Undertow by K.R. Conway
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Self-published: Wicked Whale Publishing
Copyright @ 2013
Review: 4 and 1/2 stars
Blurb: Eila [Eye-la] Walker's new home has defied the brutal Atlantic for over 100 years. Abandoned since her 4th great grandmother, Elizabeth, vanished, the town legend declares that she drowned...or was struck by lightning. Unbeknownst to the town and Eila however, is that someone does know what really happened to Elizabeth, and he has returned, determined to protect the last surviving Walker from a history of violence. A soulless killer himself, Raef will attempt to keep Eila safe from his own kind who murdered her grandmother so long ago. But what starts out as a quest for redemption evolves into something more, and soon Raef is forced to reveal the truth to Eila. As hidden secrets about their warring families come to light, Eila begins to realize she may be their best shot at survival...even if it means following in her grandmother's fearless footsteps to save her killer bodyguard.
Eila is a Kansas girl who ends up moving to Cape Cod. She discovers culture shock from the way us Massachusetts people speak to our seafood. (The fact that she dislikes seafood offends me but I let it go). There she lives with Mae, who was a friend of her mother but is now her guardian. The first Cape native Eila meets is MJ. MJ is the quirky and goofy comic relief and probably my favorite character out of the bunch. If you're looking for cheesy jokes MJ has them. Ana is MJ's friend who is a little bit of a hard ass (well in Eila's mind at least), likes to fix cars, and can read people's thoughts. Raef is the mysterious sexy boy who is new to town and watches Eila outside her window. Creepy, but there is a reason for that. He's also 160 years old but looks 18 and Eila has the hots for him. Kian is the cocky 'brother' of Raef who is close to his age (the 160 years old part). They also live together on a yatcht.
Besides the characters being an interesting like-able cast. It's setting is local (well for me). Some of the places discovered in this book are the Cape, Newport and Boston. We also end up at the Vanderbilt's mansion. For some reason- that you have to find out by reading the book.
When you think you have everything figured out you don't. I thought the book was going to go one way but it took an original direction. Conway has characters that are thoroughly developed. Though the circumstances they go through may not be a normal teenage problems they keep their teenage personalities such as having fun when they can, acting on their crushes, and going to normal teenage events.
So what is this thing with Elizabeth? Well all I can say for now is that Eila is more like her 4th great grandmother than she realizes. The Cape is also not as safe as she thought. There are soul stealing monsters lurking in the waters. Murder is high during tourist season. Conway, a Cape resident, said she felt inspired for that part of the story because she hates tourist season.
Conway is a journalist of fifteen years and a member of the SCBWI (a critiquing group for authors). She teaches Fiction Craft classes for teens and adults including at the Cape Cod Writer's Conference. She also drives a 16-ton school bus during the year. Conway said that during driving she develops many of her book ideas. In addition, Conway has a BA in Forensic Psych, torments the tourists about Jaws, and occasionally jumps from Eila's bridge with the local teens. She currently lives on the Cape.
If you would like to know more about Conway, talk to the author, and know more about Undertow you can find her at the following:
Facebook: K.R. Conway
Undertow is part of a trilogy and is available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. Make sure to add it to you Goodreads 'Want to Read' list.