Saturday, 4 July 2020

Liar by Lesley Pearse BLOG TOUR @LesleyPearse #Liar @MichaelJBooks @ed_pr #MyLifeInBooks #LoveLesley

In a Shepherd's Bush bedsit, Amelia White dreams of being a reporter. The closest she's come is selling advertising in the local paper.
Until the fateful day she stumbles on a truly shocking scoop.
Round the corner from her home, she discovers the body of a murder victim, dumped among the rubbish. When the police and reporters descend, Amelia is horrified at the assumptions made and lies soon to be spread about this poor young woman.
Determined to protect the victim from these smears and help her grieving family, she convinces her paper's editor to allow her to take up her pen and tell the true story.
But when another body is found and the police investigation stalls, Amelia - uncovering new witnesses and suspects in her search for clues - discovers that she may be the only one with any chance of learning the truth and stopping more killings.
If only she can work out who the liar is . . .

Liar by Lesley Pearse was published by Michael Joseph on 25 June 2020.  I've read and loved this book, you can read what I thought when my review is published in the Express later this month.

My thanks to the publisher and ed Public Relations who sent my copy for review and invited me to take part on this blog tour.

I'm delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today. She's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life In Books

My Life In Books - Lesley Pearse

The Prophet by Kahil Gibran
I have been dipping into this beautiful inspirational book all of my adult life. It makes me see what is important in life and gives my soul a massage.
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella GibbonsA hilarious classic from the 30’s about country life. My stepmother introduced me to it when I was about fourteen. I’ve read and reread it loads of times. It never fails to make me laugh; in every stage of my life it’s had some new resonance.
Sun Signs by Linda Goodman.First read and loved in 1971 when I was passionate about Astrology, I believe that through reading it I learned to understand people better. I regularly look up the birth signs of new friends in it. Its written in a very entertaining way too. It’s never been out of print.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellFirst read at 13 this magnificent tale of life in the Deep South never palls. I adored Scarlett O’Hara as a girl, yet as a grown woman the selfless Melanie Wilkes was my idol. And Rhett Butler will forever be my ideal man. I feel very sad that people are now seeing it as racist. It tells a sad history of the South, certainly, but my sympathies were totally with the black servants and slaves.  

The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood by Rebecca WestI almost didn’t read it because of the cringe worthy title, but I’m so glad I did. It’s a story of enduring friendships and how grievances daughters have about their mothers should be looked at and overcome.  I have given it to many girlfriends who have issues about their childhood.
Freckles by Gene Stratton PorterI found this book written in 1904 in a junk shop when I was 12. It’s about an orphaned boy with a missing hand. He finds work at ~The Limberlost Forest in Georgia, making sure the fences haven’t been pulled down by robbers intending to steal timber. I cried buckets over it as a girl. The beauty of the forest and its wildlife, and how Freckles overcame his disability has stayed with me for a lifetime. It has a wonderful happy ending.
Girl by Edna O’Brien.This is a more recent read, a fictionalised account of one of 276 young girls who were abducted from their school in Nigeria, by the brutal Boko Harem as wives for the soldiers. The girls had to endure every kind of humiliation and hardship, and many had babies from the men who raped them.  Some eventually found their way home, only to be ostracized for becoming ‘Bush Wives’. It is a sad, hard to stomach story, but I believe it needed to be told by such a wonderful writer as O’Brien.  
Little Grey Rabbit and the Weasels by Alison UttleyThis is one of the first books I could read myself and I still love it now. The story is about Little Grey Rabbit, Hare and Squirrel who live together. Little Grey Rabbit is snatched by a family of wicked Weasels who want her to cook and clean for them. There is a marvellous scene when the Weasels insist she sings to them. She straightens her apron and sings Rule Britannia, accentuating the line ‘Britons Never Shall be Slaves.’ She is rescued by Wise Owl and he orders the Weasels to be gone by morning, or he will make a meal of them. I adore the story and the beautiful illustrations.

