Friday, March 4, 2016

Beneath Still Waters by Cynthia A. Graham

Author:  Cynthia A. Graham 
Publisher: Blank Slate Press
Date of publication: March 31, 2015

The swamps and bayous around Cherokee Crossing, Arkansas have always been dark and mysterious, but on this summer day two boys stumble across the remains of a baby girl, headless and badly decomposed. 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.

Beneath Still Waters is one of those debut novels that kind of sneaks up on you and ends up sticking with you long after you have finished the book.  I thought this book was beautifully written and ended up really liking it.  The story begins with a horrendous find, someone has killed a baby and left it in the swamp. Its's up to Hick, the youngest sherrif in the history of the town to find out what happened and find justice for baby Doe.  

What I liked about the book was how the raw emotion of the situation came across to me, the reader.  The entire situation was so heartbreaking, yet I couldn't stop reading through to the resolution. Hick was a great character.  He is so broken, yet determined to do his job.  Taking place in the aftermath of World War II, Hick and his deputies must rely on themselves to solve the mystery.  It was refreshing to read a mystery with out all of the CSI advancements that we have now.  

What  loved even more about this book is the way the author handled to reality of PTSD among the WWII soldiers who came back from the war.  I realized after reading this that I haven't really thought about what those soldiers went through and what they had to deal with when they came back.  It was just as bad as what our soldiers come back with today.  

I highly recommend this book.  I know it is one that will stick with me for a long time.  I would love to read more about these characters in this small town in the future.  Bravo for a great debut!

About Cynthia A. Graham

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


Jillian said...

Wow, this sounds so good. Thanks for sharing this review. I'm definitely keeping a note on this.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

There is so much story packed into this slim novel! It looks like one that should not be missed. Thanks for being a part of the tour!