The Underneath follows Kay Ward, a former journalist struggling with the constraints of motherhood. Along with her husband and two children, she rents a quaint Vermont farmhouse for the summer. It isn't long before Kay's husband is called away and she discovers a mysterious crawlspace in the rental with unsettling writing etched into the wall. Alongside some of the house's other curiosities and local sleuthing, Kay is led to believe that something terrible may have happened to the home's owners.
Finn does an excellent job of keeping the reader guessing, and the tension in the narrative always comes across as organic, never manipulative ... The Underneath is an excellent thriller, and Finn has a gift for prose that’s hard-boiled but not clichéd. Perhaps most important, her characters are true to life ... There’s much to admire about The Underneath, and Finn’s third novel proves that she’s deeply original, a writer who’s not content with rehashing old tropes that have become overly familiar in some thrillers ... It’s an excellent book, even if it’s not likely to appeal to readers with congenital optimistic streaks.
A musk of sex and menace soaks three narrative strands, expertly braided ... [A] taut, harrowing novel ... The author is excellent at contrasting the snug nature of beauty and horror...even as Finn mines her characters for motives ... Finn puts her readers on the knife’s edge.
Tense and atmospheric ... Though the flashbacks to Kay’s journalism career sometimes feel unnecessary and there are too many narrative threads, Finn’s dark and gripping meditation depicts how violence can warp a person’s character, and whether, having experienced it, there is any coming back.