Review: Undertow by SM Stelmack

Posted January 13, 2014 by Vampbard in Rating B, Reviews, Urban Fantasy Tags: , , ,

Author: S.M. Stelmack 
Reviewer: VampBard
Rating: B+

What I’m Talking About:

Creepmeister things living in tunnels underground?!?! Um. This book needs to come with some sort of ‘Stephen King inspired me’ warning. Naturally, I’m a fan of all things pre-1992 King. Stelmack completely nailed the ambiance of the underground and put her reader smack-dab in the middle of all sorts of crazy!

What I really liked about Undertow was the underlying theme of ‘love can conquer all’. I liked everything about the whole development of the relationship between Lindsay and Jack. Even though the ‘I’ve loved you forever’ trope is often used, Stelmack brings a fresh twist that I really enjoyed. And it was realistic.

In reality, this was really a breakneck pace book. We moved from one conflict directly into the next with a night of nookie in between. Ok. I’m generalizing. You get the idea. If I had to pinpoint the reason this isn’t an ‘A’ book for me, I’d have to say that some of the descriptions of the tunnel communities and the people that inhabited them bothered me a bit. It’s a me, feminist thing.

The supporting characters, especially Reggie, were all necessary. No extraneous characters. No side story lines that send the reader on a wild goose chase. However, when I skimmed the first several pages for the sequel, there was no mention of Jack. This is my sad face over that: 🙁 (As I rule, I try not to read the ‘teasers’ at the end of a novel. I have very little self-control, and my imagination hits overdrive easily.)

Lindsay sure has had a crappy luck-of-the-draw in life. As the guardian of her niece, she’s suffered more loss than should be even possible. I liked her tenacity. I like her honesty with herself. I liked the way she was willing to give Jack space while letting him know that she did love him. Her ability to love, forgive, and believe make her a memorable character for me.

Jack was one of those characters that I wasn’t sure I’d like. He starts out as rather a prig, and for a bit I wasn’t sure whether I’d actually finish the title because I just didn’t want to read about someone so damaged self-combusting. It’s a ‘me’ thing right now. Watching him develop and emerge from within himself is one of the fascinating things about this title. Of all his qualities of which I am enamored, I think that I’m most drawn to his self-awareness.

Undertow was a great book for me to read during a couple snow days. The energy made it easy to keep reading, and the plot was compelling enough that I did have one late night of reading versus sleeping. Yup. Always a sign of a title worth picking up.

Rating: B+ — Liked It A Lot


About the Book:

Lindsay Sterling’s niece has gone missing in the New York underground and the cops do nothing except pass along a name. Jack Cole. Twenty years ago they were good buddies but horrors have changed them both. Lindsay lost her entire family except for her niece in a car accident, and Jack was held captive in New York’s underbelly for nearly two years by demented sub-humans. It was a soul-sucking experience that’s left him a shell of a man. He refuses to descend into that hell again, especially for a girl who’s probably dead anyway. But when Lindsay is nearly killed there after going it alone, Jack feels compelled to save her skin. Jack navigates Lindsay through a strange territory, populated with the eccentric, the insane and the desperate. Each encounter takes them closer to Lindsay’s niece but also closer into the clutches of the mad creatures that will enslave them.

Release Date: November 28, 2013
Publisher: Self-published
Series: UnderCity Chronicles #1
ISBN: 978-0991869817
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (326 pages), e-book
Book Source: Author

Purchase Info:
Undertow (The UnderCity Chronicles #1)