Untamed Shore
Renowned author Silvia Moreno-Garcia's first thriller, UNTAMED SHORE, is a coming-of-age story set in Mexico which quickly turns dark when a young woman meets three enigmatic tourists.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.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.

Untamed Shore Details

TitleUntamed Shore
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 11th, 2020
PublisherAgora Books
ISBN-139781947993921
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Mystery Thriller

Untamed Shore Review

  • Miranda
    January 1, 1970
    I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.After reading and loving Gods of Jade and Shadow, I was absolutely thrilled when I found out that Silvia Moreno-Garcia has a few upcoming releases. After receiving a copy of Untamed Shore, I was very excited to delve into the novel. Untamed Shore follows an inexperienced, naive eighteen year old woman named Viridiana who feels trapped in her small town of Desengaño in Baja California during 1979. She must deal with her I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.After reading and loving Gods of Jade and Shadow, I was absolutely thrilled when I found out that Silvia Moreno-Garcia has a few upcoming releases. After receiving a copy of Untamed Shore, I was very excited to delve into the novel. Untamed Shore follows an inexperienced, naive eighteen year old woman named Viridiana who feels trapped in her small town of Desengaño in Baja California during 1979. She must deal with her insufferable community and the expectations it puts upon her: working in her mother’s shop, marriage, having children. However, Viridiana wants more. She longs to leave for a bigger city where she can choose a life she wants for herself. She distracts herself with literature, Hollywood films, dreams of romance, and watching fishermen hunt sharks at the beach.Viridiana’s seemingly boring life is interrupted when she is offered a job by three tourists: Ambrose, his wife Daisy, and Daisy’s brother Gregory. Working as a personal assistant and translator for these people offers Viridiana a chance to escape. However, things take a dark turn when one of the tourists dies. What comes next marks a drastic character change for Viridiana: she lies for her friends. Readers are then thrown into a web of deceit with many plot twists that I personally did not see coming. I loved seeing the change in Viridiana once she embarks on a path of self-preservation. Despite knowing the characters might be making bad choices, you cannot help but root for some of them. Viridiana is no exception to this; readers may identify with her longing to create a new life for herself far away from a town that wants to crush her dreams. Untamed Shore does not disappoint. I battled between wanting to read it all at once and wanting it to last forever. This book is a very character driven story, which I love. My experience with Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work was limited to Gods of Jade and Shadow prior to this, so I was not sure what I would think about her tackling the thriller genre. In both cases, the writing is captivating and beautiful. In the end, all I can say is that I truly loved this novel! *Trigger warnings: There are instances of violence and domestic abuse.*Thank you to the publisher, Polis Books, and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this novel before its release.
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  • Elle Rudy
    January 1, 1970
    A Mexican thriller set in the late 70s by the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow—did someone hear me quietly praying to my Kindle at night?? I read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s historical fantasy set around an ancient Mayan god of death a little less than a year ago and have been hoping for more from her ever since. With Untamed Shore coming out February 11th and the absolutely seductive-sounding Mexican Gothic arriving in June this year, I’m beginning to wonder if Moreno-Garcia herself has made a deal A Mexican thriller set in the late 70s by the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow—did someone hear me quietly praying to my Kindle at night?? I read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s historical fantasy set around an ancient Mayan god of death a little less than a year ago and have been hoping for more from her ever since. With Untamed Shore coming out February 11th and the absolutely seductive-sounding Mexican Gothic arriving in June this year, I’m beginning to wonder if Moreno-Garcia herself has made a deal with an ancient spirit to keep churning out these utterly unique and appealing projects, one after the other.The book itself was a little slow to start, with not much happening until about a third of the way in, and even after that there wasn’t a lot of action til the very end. But that ending, my god, it’s satisfying. I probably wouldn’t really classify it as a thriller, either, but more of a domestic suspense. That’s not really my favorite sub-genre, but I still plodded through because I really loved the setting. Viridiana lives in the small town of Desengaño in the state of Baja California, Mexico. The major industry of her quiet beach town is fishing, with many still catching and killing sharks, despite the overall drop in profitability. The entire village is in a plateaued decline with tourism all but dried up, so when three Americans arrive carrying with them the allure of a world outside of what Viridiana can even imagine, she gets swept up in their plots, in hopes it will help her carve out a new life for herself far away.Some of the characterization is a bit heavy-handed, especially the dialogue. There’s also very little mystery surrounding the events of the novel, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still be on edge. I liked Gods of Jade and Shadow more than this and am desperately awaiting Mexican Gothic, but all in all this was a solid performer by Moreno-Garcia.*Thanks to Polis Books & Netgalley for an advance copy!
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  • The Captain
    January 1, 1970
    Ahoy there me mateys! I received an eArc of this thriller through NetGalley in exchange for me honest musings.This be fourth book I have read by the author and me fourth five star read. I have said before that what I find amazing about all of the author's books is that they feel so different from each other. The first was a vampire story with stunning vampire culture and history. The second was a Mayan fairy-tale set during the Jazz age in Mexico. The third was a romance with a hint of fantasy Ahoy there me mateys!  I received an eArc of this thriller through NetGalley in exchange for me honest musings.This be fourth book I have read by the author and me fourth five star read.  I have said before that what I find amazing about all of the author's books is that they feel so different from each other.  The first was a vampire story with stunning vampire culture and history.  The second was a Mayan fairy-tale set during the Jazz age in Mexico.  The third was a romance with a hint of fantasy set in the Belle Époque era.  And this is a coming-of-age thriller set in Baja California in 1979.  I adored this book!The story follows Viridiana who lives in a small town called Desengaño where every day follows just like the one before it.  Instead of doing what is expected, like get married and have babies, Viridiana dreams of making it to a bigger city.  Her mastery of foreign languages, intelligence, and longing make her an outcast in her tiny community.  During the brief tourist season she makes a little money as a translator and tour guide.  The rest of the time she spends watching fisherman hunt sharks on the beach, watching classic Hollywood movies, reading, and dreaming.  Her life changes when three rich tourists come to town and she is asked to be not only a translator but also a personal assistant.  Life gets interesting when her employer dies.This is a character driven story with plot twists and turns but is not really fast-paced.  That said the book was so absolutely satisfying.  Viridiana is a fantastic character whose naivete hurts to read about but her journey towards adulthood and reality is compelling.  Watching her struggle between her heart and her head is truly lovely even if ye want to shake her for her stupidity at times.  Viridiana's psychological journey was really the thriller aspect because of wondering if, and how, she could get out of the mess she found herself in.I can't really get into more than that because of spoilers but I thought the ending was perfect and yet partially unexpected.  I thought all the shark symbolism was awesome.  I am in awe of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's talent and am so excited that she has another book coming out this year - Mexican Gothic on 6/30/2020.  Arrr!
