inexplicable drownings happens on the lake, she can't help but wonder if Calder—or worse, her father—has succumbed to the merman's innate desire to kill.

To do it justice, Deep Betrayal isn't as problematic as the first book in the series, Lies Beneath. I was interested in Brown's attempt to incorporate some Native American legends, and intrigued by several mysterious new characters. (Of course, she doesn't do much with the legends and most of the new characters turn out to be red herrings, but at least the initial ideas were interesting.) Unfortunately, the basic set-up of this series is not salvageable. I simply cannot embrace a hero who is A) creepy, controlling, and decades older than the heroine, B) half fish, and C) a “reformed” serial killer. Nor can I embrace a heroine whose post-graduate plans consist of joining her boyfriend (of a few weeks, mind you) in the half fish/potential serial killer lifestyle. I don't know if anyone could write themselves out of this particular corner, but it's painfully clear that Brown isn't up to the task.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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