A Christmas murder story. How exciting!
The title put me off a bit. Quite a bit actually. I have read so many run of the mill holiday reads with 'lies' in the title. The cover reminded me of something written by Gillian Flynn and I find her books original and great reads, so a mixed first impression.
A new writer, Caz Frear, listed under the psychological thriller label, this book had great reviews and was voted as the winner of a new writers competition run by Richard and Judy from a television show. Sometimes that is a curse.
Nevertheless, I took it on.
I was hooked from the first line. At last I had found a new voice worthy of the hype. An interesting story without too much police procedure getting in the way, a personal involvement with the case for the detective without becoming contrived.
It was a human story, touching on the vulnerabilities of family taboos and the ways in which families lie to themselves and each other, unable to face the potential truths. The characters were fully developed so that even the almost unsavoury ones had redeeming qualities.
The police were portrayed as warm and three dimensional with none of the usual mavericks and their quirky ways. The murder investigation was interesting without bogging the reader down with terminology and police procedures. Which, let's face it, can be rather boring.
The investigation follows a twisty path, a whole lot more than a simple whodunit. Very satisfying. Plus it's set around Christmas time so includes the tense family obligations. Deep joy.
Frear is definitely a writer to watch. Her writing style is crisp, witty and very fresh. A rewarding read. Highly recommended.