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  • Adriana
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5 StarsTWs: Allusions to domestic abuse, instances of violence and graphic injury By now, she ought to have lost all the childish innocence she'd possessed, but it had lasted and held true until this very moment. That is what pained her the most. Not the betrayal, but her steadfast devotion to her betrayers. This is a deeply suspenseful noir thriller that proves, once again, that Silvia Moreno-Garcia can master any genre she writes. In this case, it's Viridiana's naiveté and her desperation 4.5/5 StarsTWs: Allusions to domestic abuse, instances of violence and graphic injury By now, she ought to have lost all the childish innocence she'd possessed, but it had lasted and held true until this very moment. That is what pained her the most. Not the betrayal, but her steadfast devotion to her betrayers. This is a deeply suspenseful noir thriller that proves, once again, that Silvia Moreno-Garcia can master any genre she writes. In this case, it's Viridiana's naiveté and her desperation to break away from small town life that allows this story to keep twisting in on itself.Viridiana's story is painfully familiar, in that she is accepted into the employ of an affluent group of Americans who expect her to forsake herself in order to be "good enough" to be associated with them. She's hired as a note-taker and personal assistant, but quickly gets shackled into doing things like running errands, cooking meals, or carrying things to and from the beach as if she were a servant. And ultimately, that's how everyone in this story sees her: meek and subserviant. She's manipulated, challenged, and short-changed at every turn.But Viridiana doesn't fight the rising tide that is her life. She realizes that the only way to move forward is to follow the story her life is becoming, even if it's not the story she envisioned for herself. Even though she is surrounded by destructive people, she refuses to allow herself to be destroyed.Ultimately, I think this story is about how many of us find ourselves at the mercy of those who don't respect or understand us, and how marginalized folks are expected to appeal to those same people and institutions that continually wrong us just to have a chance at survival. All of this and more is at stake in Untamed Shore, which continuously surprises and haunts the reader at every turn, and that's what kept me invested in this story.Silvia Moreno-Garcia can do no wrong, as far as I'm concerned, and I definitely recommend this one along with any of her other incredibly unique stories.
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  • c, (½ of readsrainbow)
    January 1, 1970
    “You’re a cannibal,” he said and she remembered that they said the Aztecs ate the hearts of men.She bit his lips for good measure. On my blog. Rep: Mexican characters and settingGalley provided by publisherHave you ever read a book where you finish and you need a definite moment to catch your breath after all that’s happened? That was me reading this one. It’s a slowburning thriller, but when the twists come, they come thick and fast.In Untamed Shore, we follow Viridiana, an 18-year-old living “You’re a cannibal,” he said and she remembered that they said the Aztecs ate the hearts of men.She bit his lips for good measure. On my blog. Rep: Mexican characters and settingGalley provided by publisherHave you ever read a book where you finish and you need a definite moment to catch your breath after all that’s happened? That was me reading this one. It’s a slowburning thriller, but when the twists come, they come thick and fast.In Untamed Shore, we follow Viridiana, an 18-year-old living in the village of Desengaño, who wants nothing more than to escape it. One summer, she is hired to act as translator and assistant to three rich American tourists. But then one of them dies and Viridiana finds herself having lied to protect people she comes to find she doesn’t really know.What first strikes you about this book is just how gorgeous and evocative Silvia Moreno Garcia’s writing is. It sounds trite to say it, but it really does feel like you’re there yourself. You can picture everything that’s happening, and it also just keeps sucking you in, making you not want to stop reading at any point. I think it’s safe to say that the writing alone could have convinced me to read all of Moreno Garcia’s other books.But books don’t stand for much solely based on writing. There has to be more, with plot and with characters, and Moreno Garcia knocks both of these out the park here. First, the characters. We see everyone through Viridiana’s gaze, which starts initially as quite naive and then becomes less so (no spoilers, but…….yeaaaaah), so it’s not an entirely reliable narrative. I mean, you the reader are able to see that particular characters are not so perfect as Viridiana believes them to be (such that, on occasion, Viridiana is surprised at a turn of events where you are not), but the way her perspective changes is part of the journey.The plot is a slowburn, really. The aforementioned death doesn’t happen until a good 40% of the way through. Not that this is a bad thing, because it lets Viridiana get close to the characters, firstly, and secondly, the writing is enough to carry you through it easily. But when the action kicks in, from around when Lawrence arrives, suddenly everything gets more tense and you will not be able to stop reading (I’m honestly glad I read this book in the day so I wasn’t constantly going just one more chapter when I should have been sleeping).And then the end! I think all I really wrote in reference to that in my notes was a few choice swearwords because, well, it sort of required them, given the circumstances. Because it leaves you speechless and unable to think about much beyond how well-crafted it is. How the symbolism of the sharks crescendoes in this moment.And when you finish, you’re left needing to catch your breath by it all.
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  • Jocelyn
    January 1, 1970
    it started a little slower than some of smg's other things but damn that ending might just be my favorite
  • Bethany
    January 1, 1970
    I want to be up front that I think Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a brilliant writer and I love the project of what she is doing in all her books: centering Latinx characters, history, and culture in a variety of genres they have typically been erased from. Here, she is doing that in a noir thriller and as always, the writing and the project are very well executed. That said, this is not a genre that particularly appeals to me and the main reason I picked this up is because of the author. Readers who I want to be up front that I think Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a brilliant writer and I love the project of what she is doing in all her books: centering Latinx characters, history, and culture in a variety of genres they have typically been erased from. Here, she is doing that in a noir thriller and as always, the writing and the project are very well executed. That said, this is not a genre that particularly appeals to me and the main reason I picked this up is because of the author. Readers who are more into this type of book would probably enjoy it much more.Untamed Shore is a slower-paced, character driven thriller set in a small coastal town in Mexico known for fishing sharks, and it easily feels like it could have been one of the classic black and white films that are referenced in the book. Viridiana is 18-years-old and has never left her small, conservative town, but dreams of bigger things. Her mother wants her to settle down with her uninteresting ex-boyfriend and work in his family's stationary shop. Instead, she takes a job opportunity as a translator and assistant to an American man trying to write a book for the summer. She moves into his rental home, along with his much younger wife and her handsome brother. Things take a dark and complicated turn as Viridiana must decide how to navigate the complex web she has entered and what she wants for herself.This is partly a coming of age story, partly a noir thriller and the text is entirely populated with morally gray characters. Honestly, I had a hard time being all that interested in most of the story, even though I can see what the author was trying to do. I think this is more a matter of personal taste than anything else, but I didn't care that much for any of the characters and found myself bored by the minute and day-to-day details. That said, the ending was brilliant and I loved the way she wrapped things up in an unexpected way. Thematically, this is a rich story that touches on racism, colonialism, and misogyny. It has deeply feminist undertones and while I found Viridiana to be frustratingly naive and reckless, she does eventually learn and we see how her world has led to her choices. If the type of book this is sounds appealing, definitely pick it up. And regardless, Moreno-Garcia always has beautiful, smart and thoughtful writing, even if this particular genre wasn't quite my cup of tea. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free e-arc.This is my second Moreno-Garcia novel, and I really enjoyed it. I love that she tries something new with every book she writes. This story is a noir set in 1970s Baja California. We follow our protagonist, Viridiana, who is 18 and feeling stifled by the village that expects her to work in her mother's store, get married, and have children. She longs to escape, and earns money working as a translator and giving tours to rich tourists. When Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free e-arc.This is my second Moreno-Garcia novel, and I really enjoyed it. I love that she tries something new with every book she writes. This story is a noir set in 1970s Baja California. We follow our protagonist, Viridiana, who is 18 and feeling stifled by the village that expects her to work in her mother's store, get married, and have children. She longs to escape, and earns money working as a translator and giving tours to rich tourists. When she is offered a job working as an assistant for three tourists - a rich man, his wife, and her brother, it seems like a great gig and a way to escape the drudgery of her life. However, things quickly go off the rails. This story wasn't a typical thriller, though a lot of those aspects are there. It was a slow burn, taking its time to build up to the plot twists. But once you get there, the pay off is worth it. This was definitely a very character driven novel. I really liked the character of Viridiana. She seems to be a bit naive at the beginning of the story, losing herself to daydreams of old movies and the fantasy of a life in a big city, away from the village that is trying to tie her down. Over the course of the story, she is pushed into terrible situations and she finds out who she really is and what she is capable of. I really enjoyed seeing her self-discovery. She is also a bit of an unreliable narrator, as we're only getting the story from her perspective and there is a lot happening that she doesn't fully understand. But I found all of the characters to be well-crafted and believable. The atmosphere was fantastic, and the way she wove the shark hunters/fishers and shark imagery and symbolism into the story was so well done. I really felt like I was there in the thick of it. The ending was very satisfying as well. It left me sitting there, thinking about life, and wondering what choices I might have made in Viridiana's position.
