Lying in the Deep by Diana Urban is the perfect murder mystery to start your summer

Lying in the Deep. Image courtesy Razorbill
Lying in the Deep. Image courtesy Razorbill /

"It feels like there’s an abundance of murder mystery thrillers as of late, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Diana Urban’s Lying in the Deep takes the murder mystery genre to the high seas and traps it aboard what should be a semester-at-sea European cruise."

If you’ve read either of Urban’s other twisty mystery books (All Your Twisted Secrets in 2020 and These Deadly Games in 2022), you’ll feel right at home cracking open Lying in the Deep and diving right in, pun intended!

Lying in the Deep is a twisty tale that will keep you guessing

I love the YA murder mysteries from Karen McManus and E. Lockhart and Urban’s first two books are up there in my rankings, too, so I was very interested to see how quickly the book would suck me in. As it turns out, I was hooked after the first chapter.

The premise is simple enough: Jade’s been dumped by both her boyfriend (Silas) and her best friend (Lainey) and they’ve cut her out of their lives and started very publicly dating. But it’s nothing Jade can’t handle because she signed up for a semester at sea study abroad program that will take her to 11 countries over the span of four months. It puts half a globe between her and her exes.

Except they’re also going on the cruise, and they seem to pop up everywhere Jade is, not just on the boat, but even in the towns where the ship makes port. It doesn’t matter that Jade’s made some new friends and may have a potential new love interest in the mysterious Felix, they’re everywhere. And Jade can’t stop herself from keeping tabs on them either.

The only problem is that people with a connection to Jade start to wind up dead. And as more and more issues keep cropping up (and an extra murder or two happen), it feels like there’s no way out for Jade.

The twists and turns of the whodunit premise will keep you saying “just one more chapter” every time you sit down to read it. But it’s not just about getting to the bottom of the mystery, because the cast of supporting characters is eclectic and so much fun.

Jade bunks with a set of twins who are polar opposites and take Jade under their wing immediately. And they pull her into a group of new friends who help her try to find her new place in the world, including a wannabe influencer and a pre-med student who comes to realize he may not want to be a doctor.

My only complaint revolves around a bit of repetitiveness at the beginning, with Jade attempting to confront her ex-boyfriend without Lainey around, only to have Lainey show up and shoo her off, and Jade just… does as she’s told with no arguments or fighting and is back to square one. It’s not bad if it only happens once, but multiple times feels unnecessary.

It also comes at a time when Jade feels a little too over-the-top with the “woe is me” act when it comes to what happened with her and Lainey/Silas. But if you can make it past these few bumps in the road, the rest of the story takes off and you’ll have a new person to suspect around every twist.

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Lying in the Deep releases on May 2nd. You can preorder anywhere books are sold!