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Why I love it
As the author of a mystery-thriller with a tough but damaged female protagonist, I thought this story about a detective with a troubled past was familiar territory and was confident I would see the twists coming a hundred pages out. Um, not the case. Sweet Little Lies surprised me over and over again.
While investigating a seemingly routine murder case in London, Detective Constable Cat Kinsella is drawn into a maze of cover-ups reaching all the way back to the disappearance of a teenage girl 18 years prior. But what’s even more unsettling than a two-decade-old mystery is that Cat has never been able to shake the feeling that her gangster father was involved in the crime. Now, Cat can no longer ignore the past as the clock ticks for her to find the killer.
When I finished Sweet Little Lies after a 48-hour binge of subway-reading, ignoring-boss’s-phone-calls-at-day-job-reading, crossing-the-street-reading (not recommended), late-night-after-kid-goes-to-bed-reading, I did a thing I do with my favorite mysteries: I went back to the beginning and read the first 20 pages again. Only then did I realize Caz Frear’s mastery, how the seemingly non-magic beans she dropped along the way grew into gloriously unpredictable and yet completely satisfying intertwined stalks of character and plot. Not only did this book keep me guessing until the end, it was also a sharp portrait of the many ways in which parents and children hurt and save each other. Fans of Tana French will love this. I did.
Twenty-six-year-old Cat Kinsella overcame a troubled childhood to become a Detective Constable with the Metropolitan Police Force, but she’s never been able to banish her ghosts. When she’s called to the scene of a murder in Islington, not far from the pub her estranged father still runs, she discovers that Alice Lapaine, a young housewife who didn’t get out much, has been found strangled.
Cat and her team immediately suspect Alice’s husband, until she receives a mysterious phone call that links the victim to Maryanne Doyle, a teenage girl who went missing in Ireland 18 years earlier. The call raises uneasy memories for Cat—her family met Maryanne while on holiday, right before she vanished. Though she was only a child, Cat knew that her charming but dissolute father wasn’t telling the truth when he denied knowing anything about Maryanne or her disappearance. Did her father do something to the teenage girl all those years ago? Could he have harmed Alice now? And how can you trust a liar even if he might be telling the truth?
Determined to close the two cases, Cat rushes headlong into the investigation, crossing ethical lines and trampling professional codes. But in looking into the past, she might not like what she finds ...
Get an early look from the first pages of Caz Frear's Sweet Little Lies.Read a sample →
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