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  • TheBookSmugglers
    January 1, 1970
    A masterclass in subverting my expectations for a character arc
  • Janine Ballard
    January 1, 1970
    4.25I don’t generally read crime novels, but the description of Untamed Shore as a “novel of suspense with an eerie seaside setting and a literary edge” intrigued me. I was even more interested in it because of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s authorship, since I adored last year’s Gods of Jade and Shadow. Untamed Shore represents the author’s entry into a different genre so I had some trepidation, but my love for her voice won the day and I requested the ARC.The year is 1979. Viridiana is an 4.25I don’t generally read crime novels, but the description of Untamed Shore as a “novel of suspense with an eerie seaside setting and a literary edge” intrigued me. I was even more interested in it because of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s authorship, since I adored last year’s Gods of Jade and Shadow. Untamed Shore represents the author’s entry into a different genre so I had some trepidation, but my love for her voice won the day and I requested the ARC.The year is 1979. Viridiana is an eighteen-year-old girl living in Desengano, a shark-fishing village in Baja California, Mexico. She is bored and restless. Her father lives in Mexico City, a place that seems glamorous to Viridiana, but he and her mother divorced when Viridiana was very young and he has pretty much moved on with a new family.So Viridiana is stuck in the small village where everything is familiar, boring and confining. Her mother and a friend of her mother’s both expect Viridiana to marry Manuel, her sometime-boyfriend and the friend’s son. Viridiana has recently broken up with him, though—he did not attract her that much and she wants to escape from her humdrum life, not to be trapped there bearing child after child like her mother.Viridiana takes after her translator father and has taught herself four languages with the help of books that belong to Reynier, an old Dutch ex-pat. Her language skills allow Viridiana to work as a tour guide during the tourist season.This year, though, Reynier offers her another opportunity. Three Americans are coming to visit and have reserved a villa. If Viridiana will stay with them (she’ll be given her own room) and assist Ambrose, one of them, with clerical duties as well as translation, she’ll be paid handsomely. Despite her mother’s misgivings, Viridiana accepts the position. Not just for the money, but also in the hopes of alleviating her boredom.The three ex-pats are Ambrose, wealthy and middle aged, Daisy, his charismatic wife, and Gregory, Daisy’s good-looking younger brother. Viridiana develops a crush on Gregory fast, and he does not seem immune to her either. He comes to her room one evening and things get hot and heavy, although Viridiana refuses to go all the way. She does not want to end up pregnant, like her mother, or to buy condoms at the drugstore since the village is small and everyone knows everyone else’s business.Viridiana is less keen on Ambrose than on the other two. Unlike Daisy and Gregory, he has made no attempt to befriend her and Viridiana witnesses him lashing out at Daisy on one occasion. He also does not have the movie-star allure that the others possess. And when Ambrose warns Viridiana that Gregory and Daisy are parasites, she remains unconvinced. Daisy is alternately friendly and cold, but by this point, Gregory has promised to take Viridiana to Paris.One day, Daisy, Gregory and Ambrose plan an excursion to the beach and Gregory suggests that Viridiana accompany them. Prior to this, Gregory and Viridiana have been to another beach by themselves. She is perturbed, therefore, that the beach they have in mind for this outing is the one she cautioned Gregory against because it has a dangerous undertow. The party ends up returning home without getting into the water but Daisy is miffed with Viridiana for her warnings.That night, Viridiana wakes up to the sound of an argument. A scream jolts her and when she ventures to investigate, she finds Ambrose at the bottom of the stairs, badly injured or possibly dead, with Gregory kneeling and checking his pulse and Daisy staring at her and saying that Ambrose fell.Viridiana goes to fetch the doctor, who pronounces Ambrose dead. She notices that there’s a scratch on Ambrose’s face and that Daisy has broken one of her nails. Daisy and Gregory say that Ambrose fell because he was drunk, but Viridiana has never known him to drink.Will Viridiana remain under Gregory and Daisy’s spell? Can she betray Gregory’s trust by going to the authorities, such as they are in this tiny village? Can she trust him in turn?Despite the absence of dark, rain-slicked streets or a cynical, jaded detective, Untamed Shore evokes the noir genre. It is clear to the reader that things aren’t what they seem, but Viridiana deceives herself and that places her in danger.There’s something cinematic that I love about Moreno-Garcia’s writing. It is easy to visualize the beach with its shark skeletons, the small village, and the desert that borders it. The period details are authentically 1979, and I loved the way certain motifs recur, like the bezoar stone that Viridiana imagines lodged in her chest, or the quotes from classic cinema matinee idols that she has memorized and occasionally voices.This is a partial review. The complete review can be found here:https://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/o...
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  • Alicia (A Kernel of Nonsense)
    January 1, 1970
    **I received a copy of this book from the publisher, which does not influence my review**Silvia Moreno-Garcia first crime novel, Untamed Shore, takes readers on a harrowing journey in a small town in Baja California. Viridiana knows there isn’t much for her in Desengaño. The dilapidated town once paid host to fishermen looking to make it in the shark hunting business, but as that industry lost its luster so did the town’s appeal to outsiders. When three American tourists make their way to **I received a copy of this book from the publisher, which does not influence my review**Silvia Moreno-Garcia first crime novel, Untamed Shore, takes readers on a harrowing journey in a small town in Baja California. Viridiana knows there isn’t much for her in Desengaño. The dilapidated town once paid host to fishermen looking to make it in the shark hunting business, but as that industry lost its luster so did the town’s appeal to outsiders. When three American tourists make their way to Viridiana’s corner of the world, she’s offered a temporary job as one of their personal assistants. A job that comes with more money she could ever dream of making during the meager tourist season or working behind the counter of her mom’s shop. But Viridiana gets more than she’d bargained for when one night one of the foreigners ends up dead and Viridiana finds herself caught in a web of lies she might not be able to find her way out of.Untamed Shore takes its time getting started. Moreno-Garcia vividly captures the atmosphere of small-town living and the discontentment of those like Viridiana, who dream of something more than the hand she’s been dealt. There’s a sense of isolation and confinement to this setting. Viridiana feels like a character who’s outgrown her town, but isn’t sure if there are any outs for her. This is part of the appeal of the American tourists she meets. Viridiana experiences her town through their eyes. Though Viridiana is extremely bright, having graduated early and is fluent in many languages, she is more or less wasting her time in this small town. Her talents have gone underappreciated, but she can’t see a way out when her mother insists she stay behind to help with her half siblings or worse, get married and settle down. I didn’t truly fall into the story until the second half when Viridiana is caught in an impossible situation. Her only way of escape is to lie and manipulate and in the end, there’s a good chance not even these things can save her.When the glamorous Daisy and her husband and brother arrive, Viridiana cannot help but fall under their spell. The self-important Ambrose with money to burn may not be all that friendly, but he has the kind of freedom people in town can only dream of having. His much younger wife Daisy is friendly enough, even if her mood sours without warning, as likely to offer a gracious smile as a condescending retort. Gregory quickly draws Viridiana’s eye and it’s difficult to ignore his charms especially when his kisses are so thrilling. But underneath these masks, something dark lingers. Viridiana’s naivety gets her caught in a game where she doesn’t know the rules. She has more to lose because she doesn’t have the kind of resources these Americans have and one wrong move could leave her ruined forever while these tourists are free go back to their carefree lives. The town in which Viridiana lives, is appropriately called Desengaño, meaning disillusionment. This is the crux of the novel, it is a young woman’s journey discovering just how dangerous self-delusion can be.Untamed Shore is slow-paced thriller but with deceptive faces at every corner and a surprisingly vicious ending, it’s hard to look away.
