Wednesday, January 25, 2017

On My Nightstand - Understory by Lisa J. Lickel

Lily Masters knows something isn't right when her stepbrother, Art Townsend, sets up an interview for her in the Wisconsin woods. She decides to seek help from a friend, but gets lost in a blizzard.

Cameron Taylor, a former literature professor, finds Lily almost frozen to death near his cabin. He's hiding away while writing his grandparents' biography. He accidentally stirs up a cold case murder in the process.

While I met Lisa Lickel around the writing scene, this is the first book I've read authored by her. Understory shows many layers of trust, truth, and lies. The characters' fears were palpable and their wariness of strangers made for a spine-tingling reading experience.

I've read numerous novels that covered hot topics like interracial relationships, civil rights, and sex trafficking. Rather than a hit-you-over-the-head telling of the story, the author allowed the events to reveal attitudes and perceptions in an organic manner.

Understory held my attention and delivered a satisfying ending. Five stars.

Disclaimer:  I received this book in a blog giveaway. Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a review. All opinions expressed, as always, are mine and mine alone.

Writers and Readers:  Do you write/read novels that deal with controversial/hot topics? Please share.


quietspirit said...

Susan: I sometimes do. But when it happens it's because the controversy appears in the story. I don't go out of my way to find controversy in real life. It goes back to some upheaval in my background. I didn't like it then and try to steer clear of that stuff now.

Lisa Lickel said...

Thank you for leading this discussion, Susan. Since I first started the premise for this book nine years ago, the original theme was going to be insurance fraud, but at the time it seemed an overdone issue. The story gradually morphed into a larger story beyond Lily to include her family and what they were willing to do to each other. I wrote much of the story even before race reared its head again in our nation. The idea of how we look at the world from our prejudicial perspectives is something I'd always wanted to explore -- whether we were "marked" on the obvious outside, or inside at our deepest core, where others can't see.