Friday, August 12, 2016

"The Lies We Tell" by Meg Carter

Despite remembering with exact clarity every other moment of her life when she was 15, Katy Parker is hazy about that one day she saw best friend Jude Davies pulled into the bushes by an attacker. When she went to get help, she wound up in hospital (it's never fully explained exactly what happened to her). Jude moved away, and Katy never really found out what happened.

Twenty-four years later, Jude reappears in Katy's life - but is she friend or foe? Her arrival coincides with strange occurrences, such as a mysterious stranger in a downstairs apartment, vandalism of Katy's property, and the mugging of her mother. What exactly are Jude's intentions? And what exactly happened all that time ago?

Psychological thrillers are a dime a dozen these days, but I still get hooked in by them. They're certainly a more preferable choice than the police procedural, which now drive me crazy with their cliches. "The Lies We Tell" doesn't do much to stand out from the pack, but it's a diverting enough read.

My biggest beef is with the "unreliable narrator" element. I'm supposed to believe that Katy can't remember what actually happened one day twenty-four years ago when she can vividly remember every single other f***ing detail of her life, including one incident when she was two! Yes, two! It just suspends my disbelief that one bit too far. Seriously, she was two. Nobody can remember what they were doing when they were two. If Katy has this magical power, why can't she SPOILER AHEAD remember something mildly heroic like rescuing her best friend from someone she believed was a rapist by bonking him on the head with a branch? END SPOILER. It just doesn't make any sense.

The Lies We Tell is a slow-burn psychological thriller, but the suspense did get upped the closer it got to its climax. As is typical of the genre, the revelations aren't as exciting or dramatic as the characters make them out to be, so it's all a bit underwhelming.

The other big complaint here is description. Way too much of it. When Katy runs off in fear after she gets close to gathering an important clue (groan), we are then bombarded with descriptions of the roads and scenery she drives down, the beach she escapes to, and all the different people she sees on the beach.

It's not needed.

Seriously, why the fuck is it important for me to know the colour of the bathers somebody on a beach is wearing? This character has no name and no relevance to the plot. It's INFURIATING. The author particularly seems to engage in this when she wants to draw out the arrival of a major plot point. If she doesn't have enough plot for a full novel, she should consider a novella or short story.

The Lies We Tell wasn't completely exasperating, and it kept me involved, but doesn't deliver anything you haven't come across before in this genre.

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