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  • decaf Jess
    January 1, 1970
    Even though I always pre-order Ms. Moreno-Garcia's new releases, I still eagerly grab up the ARCs so I can get to them a little earlier.***The setting of this story is a character of its own. The oppressive heat of Baja California, the stench of shark carcass on the beach, the too-modern design of the huge house where much of the action takes place. Yet the story is timeless, classic; the drama that unfolds during these weeks of Viridiana's life could have happened here or there, in 1820, 1920, Even though I always pre-order Ms. Moreno-Garcia's new releases, I still eagerly grab up the ARCs so I can get to them a little earlier.***The setting of this story is a character of its own. The oppressive heat of Baja California, the stench of shark carcass on the beach, the too-modern design of the huge house where much of the action takes place. Yet the story is timeless, classic; the drama that unfolds during these weeks of Viridiana's life could have happened here or there, in 1820, 1920, or 2020. These kinds of villains have existed everywhere in every time.Viridiana is not naive, necessarily -- she is eighteen and inexperienced, and wise enough to know it. After taking a routine translator job in her small town working for some wealthy and mysterious Americans, she finds herself drawn deeper into a plot of deception. As her world becomes darker and more violent, will she become the predator or the prey?Much like the author's other works, the ending has stuck with me. I'm looking forward to someone else reading this so we can discuss what we think happened. arc received from the publisher
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  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (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. (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.full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: A lush and evocative story about a young girl’s coming-of-age in Baja California, Untamed Shore was a pleasant surprise. Outside her window, the moon watched her, but it did not judge her. The moon was pure. And she thought of Coyote, who dreamt beautiful yellow dreams and thus created the world. But when she slept she I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: A lush and evocative story about a young girl’s coming-of-age in Baja California, Untamed Shore was a pleasant surprise. Outside her window, the moon watched her, but it did not judge her. The moon was pure. And she thought of Coyote, who dreamt beautiful yellow dreams and thus created the world. But when she slept she dreamt of a shark with massive jaws, jaws taller than her. The shark's belly glowed and she ventured inside of it, looking for the source of light, which was the moon, plucked from the sky. Sometimes expectations get in the way of enjoying a book, but I do try to see past my expectations and judge the book I’m reading rather than the book I was expecting. I definitely struggled with that while I was reading Untamed Shore , because I had the wrong impression of the type of story I was about to read. Luckily, I pushed aside my negative reactions and ended up really enjoying this book. Silvia Moreno-Garcia never writes the same story twice, and for that I’m grateful (although I certainly wouldn’t mind another story set in her Certain Dark Things world!). I’ve seen this book categorized as a thriller, but it is NOT a thriller at all. Rather, this is a sort of dreamy, atmospheric coming-of-age story with elements of suspense, but suspense is not the driving force behind the story. If you are looking for some shark action—and I’ll admit the cover led me to believe there might be some shark related violence—then you are in the wrong place. Moreno-Garcia brilliantly uses sharks as metaphor in some beautiful ways, but the only sharks in this story are dead ones.Viridiana is eighteen and lives in the small Baja California town of Desengaño where she was born. She spends her days at the beach watching the fishermen ply their shark trade and acts as a tour guide whenever foreign tourists come to town. Viridiana’s mother wants her to marry and take over running the family shop, but Viridiana has no interest in marriage or small town life. Luckily a distraction presents itself that will change her life. Three Americans have just rented a remote house on the cliff side and they are looking for a translator. Viridiana reluctantly agrees to live with them in the house over the summer, but soon finds herself fascinated with their glamorous lives. Ambrose is a writer and needs help typing up his notes. Daisy is Ambrose’s wife, and Gregory is Daisy’s brother. The three spend their days drinking rum and lazing in the sun at the beach, and Viridiana tentatively joins them, seduced by the promise of a different kind of life.But when one of the Americans ends up dead, her safe, idyllic life is threatened. Viridiana suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of lies and must choose between doing the right thing or saving herself.Viridiana is such an interesting character. This is an excellent coming-of-age tale with an old fashioned feel that reminded me of one of the old classic black-and-white movies that Viridiana loves so much. I love that her father named her after the old Luis Buñuel movie of the same name, and she takes her name to heart by viewing the world through a lens of old movies and movie stars. She compares Gregory to Montgomery Clift and imagines a happily ever after love story with him as the leading man. However, like all good coming of age stories, that innocence starts to crack when one of the Americans dies and she has to make some tough decisions. We also witness Viridiana’s sexual awakening, which I thought was very well done. She’s lived a very sheltered life with her conservative, Catholic mother and lives in fear of her mother finding out that she’s not only hanging out with an older American man, but that he’s trying to get her into bed. Her struggle between doing the right thing and following her heart felt very real to me.I did struggle with a couple of things. First of all, the plot is very slow paced, much like life in Desengaño is, I imagine. I think that was a deliberate choice by the author, to mimic the lazy, sun drenched days in a small town where not much happens. But I have to admit I was bored at times. There were a few suspenseful moments where I expected one thing but got another, and these moments were slightly frustrating. We do finally get a few thriller-like moments at the end, but if you’re hoping for a story full of shocking twists and turns, you might be disappointed. But even though the typical thriller elements were absent, I loved the subtle, ominous feeling that hangs over the story. It’s as if danger is just off the page out of reach, but it’s coming for you and you won’t see it until it’s too late.I also felt a little distanced from the story in a weird way, as if I were watching an old movie on TV. We see everything from Viridiana’s POV, and there is a strange lack of emotion in her reactions to some of the things that happen. When she finds out that Ambrose, Daisy and Gregory are keeping secrets, she doesn’t react much at all, but shrugs her shoulders and goes along with it.But what I did love was Moreno-Garcia’s writing. It’s simply gorgeous and perfectly captures the setting and the late 1970s time period. There’s a sort of sadness to the town and I really wanted Viridiana to find a way to leave. She thinks she’s stuck there and I felt her frustration in my bones. The town’s economy revolves around the sharks that inhabit the area, and the story is chock full of wonderful metaphors showing how Viridiana sees the world. She’s grown up watching the fishermen catch, kill and skin sharks (I know, ugh) and she knows very well how sharks behave. I love her insights into the people she interacts with and how they remind her of certain shark characteristics.Overall, I’m so glad I had the chance to read this. Yes, Silvia Moreno-Garcia wrote something that I wasn’t expecting, but it simply proves how versatile a writer she is. Readers who enjoy a more literary bent to their stories will love this book.Big thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy
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  • Rendz
    January 1, 1970
