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
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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.
PRAISE FOR WHAT LIES BELOW:
“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
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ON WRITING, PART TWO
GUEST POST BY BARBARA SISSEL
(originally posted 9/21/17 on Women Writers, Women’s Books)
I was often the one fighting tears, listening to the stories, the often-heartbreaking ways in which a family’s life was altered by their son’s crime. I hadn’t ever thought of crime in terms of collateral damage before, especially when it came to the families of the perpetrators.
When my first son was born, and we brought him home to the prison, a few days later, when I was asked to come down to the dining hall on a pretext, I was reluctant. I looked awful for one thing. I was the picture of the exhausted new mom. But when I got there the scene that greeted me brought me to tears.
Those guys had collected gifts for my baby. They’d had one of their moms make a quilt, chipped in to buy a savings bond, booties, a box of diapers. They’d made dinner for me and baked a cake. Inmates, in a prison! Now that I had my own child, a son, I thought about it—how despite the way he was raised, things could go wrong. I might one day be the mother of an inmate. I’d met a few such mothers; I knew firsthand they weren’t different from me.
After I finished my first novel, I saw an article in the Houston Chronicle about a relatively young guy on death row, located then at the Walls unit in Huntsville. He was labeled a volunteer because he had declined further appeals and asked the judge to set the date of his execution. It sent a chill through me.
I wondered how it must be to know the date of your death, what it must feel like, watching the days pass until that day arrives. And then I thought: What must it feel like to be his mother? I wrote the book, the second book, exposing my idea of that journey and how it might unfold. I couldn’t stop myself.
After we left Kentucky, we received Christmas cards from several of the inmates through the years. Most of them turned their lives around. I think being segregated in a rural setting with lots of one-on-one counseling from gifted counselors like my husband was key to their success.
At the time the program was in place, the inmate recidivism rate dropped a significant amount. And a seed was planted in my brain, one that I continue to nourish, or possibly it continues to nourish me.
The books I’ve authored aren’t the ones I planned to write. They evolved out of my experience, where I was given a bird’s eye view of the indomitability of the human spirit and the heart’s capacity to love and to forgive. Along the way, I conceived of a tagline, which pretty much sums it up: At the heart of every crime, there’s a family, someone you love. In every book, I search for the place where it’s impossible to forgive, impossible to allow love to heal. I haven’t found it yet.
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.
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MAY 15-24, 2018
VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
|5/15/18||Excerpt||Texas Book Lover|
|5/16/18||Review||Dressed to Read|
|5/17/18||Author Interview||That’s What She’s Reading|
|5/18/18||Review||The Clueless Gent|
|5/19/18||Notable Quotable/Bonus Review||The Love of a Bibliophile|
|5/20/18||Notable Quotable||Story Schmoozing Book Reviews|
|5/21/18||Review||A Page Before Bedtime|
|5/22/18||Guest Post Part 1||Reading by Moonlight|
|5/23/18||Guest Post Part 2||Books in the Garden|
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