My fabulous Lockdown reads. Both in their own way stories of endurance, loneliness and fear. Emotions I think most of us felt at some time.  
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensA fabulously evocative tale of Kya a young girl left on her own in a ramshackle cabin in the swamps of North Carolina. It is as much a story of wildlife as the power of the human spirit to survive. It is about resilience, hope, love and loss. I was swept away entirely by it, almost smelling the marshes and hearing the cries of birds.  
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy LefferisNuri and Afra are Syrian refugees and this is their story of how they got to the UK and sought asylum. Afra lost her sight in a bomb blast, along with her seven-year-old son, and Nuri her husband, the beekeeper protects her as they go through so many nightmarish incidents. But the beauty of this story is in the writing, you can see how Aleppo was before the bombing, taste the food Nuri describes and feel you know his beloved bees. A truly gorgeous read which I think will stay with me forever.
Lesley Pearse - July 2020 

Lesley Pearse was told as a child that she had too much imagination for her own good. When she grew up she worked her way through a number of jobs, including nanny, bunny girl, dressmaker and full-time mother, before, at the age of forty-nine, settling upon a career that would allow her gifts to blossom: she became a published writer. 
Lesley lives in Devon and has three daughters and three grandchildren.

Find out more about Lesley and keep up to date with what she's been doing:

Follow her on Twitter @LesleyPearse

Follow her on Facebook @LesleyPearseAuthor

Sign up for her newsletter

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Quiet Acts of Violence by Cath Staincliffe @CathStaincliffe BLOG TOUR #QuietActsOfViolence @LittleBrownUK #BookReview

A dead baby. A missing mother. A cradle of secrets 
Has the woman killed her child? Is she at risk to herself? Someone in the neighbourhood of old terraced streets has the answers. But detectives Donna Bell and Jade Bradshaw find lies and obstruction at every turn, in a community living on the edge, ground down by austerity and no hope. A place of broken dreams. Of desperation. And murder.
When a stranger crashes into Jade's life, her past comes hurtling back, threatening to destroy her and the world she has carved out for herself.
Donna struggles to juggle everything: work, marriage, kids. It's a precarious balancing act, and the rug is about to be pulled from under her.

Quiet Acts of Violence by Cath Staincliffe is published today, 2 July 2020, in hardback by Constable. My thanks to the author who sent my copy for review and who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

I have been a huge fan of Cath Staincliffe's writing for many years. She's an author who never fails to produce a story that is both topical, hard hitting, yet extremely entertaining. Quiet Acts of Violence is an amazing addition to her catalogue of books, I practically inhaled it in one day. I was glued to this one.

Whilst of course, this is crime fiction at its heart, it is also a devastatingly accurate look at the state of Britain today. This author does not shy away from topics that are difficult to read about, and  her description of Colette Pritchard; the homeless woman who finds the body of a baby girl discarded in a rubbish skip that is so poignant that I had tears in my eyes. 

Colette finds the dead baby, named Rosa by the police, in what has become her bed. Previously a home owner, with direct debits to various charities and a cherry tree in her garden, Colette is now homeless; through no fault of her own. Sleeping in a skip, amongst the discarded rubbish is the safest place she can find, and it is clear that Colette feels she is no better than the food scraps and household rubbish that she sleeps amongst.

DI Donna Bell is assigned the case, assisted by DC Jade Bradshaw, and what a complex and multi layered pairing this is. Donna is organised and methodical, whilst Jade is impetuous and emotional, often veering toward the hysterical. However, both of them have their own issues to contend with and these are delicately and skilfully handled, giving such a depth to what is already an excellent plot. 

Door to door enquiries and local busybodies allow Donna and Jade to find out more than they could ever imagine, this is clearly a terrible case, and it's imperative that Rosa's mother be found soon. 

One can never imagine just what goes on behind closed doors, and the reader learns about how depraved some people can be, and also how weak others are that allow a situation to come to such a horrifying conclusion. This author also explores the gradual break-down of a mind, showing the full effect of a long-term mental health problem that spirals so quickly out of control. 

This is a powerful story, excellently written with compassion and painful honesty. Outstanding and highly recommended by me.

Cath Staincliffe is an award-winning novelist, radio playwright and creator of ITV's hit series Blue Murder. 
Cath's books have been shortlisted for the CWA Best First Novel award. 
She was joint winner of the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2012. 
Letters To My Daughter's Killer was selected for the Specsavers Crime Thriller Book Club on ITV3 in 2014. 
Cath also writes the Scott & Bailey books based on the popular ITV series. 
She lives with her family in Manchester.

Monstrous Souls by Rebecca Kelly @RKellyAuthor1 BLOG TOUR #MonstrousSouls @AgoraBooksLDN

Over a decade ago, Heidi was the victim of a brutal attack that left her hospitalised, her younger sister missing, and her best friend dead. But Heidi doesn’t remember any of that. She’s lived her life since then with little memory of her friends and family and no recollection of the crime.