    4.25Full review: https://readingwithrendz.wordpress.co...___The Likes:SMG has a way of just totally sucking you into a book. I’ve never set foot in 1970s Baja California and yet I felt like I was intimately involved with the town of Desengaño. The words wrap around you until you feel like you’re standing on the beach and looking at the display of shark corpses. You feel it, you smell it, you can hear every sound. And, yeah, you’ve never even been in a setting like that before, but the writing 4.25Full review: https://readingwithrendz.wordpress.co...___The Likes:SMG has a way of just totally sucking you into a book. I’ve never set foot in 1970s Baja California and yet I felt like I was intimately involved with the town of Desengaño. The words wrap around you until you feel like you’re standing on the beach and looking at the display of shark corpses. You feel it, you smell it, you can hear every sound. And, yeah, you’ve never even been in a setting like that before, but the writing makes it a whole experience for you anyways.The writing is gorgeous and stellar, but I’ll be honest, what got me reeled in were the characters!Viridiana, my girl. She was un-apologetically herself all the time. (Although she has her moments of self-doubt, but don’t we all) She was walking paradox. Practical, straightforward and yet dreamy. She fully understood her confinement in her small town, and the limits placed on her because of her gender, religion and economic status, but that didn’t stop her from dreaming. From imagining herself as a movie star, albeit a hopelessly romantic one. She had a love for languages which hello, hi, same. I really enjoyed reading about her journey and the shit she put herself through and had to get out of. I loved that she was not perfectly capable and when she messes up she has to get her hands dirty to fix it up. And let me tell you she messes up. A lot. But she wants what we all want, a life worth having lived. Where she can reach for the stars like anyone else. And she lies, cheats and maybe does more to get that.The Americans….HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. The mother fucking Americans. (I am talking specifically about the book’s Americans, not you my dear American readers). Viridiana gets caught up in their web and it takes a lot of work to get out of it. If I’m being honest Gregory was a little beeyatch and Daisy was The Bitch of the Group, so I really hated them, but was also fascinated by them. Viridiana and I were both really in the same boat here, except I was better at calling their bullshit.The twistiness!!!! You know at one point I thought I had it in the bag. Like I knew exactly what was gonna happen and then I got slapped and realized I needed to humble myself. Suffice to say, the twists were really good. There was a lot of suspense to be had and the book keeps you on the edge of your seat constantly. It’s that kind of tense reading where you’re yelling at the characters to do one thing and they do the opposite which only makes you more stressed but also more intrigued! There were a lot less sharks than I initially anticipated (but they are mentioned a lot), but the Americans and ~others~ do have a certain vicious sharkness to them. I’ll be honest though the beginning sets up a lot of groundwork so it takes a bit to get to that first moment of shit-hitting-the-fan. But it sure does and my girl gets her hands dirty!!Now, it turns out that I am willing to go way farther than Viridiana is to get out of a mess and she goes pretty far. I had to take a minute to question my moral values and reflect on my blood thirst. Viridiana had the decency to feel some remorse where as I was like yasssssssss I like this blood we are spilling and lies we are telling. So yeah. 🙂 I mean we both had self-preservation in mind, she’s just a little more of a thinker whereas I was like, let’s just take them all down!The Questionable:Why couldn’t this book get the full five stars from me? I guess it’s because it ended almost too smoothly. Here I am complaining that it was a good ending. I’m a terrible reader, I know! But I guess I was hoping for that last minute WTF moment that I thought would come with thrillers, but no it was pretty chill. It was a good ending, satisfying too, but perhaps I was hoping for one more twist.Overall, I really enjoyed this! It is definitely a thrilling ride and you will love the havoc these tourists wreak on this small town that, let’s face it, loves the drama just like us readers!Rating: 4.25 / 5 StarsRecommend: You know the answer is yes!
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  • Jess
    January 1, 1970
    Check out this review and more on my blog!I received an eARC of Untamed Shore from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.By this point I think we all know that I’m Silvia Moreno-Garcia trash, and I’m so pleased to say that her first thriller, and first non-speculative novel, is a novel I really enjoyed.Set in Mexico in the late 1970s, Untamed Shore follows 18-year-old Viridiana, who longs to leave Baja California for Mexico City, where she can put her fluency in four languages to use in a Check out this review and more on my blog!I received an eARC of Untamed Shore from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.By this point I think we all know that I’m Silvia Moreno-Garcia trash, and I’m so pleased to say that her first thriller, and first non-speculative novel, is a novel I really enjoyed.Set in Mexico in the late 1970s, Untamed Shore follows 18-year-old Viridiana, who longs to leave Baja California for Mexico City, where she can put her fluency in four languages to use in a job that doesn’t involve leading ungrateful tourists around her hometown or working in her mother’s shop. When three Americans arrive for the summer and Viridiana is hired as, essentially, a PA, she seizes the opportunity they bring her for excitement from the humdrum of her life, until the summer takes a dark, deceitful turn.I love the way Moreno-Garcia writes about Mexico, and from the very first page of this novel the atmosphere feels sinister, oppressive, like something’s waiting to happen just around the corner. And when you sign up to read a thriller, you know something is going to happen. The heat seems unrelenting, and you can always count on characters in extreme weather conditions, whether they be hot or cold, to become irritable with one another. Maybe even dangerously so.This is a thriller that takes its time, Moreno-Garcia never rushes things, and yet I read it in two days. It’s incredibly readable, but you won’t find the kind of thriller here in which a new dead body’s turning up every five minutes and the hunt is on to find the killer. This isn’t a whodunnit, we already know who, but a novel about class, consequences and learning to hold your own.Viridiana, like all of Moreno-Garcia’s heroines, is such an interesting protagonist to follow. At times she’s a little frustrating – more than once I wanted to give her a shake and say, ‘dammit, woman, open your eyes!’ – but she’s also only 18 and, though very intelligent, isn’t particularly worldly yet, which means it’s so much easier for her to be taken advantage of. Especially by a group of Americans who can go anywhere and do anything because they’re wealthy and white.By the end of this novel, though, I guarantee you’ll be cheering Viridiana on. There’s very little I want to say about the plot because it’s not a particularly complex one, and it doesn’t need to be, but there are little twists and turns throughout that I don’t want to ruin. Ultimately Untamed Shore reads like a coming-of-age novel in the guise of a thriller, and Viridiana’s growth from the very first page to the very last, whether for good or for bad, is so compelling. She’s ruthless when she needs to be, and I love her for it.I worried that I might miss the elements of fantasy or sci-fi that I’m used to encountering in Moreno-Garcia’s work, but this novel has proven that I’ll read basically anything she writes – I’d probably read her shopping list, to be honest – and I’d happily read another thriller from her in future. If I wasn’t already excited for Mexican Gothic (spoiler: I was), I certainly am now!
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  • Aimal (Bookshelves & Paperbacks)
    January 1, 1970
    It is 1979 in Baja California, and our protagonist Viridiana spends her summer days watching shark hunters pile carcasses on the seashore, under the harsh, unrelenting heat. She’s bored, her mother constantly pesters her and there’s nothing much to do around where she lives. When three American tourists arrive in her town and request the services of a translator, Viridiana moves into their summer home to help out. She becomes entwined in their glamorous lives, and begins to care for them… so It is 1979 in Baja California, and our protagonist Viridiana spends her summer days watching shark hunters pile carcasses on the seashore, under the harsh, unrelenting heat. She’s bored, her mother constantly pesters her and there’s nothing much to do around where she lives. When three American tourists arrive in her town and request the services of a translator, Viridiana moves into their summer home to help out. She becomes entwined in their glamorous lives, and begins to care for them… so when one of them dies, Viridiana finds herself lying to protect her friends, but soon finds that that might not have been the best course of action.This book is a fascinating, character-driven work that draws you in with its stifling, oppressive atmosphere. From the get-go, Garcia paints such a vivid picture of Viridiana’s life and her town, to the point that you feel as if you’re with her watching shark carcasses being piled onto the beach, pedaling bicycles across town and meeting glamorous foreigners for the very first time. Garcia’s ability to create and convey tone is so incredible, and I found myself turning the pages and progressing through the story with ease. But perhaps what this book does the best is character work, specifically in Viridiana. She has a clear, almost coming-of-age-like arc where she’s trying to discover herself, what she wants, is making mistakes and learning from them. After the book ends, you can pinpoint where Viridiana started and who she was before the main events of the book, and who she becomes after everything is said and done. Her arc was wonderful, and I had fun seeing her develop.But at the same time, while the protagonist’s character was so brilliantly fleshed-out, the side characters fell flat. Because of that, I couldn’t connect with them, and didn’t particularly care about what was happening to said characters. Even though the plot was interesting, I kept reading to see what would happen with Viridiana more than anything else. However, I still enjoyed this noir thriller with its subtle commentary on privilege and class disparity.Content warnings: Some portrayal of domestic abuse; sexual coercion; harassmentI received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    WOW.Review to follow. I have a TON to say about this book!Find more from me:Blog || Instagram || Twitter || YouTube
  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    " I don't believe in ghosts either. But sometimes they're here anyway."
