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"The Vicious Deep" is by Zoraido Cordova.

"THE VICIOUS DEEP," by Zoraida Cordova, Sourcebooks Fire, $16.99, 384 pages (f) (ages 16 and up)

Coney Island beach is a safer place because Tristan Hart takes his lifeguard duties seriously. On a slow day – too much drinking last night at a party – he is a little bummed over a girl. He should go home, but when a wave endangers the beach full of swimmers, his first thought is to rescue the unlucky soul he saw in the surf.

His next memory is waking up on a beach three days later in the arms of his best friend Layla.

Not remembering three days is frustrating but having strange dreams about an evil silver mermaid with blood on her teeth is downright frightening, and Tristan is about to have a lot more on his mind.

Zoraida Cordova's new novel, “The Vicious Deep,” is unusual in that it tells the story of mermaids from a teenage boy’s perspective. Tristan eventually finds out he is part “merfolk” through his mother's side of the family, something his parents knew but never told him. He also discovers his grandfather is king of the merfolk and expects Tristan to be his successor to the throne.

Learning to deal with the struggles of being a merman puts extra stress on Tristan's life and complicates his relationship with Layla. These difficulties are compounded because of Tristan's lack of self control when it comes to flirting with other girls and speaking his mind.

A witty and well written fantasy adventure, “The Vicious Deep” is the first book in a trilogy from this new author. Cordova seems to have a knack for understanding the thoughts and feelings of a teenage boy in New York City. Her ability to describe the path a young man's mind will take in certain circumstances is uncanny.

In sharing Tristan's thoughts, the author uses language and descriptions from his mind (and mouth) that are explicit and sexually revealing. Other characters frequently use foul language, including multiple instances of an R-rated word. In addition, there are many references to sexual activity of various types. Though written for young adults, parents and other readers should be aware of adult-like content.

Mike Whitmer lives in West Valley City and loves to scuba dive, fish and garden. His email is [email protected] and he blogs at blog at mtwhitmer.blogspot.com.