Now, it’s all starting to come back.

As Heidi begins retracing the events that lead to the assault, she is forced to confront the pain and guilt she’s long kept buried. But Heidi isn’t the only one digging up the past, and the closer she gets to remembering the truth, the more danger she’s in.

When the truth is worse than fiction, is the past worth reliving?

An addictive thriller about a case gone cold and the dangers lurking on our doorsteps, Monstrous Souls will have you gripped to the very end.

Monstrous Souls by Rebecca Kelly was published digitally Agora Books on 25 June 2020. The paperback will be released on 23 July. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

Monstrous Souls is Rebecca Kelly's debut novel, it is also one of the most beautifully written novels that I've come across for a long time. Whilst this may be her first book, there is no doubt that Kelly is an extremely talented writer. She writes with an empathy and delicacy whilst dealing with the darkest and most distressing topic. Her exploration of the human mind, and how the brain can prevent more hurt is so well handled. 

When Heidi was just thirteen-years-old she was the victim of a brutal attack. She was left with physical scars, but it is the long-term effect on her mental health that has affected her the most. Her best friend Nina didn't survive the attack, and her younger sister Anna hasn't been seen since the day it happened. Yet Heidi doesn't remember anything about that day. She doesn't know why they were attacked, or by who. She can't recall why they were in the disused bunker that they'd made into their den. Over ten years have past and whist Heidi has tried to create a life for herself, these events have overshadowed everything.

Denise is a policewoman who worked on the original case. The fact that Anna was never found and the attacker never caught has haunted her ever since. The case is to be re-opened, and Heidi is starting to have tiny flashbacks .... the memory of a red shoe is the beginning of a slow and often painful process for both her and Denise.

The author cleverly tells this story in the now (2016), and also takes the reader back to 2001. As Heidi recalls, little by little, more about herself and Nina, the reader takes that journey too. It's incredibly well handled with an air of impending terror as more and more is revealed. Despite the atrocious and disturbing nature of what is revealed, not once does this author lose her sensitive touch.There's no explicit explanations here, and it's the fact that the actual things that happened to these girls are never actually described that, for me, makes this story so outstanding.

Monstrous Souls is an unsettling read, it is also unforgettable. Heidi's story has haunted me since the moment I turned the final page. An absorbing and tense read, wonderfully written and highly recommended by me.

Rebecca Kelly lives in UK with her family and a mad labrador. 

When she's not burning food and finding strategies for avoiding housework, she can be found writing.

You can follow Rebecca on Twitter @RKellyAuthor1

The Half Sister by Sandie Jones @realsandiejones BLOG TOUR @panmacmillan #TheHalfSister @EllisKeene

Kate and Lauren. Sisters who are always there for each other. But as they gather for their weekly Sunday lunch, a knock on the door changes everything.
The new arrival, Jess, claims to be their half-sister, but that would mean the unthinkable . . . That she’s the secret daughter of their beloved, recently deceased father Harry. Their mother Rose is devastated and Kate and Lauren refuse to believe Jess’s lies.
But as the fall-out starts it’s clear that each is hiding secrets and that perhaps this family isn’t as perfect as they appear.
Where there was truth, now there are lies and only one thing is certain, their half-sister’s arrival has ruined everything . . .

The Half Sister by Sandie Jones was published in paperback on 25 June 2020 by Pan Macmillan. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

The Half Sister by Sandie Jones is an entertaining and quick read that kept my attention from the very first page.

Sisters Kate and Lauren lead very different lives and each of them have their own distinctive voice throughout the novel. They always meet for Sunday Lunch at their mother Rose's house, having recently lost their Father. Shock reverberates throughout the family when one Sunday, Jess arrives.
Jess claims to be their sister; the daughter of their late father. Jess's arrival will turn this family upside down and the reader learns that Jess is not the only secret held by the family members. 

The author allows her reader to get to know Kate and Lauren really well; giving them both a voice, especially during the first part of the novel. At times this felt a little slow, but once Jess arrives, the drama and tensions increases. What I really enjoyed was the author's ability to unpick the often complex family relationships, especially those between parent and child, and there are certainly some interesting dynamics played out here. 

I was especially interested in Rose's part in this story, and was trying to second guess just how much she really knew throughout the novel.

An interesting plot that maybe could have been a little faster paced at the beginning with some intriguing questions raised. More domestic drama than psychological thriller, but a well written and enjoyable read. 

