Lisa Lickel’s Understory is an intriguing stomp through a small Wisconsin town ensnared by a cold snap and a crime syndicate involved with drugs, murder and sex trafficking. Understory, published by The Prism Book Club November 16th, is a great story that fulfills Lisa’s promise of “What if stories with a touch of grace.”

Lisa’s characters are complex people trying to survive the true-life problem of crime coming to our small towns. Her main characters Lily Masters and Cam Taylor are forced together when the Wisconsin winter requires them to spend several days alone in his rustic cabin. Both are running from something.  Lily wants to get away from her shady brother and Cam is running from his tarnished reputation. Just as I was about to categorize this book as a romance, it quickly became much more. Lickel deals with serious issues and her characters react realistically. The drama unfolds realistically and uniquely.

I found Lickel’s characters fully fleshed out with great back-stories that she reveals with succinct details that do not bog down the story. This well written story can be enjoyed by lovers of all kinds of fiction. For me, a great novel is one where the characters are memorable and live on in your mind long after you finish the last page.  That is what Understory does for me.


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