Untamed Shore is more a character driven crime story than thriller. While there are certainly mysterious elements and a hint of thrill, when I approached Untamed Shore that way, I felt disappointed. But when you view it as a character driven story crime story, Untamed Shore is allowed to shine.
Baja California, 1979. Viridiana spends her days watching the dead sharks piled beside the seashore, as the fishermen pull their nets. There is nothing else to do, nothing else to watch, under the harsh sun. She’s bored. Terribly bored. Yet her head is filled with dreams of Hollywood films, of romance, of a future beyond the drab town where her only option is to marry and have children.
Three wealthy American tourists arrive for the summer, and Viridiana is magnetized. She immediately becomes entwined in the glamorous foreigners’ lives. They offer excitement, and perhaps an escape from the promise of a humdrum future.
When one of them dies, Viridiana lies to protect her friends. Soon enough, someone’s asking questions, and Viridiana has some of her own about the identity of her new acquaintances. Sharks may be dangerous, but there are worse predators nearby, ready to devour a naïve young woman who is quickly being tangled in a web of deceit.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Untamed Shore is a character driven story with a rich atmosphere. Viridiana dreams of romance, of staring in her story instead of merely staying in the same town forever. Desperate to escape the path before her, her introduction to three tourists changes her life forever. They not only offer her glamor and a chance to witness a whole new life, but also secrets, intrigue, and danger. I was extremely interested in the promises of thriller, but Untamed Shore is more of a character driven mystery.
What you might expect of a thriller is delivered late in Untamed Shore. Beforehand, there is a subtle and ominous sense of danger. Additionally, Untamed Shore is more focused on Viridiana and how she reacts to the mystery element, not one of those stories where the intrigue takes over. We are not only asked where Viridiana’s loyalty lies, but also what she will do survive. The image of sharks haunts Untamed Shore, asking what Viridiana’s role in her own story is.
Searching for dreams and escapes, Viridiana’s character has to evolve throughout Untamed Shore. Will she be the one to eat or be eaten? Find Untamed Shore on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.