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What Lies Beneath

Lancaster Falls, Book 1
By: RJ Scott
Narrated by: Sean Crisden
Series: Lancaster Falls, Book 1
Length: 5 hrs and 44 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the hottest summer on record, Iron Lake reservoir is emptying, revealing secrets that were intended to stay hidden beneath the water.

Best-selling horror writer Chris Lassiter struggles for inspiration and he's close to never writing again. His life has become an endless loop of nothing but empty pages, personal appearances, and a marketing machine that is systematically destroying his muse. In a desperate attempt to force Chris to complete unfinished manuscripts his agent buys a remote cabin. All Chris has to do is hide away and write, but he's lost his muse, and not even he can make stories appear from thin air. 

Sawyer Wiseman left town for Chicago, chasing the excitement and potential of being a big city cop, rising the ranks, and making his mark. A case gone horribly wrong draws him back to Lancaster Falls. Working for the tiny police department in the town he'd been running from, digging into cold cases and police corruption, he spends his day's healing, and his nights hoping the nightmares of his last case leave him alone.

Contains mature themes.

©2019 RJ Scott (P)2019 Tantor

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Intriguing set up can't wait for more

The amount of mysteries I read before I started reading MM romance was possibly just one. I can't actually remember, but mystery was not my thing, to be sure. I have now read many mysteries from many authors featuring characters that are LGBT. I have really come to love the mysteries as much as the romance. The mystery happening in this book has the possibility to be pretty intense but for now we have the set up.

And there is a lot of set up for this world the author created. Sawyer has returned to his hometown after a pretty bad situation occured while he was an officer in a big city. The town is kind of what you expect from a cliche'd small town. Everyone knows everyone and gossip flows freely. The police captain and the mayor have a good old boys network going on that smacks of bribery and corruption. The mayor's son is addicted to drugs and beats his wife, but he'll never face consequences when it's so much more convenient to sweep it under the rug. There is also a small town pastor who tries to save the town's population by getting them to church. There is something about him and his interest in helping the kids of the town that I find suspicious. Though nothing is really revealed about him, so it might just be me. I do believe that Sawyer's job in this series is to remove the corruption from the town one person at a time, and the mystery might unravel at a slow pace as he stops each person standing in his way.

Ah, yes, the mystery! It does take a little while into this book to grasp the exact nature of the mystery. At first, it seems like one person might have met an untimely end in the river, when Chris finds a skull in the dried up riverbeds, but the amount of bones also found in the area end up revealing that there is more than one skeleton buried beneath the water. It is very intriguing. And one of them might be someone that Sawyer used to know. By the end of this book, there is no real answer to who might have hidden the dead bodies under the river, or why their deaths were covered up so as far as the mystery goes, this is a very open-ended ending. But I am very intrigued and am definitely interested in the future books of this series.

I don't want to forget to talk about the two main characters and their budding romance. In the beginning of this book, both Chris and Sawyer are kind of dour. Both dealing with problems with a seriousness and emotional void that doesn't really endear either of them to me at first. Chris's care for his pet, and Sawyer's love for his niece slowly starts humanizing them for me, and as they spend more and more time with each other, they finally seem like more than automatons. What Sawyer went through in Chicago, really was horrible and I felt bad for him as he finally let someone in on how that affected him. Chris seemed really down at first, and I suppose it was warranted because his crippling writer's block was threatening to end his career. He also seems to express his desires at least when he pursues Sawyer. By the end of this story, I was definitely more in touch with both characters and am eager to see what happens with them in the future books.

Last but not least, I want to mention the narration. I have enjoyed Sean's narrations in the past, so I was confident his narration of this book would be great as well. I did mention in the last paragraph about how gloomy the characters were and how I felt unaffected by them at first. Experiencing this book as an audiobook first without reading it does leave me to wonder if the characters are as bleak as I felt they were narrated by Sean Crisden. Was it how they were written or his narration? I was even feeling a little morose listening to him, at least in the beginning. As the two men spent time together, and started to brighten up a little, the narration changed to reflect that. It's hard to say how I feel about the narration because while it might have reflected the characters accurately, it had me feeling kind of blah for part of the time.

