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Untamed Shore

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,279 ratings  ·  311 reviews
A coming-of-age story set in Mexico 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 dream
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 12th 2021 (first published February 11th 2020)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  1,279 ratings  ·  311 reviews

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Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Oct 09, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, fiction, suspense, mexico
Untamed Shore is a little book that I love but that few people read. It got wonderful reviewers (two starred reviews, one from Booklist and one from Library Journal), but it's from a small press and came out smack in the middle of COVID-19. In fact, I was doing a promotional tour on my own dime when I had to head back home.

Anyway, it's not a thriller but a noir. Yes, there's a difference: the stakes are small here. It's also a coming of age story wrapped in bleakness. As Crime Time put it it's
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 plotted 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 ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, arcs
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 insufferabl
The Captain
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-mystery
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 fant
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…or was it ever? I’m a fan of the author, I’ve read all of her latest books and enjoyed them tremendously, she does a terrific job of blending dramatic with supernatural and even fantasy, it’s always dark, always literary and always good. So I would have read this book (her debut thriller) just on the name appeal, but then again I would have read that book going by the cover appeal alone too. That’s a great cover. And indeed sharks featu ...more
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 Stars

TWs: 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 desperatio
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 a ...more
Lady H
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
If you venture into this book expecting a high-stakes, fast-paced thriller, you will inevitably be disappointed. This is not a mystery; there is no whodunit, no hunting clues to track down the killer, no chases or escapes. Untamed Shore is instead a languid, character-driven coming-of-age tale, a sort of literary noir set against the atmospheric background of 1970s small-town Baja California.

And what a background it is. Moreno-Garcia has always had a way of bringing settings and locales to life.
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
“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 setting

Galley provided by publisher

Have 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 li
it started a little slower than some of smg's other things but damn that ending might just be my favorite ...more
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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 t
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A masterclass in subverting my expectations for a character arc
Story/plot--4 stars
character development-4 stars
writing style-3 stars
believability-2 stars
started on audio but unhappy with the narration and it was too slow, so changed to print.

Final 3.5 star book
This is a book I actually liked more than the ratings show. I hate to admit it but the cover is what sold me on picking it up. It is the story of Viridiana, an 18 year old girl living in a small town in Baja California with big dreams. It is largely 3 parts coming of age story and 1 part mystery. Vir
Alas, the dude is not fed to the shark after all, but this is still quite satisfying. You can taste the salt in the air and smell the decomposing bodies of the sharks the fishermen have left on the beach, you can feel the sun on the back of your neck, and you know exactly what it's like for Viridiana in Desengaño with everyone watching everything she does. Another book that was good enough to read in a few hours. ...more
Set in 1970s Mexico, Untamed Shore is a story we know all too well – that of a young girl with dreams much too big for her small hometown. Viridiana dreams of Paris, Hollywood, Mexico City, and other places far, far away from Desengaño where she’s lived her whole life. When three wealthy tourists arrive in town and hire her as an assistant and tour guide, she thinks the money from this job is her ticket out of here. That is at least until one of them is murdered, and she’s drawn into a web of li ...more
Sue Em
Mar 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Atmospheric, slow-paced thriller. In a small Baja California town where the largest industries are shark fishing and tourists, and not that many of them, a bored young woman constrained by societal mores takes a job with 3 tourists. Although she doesn't care for the temperamental older husband, she's attracted to the glamour of the younger wife and the younger man whose role in the triangle is left undetermined. Moody and noirlike in tone it moves to an inexorable conclusion. Thanks to netgalley ...more
Shannon (That's So Poe)
I went into this book not sure what to expect since I'm not generally a reader of thrillers, but I was surprised by how much I ended up loving it! Silvia Moreno-Garcia has the most amazing ability to create an engrossing atmosphere that you can sink into and feel completely immersed in. The small fishing town in Baja California in the 1970s that this story is set in provides the perfect backdrop for the omens and brewing storm of a suspicious death of a foreigner that the main character, Viridia ...more
Bogi Takács
Really liked this crime novel - very strong sense of place, and the pacing that started gentle and then sped up was a great match with the plot. Without spoilers, it has one of those crimes that I feel are underappreciated in fiction and I see them more often in true crime.

