What Lies Below cover

What Lies Below

Barbara Taylor Sissel
Genre: Contemporary Mystery / Literary Suspense
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: May 15, 2018

Number of Pages: 334

Scroll down for the giveaway!

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.

“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
 │ Amazon  │  Barnes and Noble │


Clueless Gent’s Rating

What Lies Below is a very dark story about loss.  The author contrasts two women with similar loss in their past and how they cope with it.  The setting is in rural Texas.  The action in the story centers around a child abduction and takes place over the course of just a few days, but the backstories are huge.  Yet the backstories are necessary to reveal why the characters are the way they are.  When I first started reading What Lies Below, I thought I was in for a lot of literary finger food.  However, those appetizers turn into a full-course meal (with a small dessert at the end).  Although the action in the story is somewhat minimal, all of the characters seem to be driven by gut-wrenching emotions.

Meet the Protagonist of What Lies Below

Gilly O’Connell is the protagonist.  She has a special gift: she has dreams that can show future events.  The problem is, they’re not always right.  Trying to escape her dreams and a devastating personal tragedy, while trying to cling to her newly found sobriety, she flees Houston and her successful architectural practice.  When she tries to begin a new life in a small Texas town as a waitress in a small diner, she doesn’t even unpack the moving boxes. She doesn’t know if she’ll be able to stay.

Gilly is full of flaws, yet she is a very likable character. She always wants to do the right thing. She makes friends easy enough, but doesn’t let them get too close. Her attempt to keep the door closed on the closet full of skeletons from her past is constantly jeopardized by her addiction demons and her dreams.

For a character with such simple goals – stay sober and stay alive – I was amazed by the number of times she gets knocked down. If you want to know whether she gets back up each time, you’ll have to read the book yourself.

Technically Speaking

I don’t recall any SPAG errors in this book, so kudos to Barbara Taylor Sissel and her editors.

The pacing was right on point.  The approach to the climax kept me up late two nights in a row.  The character arcs were great – completely believable.  There were several unexpected surprises along the way, and the little reveal at the end of the story was a perfect “cherry on top” of a tasty and original read.  I would be happy to read more books by this author.

I received a free copy of this book from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.

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 US 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.
 ║Website ║ Facebook BookBub
Amazon Author Page 
║ Twitter  Goodreads

1st PRIZE:
2nd PRIZE: 
MAY 15-24, 2018
Author Interview
Notable Quotable/Bonus Review
Notable Quotable
Guest Post Part 1
Guest Post Part 2
   blog tour services provided by

2 thoughts on “What Lies Below

  1. Thanks so much for the great review! I learned something. I’ve never seen the word “SPAG” and was glad for your link that led me to know what it is! Very cool. My editors especially will be pleased!

    1. Authors like you are helping me gain a much better appreciation for other genres of fiction. You wrote a very compelling story, and it drew me right in! I enjoyed your book very much!!

Please leave a comment. You'll be glad you did!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.