Overall, I would absolutely recommend the ebook and/or audio and I think there will be really interesting finds to come and hopefully a little more happiness for these characters as well.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Mystery w/Delicious Blend of Danger &Romance

Audiobook Review November 2019:
Yet another audiobook listened to in the same year as my original reading, not something I often do but as 2019 seems to be my year for audio I thought "Why not another one?". So in I went. Even listening so closely after reading, What Lies Beneath is still amazing and brilliant and has left me even more eager for book 2. As I said in my original review, mystery may not be RJ Scott's goto genre but when she includes suspense and mayhem in her story it makes the experience that much better. As for Sean Crisden's narration? Well it's a no brainer that he is spot on with both Chris & Sawyer. The characters Miss Scott has created is a great combination of fiction and reality, when read by Mr. Crisden they come across as not only realistic but also as your next door neighbor. Just an all around great reading package.


Original ebook Review July 2019:
RJ Scott doing mystery . . . when I heard her newest release was going to be a mystery I just knew I had to read. Yes, I know it's an RJ Scott book so that alone made this a must for me but a mystery? That was like adding another layer of icing on top of an already chocolate frosted cake. Mystery may not be her most-visited genre but whenever she's had it within her stories it has always been extra yummy. What Lies Beneath, the first part of her new Lancaster Falls Trilogy, is nothing short of brilliant.

Before I delve into the story I should mention that though I wouldn't label the ending a cliffhanger it does continue into the next entry and as Lancaster Falls is a trilogy I'm going to go out on a limb and say the second one will continue into the third one(that's just my guess). I'm only mentioning this because not everyone likes the waiting period between continued storylines so if that is you then you might want to hold off reading these till the trilogy is complete but trust me you will definitely want to read it so be sure and mark it towards the top of your TBR list.

Now on to Beneath. Talk about a perfect set up: an author having trouble beginning the finale to his trilogy so his agent finds him the perfect place to buckle down and create, he goes for walk with his dog, finds a skull, meets a cop, and eventually stumbles into a new direction for his already established trilogy. What's not to love? Chris the author and Sawyer the cop are not exactly what I would call opposites but their not two peas in a pod either.

Chris may have internal struggles with his writer's block but his sort-of carefree attitude has a lot more to do with his rambunctious dog, Kota, and his determination to have a drink with Sawyer the cop. There's only a few scenes between Chris and his agent on the phone but its enough to get a feel for their relationship and I don't know if either would call the other a friend but I think it reads as a definite friendship which doesn't always come when a book has author/agent scenes, more times than not its contentious bordering on contract-tearing-up so this was a nice aspect to be added to Chris' character. When he starts doing a little research on his own in regards to the case and tidbits he's heard in the small-town-grapevine I was afraid of where it might lead but once again Miss Scott didn't go where I thought and it was a pleasant change of pace.

As for Sawyer, well its pretty obvious something bad happened with his time as a cop in Chicago that helped him come home. Small towns often mean small crimes which as someone who grew up in a small town can be perfectly true but that also means when a skull is found its big news. A skull found anywhere should be big news but lets face it, in larger cities its really only a blip that will most likely fall into the hands of the cold case division. With Sawyer he's been in the big city so he's able to deal with it better than most would but everything that goes with the big cases have made his already existing nightmares bigger and more personal. Watching the pair navigate the newness with the mystery and their individual struggles really adds to their likability and the realism of the characters.

As for the mystery, I won't say any more than it starts with a skull, some bones, and the possibility of who they might belong to. If you want to more, and you definitely will, you'll have to read for yourself because this is a spoiler-free zone. Chris and Sawyer are a delight and I know that sounds odd to say in a murder mystery and it'll sound even odder when I use the word "fun" to describe how much I loved What Lies Beneath but it is fun and entertaining with just enough dark and disturbing mixed with romance and heat to make this an all-around reading gem. I have my theories and I can't wait to get a hold of book two to see if my theories are on track or if I have to come up with completely new ones.

One last thing I need to add and thank RJ Scott for: I loved the size and feel of Lancaster Falls. I can't say all books because obviously I haven't read every book out there but in my personal reading experience, when an author writes about small towns they tend to go either the route of less than 500 or about 5000, yes both those populations are small towns but I grew up in a town that until the 1990 census was only a village, despite the fact that we were the county seat it took hitting 2500 that made a village into a town. I don't recall a population number actually given(I could be wrong, I might have just missed/forgotten it) but Lancaster Falls reads more like where I grew up and for that I thank you, RJ because it just made the story more real for me.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Loved the narration



I enjoyed the narration of this book. Sean Crisden made me want to meet the characters especially Sawyer. His interpretation of ‘Koda, Chris’s dog was cute and entertaining. The narration added to the depth of the story.

