Lie to Me, Give Me the Child, and You’ll Never Know, Dear were all received at BEA 2017 from the publishers in exchange for fair reviews.
Lie to Me is a psychological thriller. Ethan wakes up one morning to find his wife gone and in her place a note is left asking him not to look to for her. They have not had the smoothest of times recently and Ethan is worried about his wife, but he is also worried about his himself and what the police will think ala Gone Girl, his wife has a penchant for drama. The story becomes more complicated and entangled with the police receiving conflicting tales and Sutton remaining missing.
I was skeptical of this given the rash of “for fans of Gone Girl” books that have hit the market, but I’m really glad I gave it a fair shot. It is very cleverly done with twists and turns to mislead the reader throughout. The pacing keeps the story moving even when it moves back and forth between past and present and from one character’s point of view to another’s. There were modern references here to technology, social media, and even a jab at the Gone Girl plot twist which gave the book a very current feel. The reveal was a little unusual, done in pieces, but still quite good. Overall, a fast paced psychological thriller recommended for fans of … Gone Girl et. al.
Give Me the Child jumps right into the plot within the first few pages. The reader meets Dr. Cat Lupo and her husband Tom dealing with the fallout of Ruby, the product of an affair Tom had, arriving on their doorstep in the custody of social services. Up to that moment Cat didn’t know Ruby existed and she spends the rest of the novel figuring out what else she doesn’t know.
The novel explores themes of trust and knowledge, how well do you really know anyone else? How well do you know yourself? Who do you trust? And how do you decide? What kind of risks do you take when it is not just your life at stake, but also your child’s? It also addresses the fears that any former mental patient faces, that is the feeling that people are just waiting for you to break down again. Cat finds herself alone trying to piece together what really happened to Ruby’s mother. Well paced with a highly developed sense of tension and a satisfying conclusion.
You’ll Never Know, Dear is a family tragedy story. Three generations of women have been impacted by the disappearance of 4-year-old Janey. Miss Sorrell, Lissie, and Vanessa, who are Janey’s mother, sister and niece, come together at the reappearance of a clue after 40 years of nothing. Although this is taglined as “a novel of suspense” on the cover, it is much more about relationships, particularly the relationships between women. The characters are well crafted and interesting. It also addresses how the disappearance of a child impacts a family for years – the not knowing and the guilt. The mystery of who was responsible for Janey’s disappearance was rather obvious very quickly on so I really see this more as a women’s fiction suspense than a mystery novel.
The Cold Cold Ground is a book I put on hold from the library based on a recommendation and I cannot remember from who or what blog. I really wish that I could because I loved this book. It is so well written, completely immersive with a strongly developed sense of time and place. The time and place in question is Belfast in 1981, the height of the Troubles. Sean Duffy is a Catholic police officer, a rarity. He catches a murder case that is perhaps not what it seems. The bombings, the riots, the casual prejudices between Catholics and Protestants, the back door deals funding a lot of the violence, the hunger strikes, the illegality of homosexual acts are all part of the background and are part of what Duffy wades through trying to get his job done and uncover the truth.
Although there is a lot going on here that is political, economic and cultural, the book is not weighed down by it. The story is well paced and the mystery comes together beautifully. Highly recommended for mystery/police procedural/historical readers.