  • Heather Allen
    January 1, 1970
    Check out this review and others on 80 Books Blog!I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.SMG is on fire! Three books publishing in less than a year! Fantasy novel Gods of Jade and Shadow was published July 2019, this mystery novel publishes in February 2020, and another horror novel called Mexican Gothic book comes out in June 2020 (dying to get my hands on this)! Ever since I read Signal to Noise I’ve appreciated her work and voice.*small spoilers ahead* Check out this review and others on 80 Books Blog!I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.SMG is on fire! Three books publishing in less than a year! Fantasy novel Gods of Jade and Shadow was published July 2019, this mystery novel publishes in February 2020, and another horror novel called Mexican Gothic book comes out in June 2020 (dying to get my hands on this)! Ever since I read Signal to Noise I’ve appreciated her work and voice.*small spoilers ahead*This book is a departure from the Author’s normal fantasy-inspired worlds. It’s set in 1970’s Baja, Mexico, in a town called Desengaño (translates to disillusion). It’s a small fishing village known for the killing and selling of shark meat and parts (hello, cover inspo). The novel is told from the perspective of Viridiana — no nickname. She’s a young woman who is trying to figure out what she wants to do for the rest of her life that doesn’t involve staying in town and working at her mother’s store. The plot kicks off when a wealthy American family comes to town; Ambrose and his wife Daisy, and Daisy’s brother Gregory are staying during the off season so that Ambrose can write his autobiography or novel or whatever strikes his fancy. Ambrose hires Viridiana at the recommendation of a friend of a friend (a Dutch man who lives in town named Reynier, who used to be a friend of Viridiana’s father before her father moved away. Reynier taught Viridiana multiple languages and has been a companion to her). Viridiana is there to help Ambrose write, help the family get things from town, and translate with the locals. A perk of the job is that she is allowed to live with the family, which she sees value in because her mother’s house is not very welcoming (many half-siblings, rude step-father, mother nagging about Viridiana’s life).The family turns out to be a bit more excitement than Viridiana expected. Ambrose has violent outbursts mostly directed towards his wife, Daisy plays hot and cold with her conversations with Viridiana, and Gregory starts a sexual relationship with Viridiana, though, notably, they never have sex because Viridiana doesn’t want to end up like her mother. She very quickly gets mixed up with their lives. On the night Ambrose dies, it’s clear that Daisy and Gregory are covering it up. Because of her naivety, Viridiana speaks with the cops and covers for Daisy and Gregory when they recount what happened. When Lawrence, Ambrose’s nephew, arrives to make arrangements for Ambrose’s death he also begins looking into his death and questioning everyone involved because he suspects Daisy killed him to get her payout of $1 million dollars. He earns Viridiana’s trust and she’s able to steer him in another direction. Daisy manipulates Viridiana into making sure she gets her money (otherwise she would acuse Viridiana for the death). The more she covers for Daisy and Gregory, the more she finds out about their past and the trouble they are running from in America.The coming-of-age theme is the most prevalent in Viridiana’s relationship with Gregory. She quickly accepts his attention as love, and it makes her easily trust him (as with any young relationship, tbh). When the time comes, she chooses to lie for him after Ambrose’s death and is doubly disappointed in him later on when she digs into his past with Daisy. I was so satisfied with the ending here because it’s so justified for their relationship and the plot as a whole.Another theme is how small this small town is. Viridiana was previously in a relationship with another boy in town and people expected her to marry him and settle down (at the young age of 18), but she resisted and alienated her family and friends because of it. Further, the other translator in town, Alejandro, harasses her after she takes up her friendship with Lawrence. People assume what they want to assume about her and Lawrence, but it’s not the reality. Cleverly, the author flips this trope when Viridiana uses town gossip for her own benefit. When she makes up her mind about right and wrong and her way out, it was smart to use the townspeople as an alibi for her movements. (Sorry this is a bit vauge, but I don’t want to spoil the ending.)The conclusion was, as I mentioned, extremely satisfying. Viridiana uses Lawrence’s affection towards her as a means to escape the town. I think there’s real feelings there from her, but it’s overshadowed by her deep need to leave because of murder reasons, but also the urge to escape that was addressed at the beginning of the book.To summarize, I had some frustration in the beginning because I felt that it took too long to get to the murder. I kept trying to guess who was going to die because it went on for quite a few chapters. The characters kept talking about people swimming with sharks, undercurrents drowning townspeople, and other accidental deaths, but we pretty much know right away who the killer is and from there it becomes a cover-up. Overall, I enjoyed how we got to see each characters strengths and weaknesses, and Viridiana’s overall character growth from innocent young woman to empowered personhood. I really recommend this for fans of thrillers like Ruth Ware and Agatha Christie (I get those vibes from the 1970s setting!).
