Songs From The Deep (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Author : Kelly Powell
Published By : Margaret K. McElderry Books
Year Published : November 5, 2019
Genre / Tags : Mystery, Contemporary, Fantasy, Thriller
Formats : Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
# of Pages : 304 pages (Hardcover)
A girl searches for a killer on an island where deadly sirens lurk just beneath the waves in this gripping, atmospheric debut novel.
The sea holds many secrets.
Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he’s one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.
Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.
Songs From The Deep is a YA mystery novel. I was expecting perhaps a thriller with killer sirens, what it ended up being is a low key and elegant cozy mystery about sirens and secrets within a small seaside town.
This book is almost strikingly down to earth and relaxed. It creates a tangible atmosphere of normalcy with descriptions of a small town and its sights. Our main character, Moira, is a violin teacher. The foremost supporting character is Jude, a lighthouse keeper. They were childhood best friends and are starting to rekindle their friendship. One is hiding secrets from the other, and from the reader. Those subtle hints toward larger mysteries develop early and provide depth separate from the prevailing murder mystery plot line.
A young boy is found dead on the beach and sirens are the assumed culprit, though Moira and Jude wonder if a citizen of their peaceful little town might be responsible. As the sole perspective of this story, Moira has a kind of dour quality to her. Not senselessly so, but certainly not a bright and energetic type of heroine. She’s quiet and low key, and a fine match to the atmosphere of the story.
One of the greater aspects of this title for me was the eerie juxtaposition of the sleepy picturesque town with the presence of dangerous sirens rising from the water and watching Moira play the violin on a cliff, or semi-submerged in water, looking at people in general on the beach.
The sirens typically mind their own business but can occasionally be found wandering the beach- they seem to look like beautifully odd humans but have distinct skin and hair, hypnotizing eyes, and sharp needle-like teeth.
One of the areas in which I had to suspend disbelief was in the strange calmness of this town despite their presence. Moira and Jude are simultaneously fearful of yet want to protect these creatures. Especially Moira, whose father spent his life enamored by them. Any humans bearing iron (in the form of a piece of jewelry, for example) will be left alone- but anyone venturing toward the water without that protection might be grabbed or put in a trance-like state.
I was fascinated by the sirens, but felt like the main characters were almost a little too calm and compassionate toward them. I do actually like that, it’s much preferable to; say, a ravenous bloodlust to destroy the odd beings.
Now to get into some technical bits, this book is quite G-rated outside of some disturbing descriptions of the sirens. Though classified as YA, I feel Songs From The Deep could easily categorize as adult fiction too. The characters are older than average and there is never any markedly juvenile aspect to the proceedings outside of the simply digestible and eminently readable writing style. I zoomed through this book in a little over a day. The pace would slow at several points but I mostly attributed that to the gradually creeping atmosphere. Overall, it was a very enjoyable read that wraps up nicely. I’d definitely be interested in trying more books by this author in the future.
Overall Rating – 8.5/10
Why You Should Try It – Very down-to-earth story and picturesque setting, interestingly contrasted with the presence of eerie sirens. Multiple mysteries that are wrapped up nicely by book’s end.
Why You Might Not Like It – The sleepy small town feel and the descriptions of such can slow down the pace. Moira can be glum, definitely not a vigorously likable or charming type of lead.
Note : Many thanks to Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for providing an ARC of this title for review.
Songs From The Deep (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Have you read Songs From The Deep or want to? Thanks in advance for your likes/comments and for reading this review. ~ Kitty