I was excited to read more of the alien and tortured creature, Calder White. Brown's ability to make him sympathetic without softening too many of his predator's edges was one I my favorite aspects of LIES BENEATH.
While Calder didn't let me down, I had a very hard time reading the first third of DEEP BETRAYAL. There's more focus on the who/ what/ where events at the end of LIES BENEATH, which was confusing even to someone who read it. Even worse, what little character driven story there was on the front end was Lily's post adventure woes. Juxtaposing her "I want to go home and be with my boyfriend" pouting against the very real danger of vengeful mermaids and her father's transformation makes her look so... petty. Not a great start to our reintroduction. While I didn't buy into Lily's worries, she did have me wondering why Calder put up with her. Oh wait, that's right, everyone else in the world thinks he's dead or wants to kill him. You're right, Lily, you have it *sooo hard*.
Even worse, what new tension is introduced centers on a mysterious necklace that Lily starts wearing. It's established very early on that it effects Lily's aura in a bad way... Why is this not a quick fix? The waters get murky with mid altering magic and subtle persuasions, but the result of those influences just make Lily seem all the more irrational on the page. Magically induced too-stupid-to-live is easier to forgive, but just as hard to read.
All those growing pains were worth it in the end, however, as Brown left me with a sense of joy, of happy imagination and possibilities. If I were one of Calder's mermaid family, I'd be swimming away electrified with the excitement of endless, happy possibilities.
Full Review to follow.
Sexual Content: Kissing.