I love it that every Silvia Moreno-Garcia novel is so different, and yet has its commonalities. I also feel she writes some of the best young women characters out there, and this applies to Untamed Shore too.
Source of the
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like thrillers and suspense
Shelves: arcs
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
Janine Ballard
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I 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-yea
Katherine "Kj" Joslin
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2020-may
This book was more of a coming of age book with a murder and less of a Thriller. It was well written and the liked the writing but it was not quite the murder mystery I was looking for.
Mar 01, 2020 marked it as dnf-lost-interest  ·  review of another edition

DNF 35%.
Jul 13, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This book doesn’t have the best cover but I’m here to support precious Mexican content. ¡Sí señor!
Tara♥ {MindforBooks}
Viridiana is one of those heroines who is really not a great person but you kind of want to be her!

Should I ever need to be, I really wish I could be as badass as her. Or is it be more of a psychopath? I don't think she is an out and out psychopath but girlfriend took no prisoners. It was kind of amazing.

The shark was the perfect metaphor.

As usual, Silvia Moreno-Garcia does atmospheric really well. This is my third book of hers and none of them have been the same (well besides the clever use of
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-releases
Very delightful historical fiction novel with thriller elements. It’s set in a little coastal town in Mexico in 1979 and it features a sort of coming of age of the main character Viridiana. I enjoyed her development a lot. If you like The Violent Delights or Talented Mystery Ripply you’ll vibe with this book too. (It’s not queer though)
The audiobook narrator Maria Liatis has done a great job!
Highly recommend! I’m looking forward to reading more books by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
Ariel (ariel_reads)
This book is a lovely 1970s noir with an expert crescendo of a plot that kept me hooked. I read this book in two sittings. The ending was satisfying, the setting of Baja California was beautiful, and I loved the character development of Viridiana.
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OMG this book was so good. I had no idea that Silvia Moreno-Garcia had published another book this year. I had been looking forward to Mexican Gothic for months, but this one escaped my notice. Maybe because it's not sci-fi or horror? Anyway this tells the story of a young woman, Veridiana, who is caught between the small-town life her family wants for her and the larger, freer life she sees for herself. She lives in a tiny touristy village in Baja and wants to live a life more like the movies s ...more
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(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.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cracking good page-turner of a 'sunlight noir' thriller. The plot itself is more or less paint-by-numbers, but the entire experience is elevated by the quality of the writing, the beauty of the unique setting, and the compelling nature of the lead character. I imagine most crime-thriller enthusiasts will also have a good sense of what's going to happen right from the outset, but the journey from start to finish is presented in such an elegant and fascinating way that the book remains difficult t ...more
C. S.
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
At its heart, noir is when a storyteller takes a microscope to the strange alchemy that happens sometimes when desperate, unhappy people collide and how those chance meetings fan the flames of obsession and infatuation and cause events surrounding those people to spiral out of control.

But it also has a very defined set of stylistics and use of imagery, metaphor, and foreshadowing.

Untamed Shore is a perfect example on both these counts.

It's a very slow burn spiral, and I admit if I had seen the w
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Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of several novels, including Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow and Untamed Shore. She has also edited a number of anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu's Daughters). Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination. ...more

Articles featuring this book

Comforting cozies, courtroom theatrics, and cold cases that warm back up...mystery and thriller subgenres are bigger and better than ever these...
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“Turns out you don’t need a heart to live, after all.” 3 likes
“Viridiana thought Manuel represented more desire than affection, and knew enough about nets and sharks to picture herself tangled in a certain placid mediocrity which terrified her.” 2 likes
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