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  • Athena
    January 1, 1970
    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 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-GarciaPublisher: Polis Books
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  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    "There was a calm inside her now, a silence. She'd always been so afraid that the land would eat her, but it was obvious now that the answer was you had to eat it. You have to be the carnivore, the devourer, the one who bites first. A shark, enormous, majestic, unstoppable, rows and rows of teeth." Untamed Shore is the second book that I have read written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and I am obsessed with the way that she writes. There is a certain flow to the writing that just absorbs you into the "There was a calm inside her now, a silence. She'd always been so afraid that the land would eat her, but it was obvious now that the answer was you had to eat it. You have to be the carnivore, the devourer, the one who bites first. A shark, enormous, majestic, unstoppable, rows and rows of teeth." Untamed Shore is the second book that I have read written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and I am obsessed with the way that she writes. There is a certain flow to the writing that just absorbs you into the story and it makes you feel like you are living it. The depictions of day-to-day life comes across as so authentic and you can tell that the representation comes from genuine knowledge and understanding. Viridiana starts of this novel with small-town naivete and a yearning to escape what is her life, she is able to make the most of what she has been given so far - using her intellect (both book-smarts and street-smarts) and her passion to get through each day. She refuses to accept the life that her mother and the community has planned for her, but doesn't know how she will get out. Thanks to three newcomers to Baja California, a way out starts to emerge. "Happy endings have a price, Viridiana. Hansel and Gretel don't get to escape the witch's house until they've pushed her in the oven ..." Viridiana is hired as a Personal Assistant to an author and lives alongside him, his wife and her brother. It is this melding of lives that starts us down the path of no return. We join Viridiana as she quickly loses her small-town naivete and learn that she has the strength and tenacity of the sharks she loves so much.I can't say too much about the characters in this novel without running the potential of writing spoilers, so I won't say too much, apart from the fact that I love that Silvia Moreno-Garcia writes such strong female characters and doesn't shy away from giving them flaws. It's an authentic, enjoyable experience reading these novels.*thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Meigan
    January 1, 1970
    Part coming-of-age tale, part crime novel, Untamed Shore follows the story of Viridiana, a young woman residing in the town of Desengaño in Baja California. Set during the 1970’s, the women of the town are supposed to follow tradition and marry a nice Mexican man, stay home and raise babies, and keep their dreams small and local. Viridiana knows that life isn’t for her and she dreams of things much bigger than anything Desengaño (and Manuel) can offer her. When a highly profitable job arises, Part coming-of-age tale, part crime novel, Untamed Shore follows the story of Viridiana, a young woman residing in the town of Desengaño in Baja California. Set during the 1970’s, the women of the town are supposed to follow tradition and marry a nice Mexican man, stay home and raise babies, and keep their dreams small and local. Viridiana knows that life isn’t for her and she dreams of things much bigger than anything Desengaño (and Manuel) can offer her. When a highly profitable job arises, Viridiana agrees to work for the wealthy Americans that are staying nearby. Viridiana’s always been fodder for gossip in her tiny town, but when trouble strikes her employers, she’s an even bigger target than she’s ever been. The world that Moreno-Garcia created in Untamed Shore was so rich and dimensional, it was easy to picture yourself right on the beach surrounded by the sharks and the fishermen and the hustle and bustle of this small, often depressing sea town. My favorite aspect though was Viridiana’s experiences throughout the book and seeing the world through her (often) very innocent eyes and watching her grow and change through the course of the book. The mystery is a main part of this book, and it’s interesting to see how the mystery shapes Viridiana and forces her to sort of let go of her naïveté. Death has been known to do that to people, and it certainly did so with Viridiana. I love Moreno-Garcia’s books and I’m always so impressed by her ability to cross genres, much as she did with Untamed Shore. But what I love most of all is that no matter if she’s writing fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, or domestic crime novels — Mexican characters and culture are *always* the heart and soul of her books. Untamed Shore reminded me quite a bit of those gritty, soft boiled crime novels of the 1970’s, and when you combine that aspect plus an amazing main character, a slowly developing mystery, and a rather depressing seaside town, this book easily gets 5 stars. Highly recommend for anyone who likes a good crime novel, and now I need to go and devour any of Moreno-Garcia’s books that I haven’t yet read. *eARC received via NetGalley.
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  • Sage Bailey
    January 1, 1970
    I’m a lucky ducky because Silvia Moreno-Garcia is releasing not one but TWO books this year and I have yet to walk away an unsatisfied reader. And before I get into my review I just want to say that most of the authors I like to read are deceased (Gloria Naylor, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison) and it is so refreshing to be able to follow the career of an upcoming author who refuses to limit herself to one genre. I hoped aboard this hype train with Signal to Noise and I’m glad to be along for the I’m a lucky ducky because Silvia Moreno-Garcia is releasing not one but TWO books this year and I have yet to walk away an unsatisfied reader. And before I get into my review I just want to say that most of the authors I like to read are deceased (Gloria Naylor, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison) and it is so refreshing to be able to follow the career of an upcoming author who refuses to limit herself to one genre. I hoped aboard this hype train with Signal to Noise and I’m glad to be along for the ride. Garcia has written a fantasy book where teenagers use magic through records, a fairytale-esque book that features a romance between a God of Death and a booksmart young woman and now has written a thriller wherein the bad guys lose, the good girl wins and you never really see where it’s going. In Untamed Shore we follow Viridiana, an 18 year old with a hunger to escape the world she finds herself in. Her mother wants her married off, she’s expected to be a wife and mother and she just wants more than her current life can offer. She ends up getting a job with rich (white) Americans and from there she is unknowingly seduced into a criminal life. What works best about this novel is that if you’re familiar with how thrillers work, you think you know how this is gonna go and because of how the novel sets up Viridiana and her desire you think you know what decisions she’ll make. Not wanting to spoil a beautiful twist, where Garcia takes this character and how she’s able to elevate the trope of a poor woman of color looking to rise above her situation is fantastic. When this character makes that big decision and it seems as though the goodwill and sympathy she’s earned might fade, the narrative turns in such a way that makes you realize, she is not them. And while she may have been dragged in to a bad situation she can adapt and make her way out.I don’t feel completely right about the way in which Viridiana has to present herself in order to ensure that justice is both swift AND fair, but I do understand why she did what she did and I was rooting for this character to get everything she wanted and more. This will be the newest hardcover added to my library, Untamed Shore gets ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ out of five and I CANNOT WAIT for Mexican Gothic in June.
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  • Elisa
    January 1, 1970
    When you read a book you may be thinking that it’s interesting, wondering about what’s going to happen next, suffering about a character’s fate or picturing the setting in your mind. Silvia Moreno Garcia’s novels accomplish all this, using the most beautiful the prose. Now, a lot of atmospheric novels with beautiful language are, honestly, boring but Moreno Garcia’s are not. She is the real deal: a superior writer who gets you engrossed in her plots. In her first thriller, she tells the story of When you read a book you may be thinking that it’s interesting, wondering about what’s going to happen next, suffering about a character’s fate or picturing the setting in your mind. Silvia Moreno Garcia’s novels accomplish all this, using the most beautiful the prose. Now, a lot of atmospheric novels with beautiful language are, honestly, boring but Moreno Garcia’s are not. She is the real deal: a superior writer who gets you engrossed in her plots. In her first thriller, she tells the story of Viridiana, a nice girl from a poor family in Mexico who is not happy with her life. She works hard and, her knowledge of languages gets her a job as a personal assistant to an American tourist. What starts in her mind as a Montgomery Cliff-Liz Taylor romance turns suddenly into the darkest noir and it all goes downhill from there. The characters are complex, they may have bad traits but even the villains have redeemable qualities. I knew what was going to happen with Viridiana’s crush but, being so young, it’s understandable how she gets blindsided. She is naïve but also smart, so she learns quickly. I was worried about her and hoped that she’d get out of the novel in a better position. The one TW I add to my reviews is animal cruelty. Know that there are passages describing the killing of sharks that I had to skip, but this is not gratuitous, as it is an important part of the background of the novel and a metaphor of the closed society Viridiana lives in.I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, NetGalley/Polis Books-Agora Books!
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.Viridiana finds the small fishing village in Baja California in which she lives to be stifling, especially when her mother and her loutish ex-boyfriend’s mother are campaigning for her to marry the boy and help run her would-be mother-in-law’s store. Viridiana dreams of college in Mexico City and following in her deadbeat dreamer dad’s footsteps to become a translator. When a wealthy Full disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.Viridiana finds the small fishing village in Baja California in which she lives to be stifling, especially when her mother and her loutish ex-boyfriend’s mother are campaigning for her to marry the boy and help run her would-be mother-in-law’s store. Viridiana dreams of college in Mexico City and following in her deadbeat dreamer dad’s footsteps to become a translator. When a wealthy old man entertaining ideas of writing a novel arrives in town with his glamorous wife and brother-in-law, he offers Viridiana an opportunity too good for her to pass up: a summer living as his translator and personal assistant in the fancy home he has rented, for which she would be paid extremely well for sporadic work taking notes and typing whenever he felt like working on the book. Of course, she quickly discovers that this is a family of secrets and complicated relationships, and she must tread carefully in her dealings with them.Viridiana starts out naive, slowly learning over the course of the novel how others are manipulating her. She is used to being the smartest person in the room and understands the small town politics and corruption that she has grown up with, but begins the novel dazzled by her employers’ glamorous lifestyle and charm. When one of them dies, she begins to unravel the truth about them and must use her wits to save herself from incrimination in their schemes.I enjoyed the slow burn and introspective protagonist, which offered excellent character development and suspense at how Viridiana would try to navigate and survive the drama unfolding around her. This is Moreno-Garcia’s first book outside the SFF genre, and she has pulled it off well. If you like noir-style suspense, I highly recommend this novel.