The following is the review I wrote after reading the book.

Sawyer returned from the big city to be a small town cop. A small town like any other. Full of life, laughter, lies, secrets, and bones, so many bones.

Chris is a successful writer with a severe case having no words. Banished to a cabin in a small town, he needs to come up with his next book. While looking for inspiration he meets Sawyer. They begin a tentative relationship which quickly turns very real for both men.

Sawyer is juggling too many things. Trying to keep his little town on the straight and narrow has become impossible. Falling in love definitely wasn’t in the plan.

I read this book in one sitting. As always this author has written a story with a nice romance and great characters. This books also includes a hint of evil. The author left the story with basically a HFN and many unanswered questions. Wouldn’t really call it a cliffhanger as I was satisfied with this book but really want the next one.


  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow, great story and I can't wait for the next one

I reviewed this book when it was published in July 2019 and now, I've had the opportunity to listen to the audiobook, performed by the fantastic Sean Crisden. A great narrator can sometimes turn a mediocre book into one that is OK but a great narrator can also make a fantastic book even better and Sean Crisden has done just that.

Below is a copy of my original review from back in July. I loved this story then and I loved it all over again while I listened to it.

* * * * *
I knew before I started this book that it was the first in a trilogy. So, I didn't expect everything to be tied up and answered in What Lies Beneath. I'm not sure I would exactly classify it as a cliffhanger, but be warned that all questions aren't answered in this book. There is a HFN for the main couple in the story.

Now that I have that obligatory cliffhanger statement out of the way I have to emphasize how great this story is; maybe one of RJ's best books, and it's certainly a fantastic start to a new series. Whenever I read a book where one of the main characters is an author, I always have to wonder how much of the character comes from the real life of the book's author? I have no clue about this one.

Best-selling horror writer Chris Lassiter is suffering from writer's block. I follow RJ Scott pretty closely but I can't recall if she's ever mentioned suffering from this malady. In any case, Chris's problem is somewhat integral to the story and I found reading about his difficulty fascinating.

Sawyer Wiseman is originally from Lancaster Falls but he left to become a cop in Chicago. He returns to Lancaster Falls several years later and is now a Lieutenant on the local police force. We know that he's suffering because of something that happened in Chicago but it's a bit into the story before all is revealed.

RJ's books often have me dissolving into tears or sobs at some point but this one didn't and I still loved it. I think because the story was so suspenseful that the mystery and suspense was really my main focus and not so much the emotional stuff like is usual. Towards the end however, the familiar emotional reaction finally made itself known and the tears fell.

The mystery, actually multiple mysteries, is yet to be solved but reading the story of Chris and Sawyer's developing relationship and finally, their declaration of love, was just perfect. Enough loose threads of the story were tied up that I'm not dying from a typical cliffhanger feeling, but I surely can't wait to get my hands on the next book, Without a Trace.

A copy of this audiobook was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author/narrator.

***Reviewed for Xtreme-Delusions dot com***

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A very intriguing thriller with a cliffhanger

I can be short about this: this book is a very captivating narrative of all the things that lie beneath the everyday surface goings on in a small town. The love story between Chris snd Sawyer sounds a bit bloodless, a bit like "oh yes I have to somehow write that in". The emphasis is definitely on the unravelling crime plot. The book ends on a cliffhanger, and I'm very curious to hear how it all unfolds and if the relationship between Chris and Sawyer develops a bit more.
The narrator is not my favourite. After a while listening his voice becomes a bit of a drone.

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  • choccygrl
  • 12-11-19

Excellent

I think this might be the best RJ Scott book I've read in ages (and since I enjoy all her work that is high praise indeed). It's creepy with suspense and an age old mystery. The romance takes a back seat to the mystery for most of the book but it doesn't suffer for it. I believed in these guys and what they've built. I felt Chris' frustration and understood the worlds in his head and how they encroched on the real world. Excellent setting (the lake was haunting) and a great cast of secondary characters.

Brilliantly performed by Sean Crisden.