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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Beneath the Surface

Series: The Kingsleys #1

Narrators: James Anderson Foster, Cynthia Farrell, Patrick Lawlor, Mia Barron, Amy Landon

Brilliance Audio

ISBN: 978-1662511929

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 09/05/2023

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

On a weekend voyage, the power-hungry children of an aging billionaire are unprepared for a storm of deceptions in a novel about ruthless family ambition by USA Today bestselling author Kaira Rouda.

You are cordially invited to an overnight voyage on the Splendid Seas.

An invitation to Catalina Island from billionaire CEO Richard Kingsley. For his sons, Ted and John, and their wives, it’s an opportunity to curry favor, gain control of a real estate empire, and secure their family’s futures. For the controlling patriarch, succession is a contest. He and his newest wife won’t make it an easy win.

Then Richard’s estranged live-wire daughter, Sibley, crashes the party. She’s the least of the night’s surprises. As the stakes for the inheritance of the Kingsley legacy are raised, the beautiful waters of the Pacific look more like a menacing illusion.

Let the games begin for a family who has everything money can buy, and has used lies, deception, and more to keep it. This weekend one of them will be crowned heir. One is in line to lose everything. That’s the plan. But in the coming storm, so much can go dangerously wrong.

My Review

The queen of scandal and intrigue, Kaira Rouda (favorite author) returns following The Widow with her latest smashing thriller and first in the new series, The Kingsleys— A weekend family voyage to Catalina Island on a mega-yacht with a controlling billionaire father and his power-hungry ruthless children goes bad in the highly entertaining, BENEATH THE SURFACE family drama. When the weather is not the only storm brewing!

No one does wicked, ruthless, and delicious scandal better than Kaira Rouda! Let the games begin!

Come aboard the Splendid Seas from Newport Beach, California, to Catalina Island—host billionaire CEO Richard Kingsley of Kingsley Global Enterprises, a mega-real estate empire and father of three.

What does the patriarch have in store? What are his succession plans? He has a big announcement to make.

First, the Kingsley family does not get along. So imagine being stuck on Richard's new toy, a 185-foot yacht worth $1.2 billion with this group. There is Captain Bill and a chef. Smooth sailing? Not a chance.

Richard & Serena: The aging father & CEO with his younger 5th bride. What do they have planned? Who will take over Kingsley Global Enterprises? Serena thinks she will be his last wife and their future child, the final heir. (Think again).

John & Rachel: The oldest son (52). He will go to the extreme to do what his father asks. He never relatively measures up in his wife's eyes (a criminal defense lawyer). He is always seeking approval. John thinks soon he will be in charge.

Ted & Paige: The youngest son, not in the family business but hopes to be. They are preparing for an empty nest with teen twin girls soon off to college.

Sibley & Colson: The stepdaughter and the black sheep of the family with her questionable boyfriend.

Curious, the three children want to know the big announcement. All are dying for a powerhouse position and inheritance. Richard hates whiners. You know he will have cameras spying on them. Who will get the best stateroom? Who will win in the end?

Told from POV:






With fun updates from media, OC SCOOP! Who will be the next president of Kingsley Global Enterprises? Buckle up!

Things do not go as expected. An affair, a murder, a divorce, a break-in, someone goes rogue, and an unexpected, shocking announcement—and we catch up to six months later as we anticipate #2 installment.

What a FUN, wicked voyage with adults misbehaving!

"In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans." —Khali Gibran

This scandalous, entertaining dysfunctional family drama includes manipulation, betrayal, ruthless & despicable behavior, backbiting, power, ambition, scheming, stealing, blackmail, revenge, affairs, sibling rivalry, gambling debts, lies, secrets, deception, scandal, and no morals. There are more than winds and waves and storms to deal with.

Succession meets The White Lotus! You will be shocked by Richard's choice (loved), and I cannot wait for #2 to see how the new role continues.

Paige was my favorite character! As always, Kaira stirs the action and suspense with the wealthy misbehaving. There is not quite as much dark humor and snark as some of her other books; however, it is highly entertaining.

I am a massive fan of the author, having read all her books. If you have not, I highly recommend all of them. I am looking forward to The Kingsleys, #2 in the series.

Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for a gifted ARC for an honest opinion.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: Sept 5, 2023


“When the wealthy patriarch of a family business invites his children on a trip from Newport Beach to Catalina Island aboard his new yacht, Rouda fans will know to buckle their seat belts…. King Lear goes to the beach. Yes.” —Kirkus Reviews

“It's Succession on a yacht in this delicious and fast-paced thriller! Beneath the Surface has it all—secrets, lies, and rich family drama. Filled with characters you love to hate, this was a twisty and entertaining ride I never wanted to end. Rouda is at her best!”

—Jeneva Rose, New York Times bestselling author of You Shouldn't Have Come Here

“Devious, twisty, and completely unputdownable, Kaira Rouda's Beneath the Surface is Knives Out meets Succession but on a billionaire's yacht! Beneath the Surface is Rouda at her stupendous, binge-worthy best! I devoured this delicious thriller!”

—May Cobb, author of A Likeable Woman and The Hunting Wives

“Succession meets The White Lotus on the open seas. With a penchant for revealing the darker side of wealth and the antics of family values deteriorating, Kaira Rouda takes us on a journey where an embattled family gathers for a high-stakes weekend, clambering to the top, and risk everything.”

—Georgina Cross, bestselling author of One Night, Nanny Needed, and The Stepdaughter

“Kaira Rouda has cornered the market on scandal and intrigue among the one percent. Suspenseful and glamorous, full of scheming and twists, Beneath the Surface is Succession meets Elin Hilderbrand.”

—Michele Campbell, bestselling author of It’s Always the Husband

About the Author

Kaira Rouda is an award-winning USA Today and Amazon Charts bestselling author of contemporary fiction that explores what goes on beneath the surface of seemingly perfect lives. Her novel, The Next Wife, won two Silver Falchion Awards for Best Suspense Novel and runner up to Best Book of the Year. To date, her noels have been translated into a dozen languages.

A former magazine editor and society columnist, Kaira won the Stevie Award for Women in Business for creating the first female-focused residential real estate brand, Real Living, and growing the brand to more than 22 states before its sale to Berkshire Hathaway. Her first book, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs led to a national speaking tour where she inspired thousands.

Active in the areas of homelessness, food security, and empowering women and girls, in her twenties, as a volunteer, she created the first emergency walk-in shelter for homeless families in Central Ohio. Kaira has received numerous awards for her community service including the national Kiwanis Service to Mankind Award, and most recently was named a Kickass Woman of Orange County by Orange Coast Magazine. Kaira was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsome to the California Volunteers Commission.

She lives in Southern California with her husband, Congressman Harley Rouda, and is at work on her next novel. WEBSITE

Kaira also belongs to the following writing organizations:

Sisters in Crime | Mystery Writers of America | International Thriller Writers (ItW) | California Writer’s Club | Killer Author Club / founding member | Author’s Guild of America | Women’s Fiction Writers Association

Check out my #AuthorElevatorSeries

Q&As with Kaira!







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