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  • M
    January 1, 1970
    ** I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley.This book was… A Perfect Execution of exactly what it promised and it blew my mind. Completely.Let me explain.I’ve recently learned that my definition of noir and other people’s definition go far and wide, apparently. Especially with US based readers? So just to make it clear where I am coming from: To me, Hardboiled Dick Novels and Roman Noir are not the same thing for me. And Noir is not a thriller, not a detective novel at all, and it is not ** I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley. This book was… A Perfect Execution of exactly what it promised and it blew my mind. Completely. Let me explain. I’ve recently learned that my definition of noir and other people’s definition go far and wide, apparently. Especially with US based readers? So just to make it clear where I am coming from: To me, Hardboiled Dick Novels and Roman Noir are not the same thing for me. And Noir is not a thriller, not a detective novel at all, and it is not about finding the killer and eliminating or arresting them by the end of the book. So if you are expecting this from Untamed Shore? You might want to reconsider if this is the right book for you. I found it to be a *perfect* noir, and it did exactly what noir stories do imo. Because noir does not focus on the whodunnit, not really.  It’s not about right and wrong and choosing between the two, but more about how many gray areas there are, all in various shades and how life and power and the world corrupt us, especially once something really bad happens and puts us in impossible situations. If I had to sum it up right I’d probably say noir are crime novels with no heroes, no justice, no clear moral path and no happy end. Not in the classic way people think of when they hear the words “crime novel”. Silvia Moreno-Garcia did a fantastic job of capturing that essence and turned it into an incredible novel that I couldn’t put down. We follow Viridiana, an outsider in her small Mexican town in 1979, who doesn’t want to marry the man the town thinks she should marry, doesn’t focus in the things people think she should be focusing on and doesn’t behave the way everyone wants her to behave. When three American tourists come into town she gets hired as their secretary - kind of - but quickly falls off the deep end with them and the excitement and escape from her real life they seem to offer. It was amazing to me to watch Viridiana go from the kind of pure and morally “good” girl trying to find her footing to the woman she is in the end. And right from the start you know things will go sideways, nothing is really how it seems and you also know that no matter who is going to die and who is going to kill, there will be no clear division into “bad guy” and “good guy”. And when it happens you know who did it, you just *know*, but the real suspense builds up all around the question how everyone will deal with the death of this tourist, with uncovering or covering up the murder that happened in their midst, and how far every single character is willing to go to get the result they want. This novel sucked me in deep, it kept me constantly suspended between the disgust you feel when you watch a character absolutely violates your moral code, and empathy for the characters and their situations because deep down I can’t for sure say what I would have done. And rooting for everything being “okay” again, even though you know things were not okay at all before and this murder is just bringing to light how corrupted and distorted morality, society and life has always been, even when you refused to see it or call it that. I loved this journey. I loved the way in which Moreno-Garcia approached and dissected the layers of deception, secrecy and moral grayness surrounding the crime, the town, and the main characters. It was gritty and thrilling and awful all at the same time, in the most perfect and intriguing way. I definitely recommend this book if you are a fan of the genre, of this kind of story telling and of truly morally gray characters.CW: murder, domestic abuse, coercion and sexual abuse on page, alcohol abuse, police corruption, psychological manipulation and gaslighting, misogyny
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  • Lisa Carter
    January 1, 1970
    Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a Canadian author of five previous titles, all different genres and all critically acclaimed. This is the first book I have read by Moreno-Garcia and am now eager to dive into her back catalogue and will watch for all new releases.Untamed Shore is the story of a young woman who wants out of her seaside village in Baja California—aptly named Desengaño, or “disillusion.” Viridiana is determined to leave and never return, unlike her mother (who did come back, with Viridiana’ Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a Canadian author of five previous titles, all different genres and all critically acclaimed. This is the first book I have read by Moreno-Garcia and am now eager to dive into her back catalogue and will watch for all new releases.Untamed Shore is the story of a young woman who wants out of her seaside village in Baja California—aptly named Desengaño, or “disillusion.” Viridiana is determined to leave and never return, unlike her mother (who did come back, with Viridiana’s big-city father) and very much like her father (who didn’t stay long).Viridiana is bright and bookish. She speaks English and French, besides Spanish, and often interprets for visiting gringos. This summer, she takes a live-in job with a family of wealthy Americans: an older man, his dazzling young wife, and her movie-star handsome brother.When one of the trio dies, Viridiana makes a choice that topples a whole series of dominoes.Both a thriller and a coming-of-age story, Viridiana is caught between the desert — “a land plagued by restless dreams, by dark dreaming, edged by salt and strange cirio trees” — and a shark-filled sea. By the end, our protagonist has evolved and clamps down on her future between “rows of razor-sharp teeth.”Untamed Shore is an artful, nuanced, and superbly crafted novel with a black-and-white cinematic feel. I highly recommend it.Review copy graciously provided by Agora books.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an advanced copy of “Untamed Shore” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Thoughts and opinions are my own.I’m a simple creature and when I saw this cover I got the grabby hands. I love sharks! Honestly, I wasn’t sure how I’d take the story because it’s not a genre (historical and/or thriller) I normally read. But I was pleasantly surprised by this story.Viridiana lives in a beach town by the sea where not much happens. The descriptions were very vivid and Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an advanced copy of “Untamed Shore” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Thoughts and opinions are my own.I’m a simple creature and when I saw this cover I got the grabby hands. I love sharks! Honestly, I wasn’t sure how I’d take the story because it’s not a genre (historical and/or thriller) I normally read. But I was pleasantly surprised by this story.Viridiana lives in a beach town by the sea where not much happens. The descriptions were very vivid and I could see the different settings but especially the beach where the fishermen harvest and process dead sharks to make a living. I could empathize with Viridiana’s fear of being trapped in the little town just like her mother. But everything changes when Viridiana gets hired to work for American tourists for the summer. When one dies under suspicious circumstances, what follows is a twisty story where Viridiana is trying to wade through all the lies (some of them her own) in waters filled with creatures much more deadly than sharks. I wasn’t expecting this story to grab me as much as it did. The setting was vivid and Viridiana was a character I could relate to and root for. I did feel I was often one step ahead of her as the mysteries began to unfold but I enjoyed the ride anyways.4/5 stars
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  • T.B. Caine
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley & the publishers for the ARC! My Booktube4.5 stars rounded up to 5Viridiana might have one of my favorite characters arcs in fiction. The novel is a little slower than other suspenseful books I have read, but it definitely balances out and is worth it. The murder in the synopsis takes a while to appear, but the time spent before is spent developing the cast and the location so we can be shook as everything begins to shift for the second half of the book. As the entire Thank you to Netgalley & the publishers for the ARC! My Booktube4.5 stars rounded up to 5Viridiana might have one of my favorite characters arcs in fiction. The novel is a little slower than other suspenseful books I have read, but it definitely balances out and is worth it. The murder in the synopsis takes a while to appear, but the time spent before is spent developing the cast and the location so we can be shook as everything begins to shift for the second half of the book. As the entire second half is surprise after surprise after surprise. The plot developed naturally and everything felt connected the further you went in. There weren't any surprises/revelations that didn't make sense. The town felt very small-town which is what is was, and I loved it. There was an intense feeling of isolation even with there being people around. And just in general, Moreno-Garcia is a great writer and her prose can just carry you through a novel. I really don't want to spoil anything but if you are only going to read one noir book in your life it should be this one.
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