Tuesday 7 July 2015

Reviewed: Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton.

Little Black Lies was published by Bantam Press on July 2, 2015.

Thanks to Becky at Transworld for sending me a copy of this book to review.

It’s 4am, I’ve just finished reading Little Black Lies having stayed up all night to do so and I’m wide awake, seriously so floored by that ending. What a stunning way to end a brilliant novel. I’m a huge fan of Sharon Bolton and her Lacey Flint series which gets better with every book. When I heard she was writing a standalone novel, I couldn’t contain my excitement. Little Black Lies quickly became one of my most anticipated books of 2015 and that was before I’d even read that incredible synopsis. Set in the Falkland Islands, Little Black Lies is a darkly-written, utterly compelling psychological thriller with each page leaving you doubting everything you ever thought you knew about friendship and about being a parent. Sharon is an excellent tension builder and it’s breath-taking seeing everything unfold and not having a damn clue how the author weaves everything together so intelligently.

The book begins with an investigation, a search for a little child who has gone missing. I have to admit I found the book a little slow to hook me and it wasn’t until around the 100 page mark before I realised I was getting no sleep because I felt like I’d been dragged into the story. Maybe it was my own fault for finding it a little difficult to get into because I didn’t follow the initial investigation too much, instead I was completely mesmerised by the wonderfully atmospheric, scene-setting writing. The detail put in to bringing the Falkland Islands to life was stunning. There were so many layers to that setting and it was vividly and evocatively described, so well I could imagine every single little nook and cranny. Though I was eager for the pace to quicken and the secrets to be uncovered, I found myself drawn to learning more about the setting – the nature, the history and how it would play a part in the unforgettable story to follow.

The format of Little Black Lies is split between three characters, in three different parts rather than switching in perspective with each chapter. We have Catrin, who is out for revenge as she blames her ex best friend for the death of her children. Then there’s Callum, whose experiences at war have left him disturbed and battling with PTSD. Finally we have Rachel, the old friend Catrin is gunning for. I liked the way the book was split between characters and how each of them had recognisable voices and thought-processes. Catrin’s in particular was seething and menacing, entirely fascinating to read as she plots to kill her former best friend, the woman she spent most of her life inseparable from. I never knew who my sympathies should be with, if anyone, and the characters were extraordinarily well written as mostly flawed, twisted human beings with very raw and real emotions.

The actual plot to this book can’t really be discussed as everything feels like some form of spoiler. But Little Black Lies truly is a thriller not to be missed. It’s gritty and haunting as every scene plays on your mind and leaves you desperate for the final outcome but at the same time, not wanting the book to end either. There’s a startling exploration throughout this book of friendship, from the bonding and all the good memories to the moment it all goes wrong and your worst nightmare comes true. Each layer to this book brought something new and if we weren’t seeing the way grief can take over someone’s life, we were experiencing a character plotting out how to inflict suffering on the person who wrecked their life. All I will say is, once I read that ending, my jaw dropped and I felt like I instantly needed to read the entire book again, maybe just to get a grip on how exceptionally good a writer Sharon Bolton truly is. Little Black Lies is a story that will stick with me for a long time to come.

An excellent, haunting standalone thriller from Sharon Bolton with an ending impossible for me to predict.


  1. This sounds really good and I love the In A Nutshell description.


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