Monday, May 21, 2018

What Lies Below by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Genre: Contemporary Mystery / Literary Suspense
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: May 15, 2018
Pages: 334

Gilly O’Connell’s nightmares aren’t just bad dreams; they’re glimpses of terrifying realities to come. Gilly has spent her entire life trying to suppress the foreboding visions. So when a dismissed premonition leads to her husband’s murder, she buries the guilt and pain of the unsolved crime in the only way she knows how—she runs from it.

Three years later, after overcoming a battle with addiction and starting over in a small Texas town, Gilly dares to believe the worst is over. That is, until another crime rips her heart open: the abduction of a three-year-old girl. Gilly knows more about it than anyone…

She’s dreaming again.

Gilly is convinced that if she tells the police she dreamed of the kidnapping before it happened, there’s no way they’ll believe her. But when she finally gets the courage to come forward with what she saw, people don’t see her as crazy—they see her as a suspect.

Now, in order to help a desperate single father save his child, Gilly must first clear her own name. But as the nightmares of the past catch up to her, Gilly’s only chance for salvation might be the dreams she’s spent so long trying to ignore.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars 

Call it reader's clairvoyance, but when I picked up What Lies Below by Barbara Taylor Sissel I just knew it was going to be an excellent book. And please believe me when I tell you, it more than lived up to my expectations. 

The story takes place in small Texas town Wyatt where Gilly, the book's protagonist, is not-so-successfully trying to move on with her life after the traumatic murder of her husband in Houston. The twist is that Gilly has premonitions that warn her of horrible events like her husband's death and now the kidnapping of three-year-old, Zoe. Because of this "gift" Gilly becomes a suspect in the abduction and a probable target of her husband's killer, who was never caught. The novel is a heart-pounding race where Gilly is on the search to help find Zoe and clear her name while also trying to avoid the dangers of her husband's killer before it's too late for her and Zoe. 

The story is fast-paced. The writing and editing is solid. And the plot and characters are well developed. I don't have much criticism for this novel. I really enjoyed the in-depth characters. They were complex, flawed, but also had some redeeming values - even the seemingly bad ones. The ending provided hope and closure, but it wasn't a picture perfect ending, which I appreciated. The author definitely has a gift for succinctly telling a compelling story. There's no wonder she's already written nine bestsellers!  

Recommendation: I absolutely loved this book. I always enjoy a good mystery, and this one kept me guessing till the very end. If you're looking for a suspenseful read with a paranormal twist, pick up a copy of this book ... today! Something tells me you will enjoy it! 

Please note: I received a complimentary signed paperback copy of What Lies below in exchange for my honest review.

Until next time ... Read on!

“Infused with heart-stopping suspense, emotional resonance, and startling imagery, What Lies Below swept me along a river of urgency and dread. Barbara Taylor Sissel effortlessly weaves together prescience, regret, grief, love, and revenge—all wrapped in the mystery of a young girl’s abduction. Beneath the breathless immediacy of the story lie deeper questions: How do we forgive ourselves—and others—for remembered transgressions, and can we ever break free of the past?” ~A. J. Banner, #1 Amazon and USA Today bestselling author of The Good Neighbor and The Twilight Wife

“Barbara Taylor Sissel’s What Lies Below is suspense at its finest—heartrending, compelling, and beautifully written. If you’re looking for your next up-all-night read, look no further.” ~Jessica Strawser, author of Almost Missed You and Not That I Could Tell

“I cannot emphasize this enough: you must read What Lies Below. Barbara Taylor Sissel manages to combine an unreliable narrator, twisting plot, and well imagined characters to create a world where nothing is as it seems and secrets abound. I had intended to savor the novel’s lovely prose but wound up devouring the book in a day. Simply fantastic.” ~Karen McQuestion, bestselling author of Hello Love

Barbara Taylor Sissel writes issue oriented, upmarket women's fiction that is threaded with elements of suspense and defined by its particular emphasis on how crime affects the family. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, she was raised in various locations across the U.S. and once lived with her family on the grounds of a first offender prison facility. The experience, interacting with the inmates and staff, provided a unique insight into the inmate's lives, the circumstances behind the crimes they committed, and the impact on the families that were affected. The bestselling author of nine novels, her stories focus on the family at the heart of the crime. An avid gardener and the mother of two grown sons, Barbara lives in the Texas Hill Country. She’s represented by Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Connect with Barbara
: WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | BookBub | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

1st PrizeSigned Copy of Book + Bookmark + $15 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize: Signed Copy of Book + Bookmark
May 15-24, 2018

15-May Excerpt Texas Book Lover   
16-May Review Dressed to Read 
17-May Author Interview That's What She's Reading
18-May Review The Clueless Gent  
19-May Notable Quotable / Bonus Review The Love of a Bibliophile  
20-May Notable Quotable Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
21-May Review A Page Before Bedtime (You are here)  
22-May Guest Post Part 1 Reading by Moonlight   
23-May Guest Post Part 2 Books in the Garden   
24-May Review Book Fidelity 


  1. Thank you, Melyssa, for featuring me and What Lies Below on your blog. And thank you more than I can say for your wonderful review. I'm just thrilled you enjoyed it and so appreciative that you shared your thoughts! Just makes my day!

  2. Thank you for writing! :-)