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Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton – a review

I was lucky enough to be given a copy of this for review via Netgalley.

Little Black Lies is a thriller set in the Falkland Islands. A child has gone missing and it’s not the first time that this has happened. The book is told from the viewpoint of three characters, Catrin, Rachel and Callum. A couple of years previously Catrin lost her two children in an accident. She has never come to terms with what happened, and so unlike her husband she has not been able to move on. She blames her ex best friend Rachel for the accident and we quickly find out Catrin is planning to kill her. Rachel herself has never been able to get over the accident and is being destroyed by the guilt she feels. Callum is an ex-soldier who is  suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and is trying to deal with this whilst also trying to support Catrin in the run up to the anniversary of the death of her two children.

This is the the second novel I’ve read by Sharon Bolton (review here) and just like the previous one I really enjoyed this book. The story, although based on the idea that there may be a serial child abductor, is much more than that. In fact this is almost a secondary story through the novel. The focus is on relationships, guilt and grief. The broken friendship between Catrin and Rachel, with both Rachel and Catrin struggling to move on from the accident, the ex-soldier who is in love with Catrin, and the relationships between those who live in such a small community.

The setting of the Falkland Islands was really interesting. I imagine most people always think of the Falkland Islands simply being somewhere we went to war over, however this book manages to portray the Islands as a somewhat imposing but beautiful place. There is obviously a real sense of community so the idea of a child going missing is difficult for them to believe. Catrin’s work as an animal conservationist and her actions within her  job whilst slightly upsetting to read at times again helped give a real sense of the bleakness of life of the Islands.

The story itself soon draws you in and there are plenty of twists and turns throughout that really keep you guessing. The ending comes as a bit of a shock, but personally I think it was fantastic. This was a bit of a slow paced book, despite only being based over 4 days, but that is actually a really good thing as it ensures that the tension is built up fully before the pace suddenly quickens.

This was a really good story that if you are a fan of psychological thrillers I would definitely recommend.


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Like this, Forever by Sharon Bolton – a review

I picked this book up on a whim as it was part of some of the free books that I was given at the Festival. As it was a proof copy it didn’t have any blurb on the back so I wasn’t really aware of what the story was about. The quotes on the cover were enough to make it stand out from the pile on my dressing table and grab on my way out to catch a train.

I was certainly not disappointed that I had done. The main character that the book focuses on is Barney. Children are going missing and when their bodies turn up they have been drained of blood. Young Barney lives with his Dad and is obsessed with searching for his mum who he believes is living in London somewhere. He also follows the investigation into the disappearance of the children following updates on the special facebook page set up to discuss the murders.

Barney lives next door to Lacey who is a policewomen currently on sick leave after a traumatic experience whilst on duty (dealt with in a previous novel I believe) He asks her to help him find his mum, and in the process of helping she finds out more than she bargained for.

I really enjoyed this book. I don’t believe that I’ve read any Sharon (or S.J as she was previously known) Bolton before although I will definitely be reading more. Throughout the story I was kept guessing as to the perpetrator and there were numerous possibilities all intertwining different stories, for example the teacher who takes a special interest in Barney, his friends with their own lives and families, the football coach who is always busy on the same nights, the man who posts on facebook. At no point did I guess the true identity.

I thought that the inclusion of social media worked well, especially as it gave a good insight into how children interact via these sites nowadays. It was an interesting mix of normal police investigation led by Dana Tulloch and a childrens viewpoint and their belief that they can find out who did it.

Unlike a lot of books this was a book that didn’t waste words. Although I felt slightly that I missed parts of the story, for example who does Lacey go and visit in prison? I suspect that most of these are either things that would be clearer if I had read previous Lacey novels, or indeed will get cleared up in the next book. Hopefully I don’t have to wait until next years festival to get a copy of that one!

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Filed under book review, crime fiction