Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, ARC Review

The publisher, Polis Books, kindly offered me an advanced reader copy (ARC) of Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia via NetGalley. Yet, this is an honest review of the book expressing my humble opinion.

If this spectacular noir coming-of-age story is her first crime novel, then the standards are sky high already. This is the second novels of her I’ve read; the first one being Gods of Jade and Shadow, an adult historical fantasy. I loved it in an almost obsessive way, and I needed to read more from this author. Untamed Shore did not disappear. It sealed my love and adoration for the author. Silvia Moreno-Garcia has this blunt, straight-forward, alluring writing style that impresses and astounds me. It’s so distinct that I’d recognize a novel of hers by miles. In other words, if you’re unsure of this non-fantasy book of hers, don’t be; you’re going to love it.

Before I wrote this review, I did some research on the noir genre, to make sure I had the facts right. It turns out that noir (French for “black”) is centered on protagonists that are either victims, suspects, or perpetrators, who are forced to deal with a corrupt legal, political or other system. I feel this is an accurate reflection of Untamed Shore. Viridiana goes through many phases throughout the book, all the while staying true to her goals and wishes. And without giving any spoilers, let’s just say that her village, Desengaño, in Baja California isn’t the most un-corrupted place in the world. But it’s certainly vivid and beautifully described.

Viridiana is full of life, vibrant, exciting, and intriguing. She discovers herself, what she wants, what she’s willing to do to get it, how she reacts to heart-breaking and urgent situations. As readers, we see her delightful journey and don’t know the person she’ll become on the other side of the chaos. We discover her just as she discovers herself, and it’s beautiful and undeniable and enthralling. Yes, that’s the word. Viridiana is enthralling. You never know what she’ll say or how exactly she’ll react, but she’s captivating and demands your attention.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a masterful story-teller, and Untamed Shore proves it through a web of twists, revelations, and death from the eyes of our enthralling main character, Viridiana. There’s nothing in this book I’d change.

Just wait and see. Silvia Moreno-Garcia is going to change the crime landscape and transcend it to another dimension. Untamed Shore is vivid, unique, brilliant, and I’d really like a sequel that follows Viridiana’s life.

5 stars – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Polis Books

About the book:

From renowned author Silvia Moreno-Garcia a compelling coming-of-age story mixed with a riveting thriller.

Sharks may be dangerous, but there are worse predators nearby, ready to devour a naïve young woman, who may just drown in a tangled web of deceit. Baja California, 1979. With nothing else to do in her sleepy town, Viridiana spends her days watching the
dead sharks piled beside the seashore, as the fishermen bring in their nets. Yet her head is filled with dreams of Hollywood films, of romance, of a future beyond the life where her only option is to marry and have children. But when three wealthy American tourists arrive for the summer, Viridiana finds herself magnetized. She immediately becomes entwined in the glamorous foreigners’ lives. They offer excitement
and an escape from her humdrum future prospects.

But when one of them dies, Viridiana lies to protect her new friends. Soon enough, someone’s asking questions, and Viridiana has her own about her new acquaintances.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one of the most exciting voices in fiction, and with her first crime novel, Untamed Shore, she crafts a blazing novel of suspense with an eerie seaside setting and a literary edge that proves her a master of the genre.


About the Author
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the critically-acclaimed author of Gods of Jade and Shadow and Signal to Noise. She has also edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu’s Daughters). She has been nominated for the British Fantasy, Locus, Sunburst, and Aurora awards. Untamed Shore is her first crime novel. Follow her at @SilviaMG.

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