Sandie Jones has been a freelance journalist for over 20 years, interviewing celebrities for Hello, Woman's Weekly and the national daily newspapers. Amongst her favourite people to talk to are Paul O'Grady, Joanna Lumley, Julie Walters and the late Bruce Forsyth.

Her debut novel, The Other Woman, is a psychological thriller about the destructive relationship between a woman and her partner's mother.

If Sandie wasn't an author she'd be an interior designer as she has an unhealthy obsession with cushions!

She lives in London with her husband and three children.

Author Page on Facebook

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Dead and Gone by Sherryl Clark BLOG TOUR @sherrylwriter @Verve_Books #DeadAndGone #MyLifeInBooks

There's nothing more dangerous than revenge.
Judi Westerholme has been through it. Brave and strong-willed, she's just about coping in her new role as foster parent to her orphaned niece, taking a job at the local pub to help make ends meet. Then the pub's landlord and Judi's friend, army veteran Pete 'Macca' Maccasfield, is murdered, and her world is suddenly turned upside down.
Despite warnings from the city police to keep out of it, Judi can't help but get involved in the search for Macca's killer. But she soon becomes deeply entangled with some ruthlessly dangerous men. She must act fast and think smart to work out what they want - before anyone else gets hurt...
Long buried secrets resurface in Sherryl Clark's pacey crime novel that pushes Judi Westerholme to her limits to protect the people she loves most.

Dead and Gone by Sherryl Clark was published digitally by Verve Books on 25 June 2020, the paperback is released on 27 August.

As part of the Blog Tour, I am delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today. She's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life In Books.

My Life in Books - Sherryl Clark

I grew up in New Zealand on a farm, and most of the books in our house were over 50 years old. Our huge two-volume encyclopedia had belonged to my grandfather and was published in 1898, so it was great to use in a school project about the steam engine, but it was no use for anything after about 1890!

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
This is the first book I ever owned, and I loved it – it wasn’t until I was allowed to join the public library in town that I was able to read the others in the Narnia series.

I also read books by Malcolm Saville (for some reason Not Scarlet But Gold sticks in my mind) but I don’t remember any of the plots. What I mainly remember is that he is the only author I ever wrote a letter to, and he replied, all the way from England.
I also read the Just William books, lots of Enid Blyton (of course), and I still have some of my Noddy books from back then.

As a teenager, I was lucky to have a teacher living near me who gave me lots of books. I read many authors like Mickey Spillane, Agatha Christie and Winston Graham, which cemented my love of crime fiction and historical fiction.

The Bone People by Keri Hulme
I first read this not long after I started writing seriously and was really struggling with form and plot and structure. There were other things going on in my life, too, and a story about a woman living alone in a tower that she had built herself resonated strongly. But more than that, I remember being blown away by Hulme’s storytelling, the moving around of characters and text and time, the way she seemed to break all the so-called rules of writing and make it work. It made me a little braver with my own writing and my own voice.

Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver
One of the things I love about physical bookshops is the browsing. You never know what new gem you will find. This is how I discovered Barbara Kingsolver, and this was the first book of hers I read (found on the Staff Recommendations shelf). I’ve read all of her books ever since and my favourite is Prodigal Summer. I loved all the details about the natural world, and the three women whose stories sit so solidly inside it. I was reminded of this intensity of detail when I read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – the power of the writer to not only observe nature with such a close eye but to make it an intrinsic part of both the characters and the story.

The Poet by Michael Connelly
With crime fiction, there are so many to choose from. My shelves are overflowing! I think the first crime novel I read that had me absolutely on the edge of my seat was The Poet by Michael Connelly. It stands out for me because of the driving need of Jack McEvoy, the main character, to in some way find redemption after his brother’s suicide. This is a story that
showed me, as a writer, how important that driving force has to be, and how personal for the character.

The Broken Shore by Peter Temple
The other crime novel that sticks in my mind is The Broken Shore. Joe McCashin is what I call an “outcast” character, and the way in which his personal demons affect not only his own life but his job, his ability to solve a murder and his search for the truth create a crime novel that goes way beyond just closing the case. These kinds of characters battle themselves as much as the “villains” and provide for rich reading – we see it in Connelly’s Bosch novels, as well as the need for justice for everyone. As Bosch says, “Everybody counts or nobody counts.”

The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid
I started reading McDermid’s novels slightly out of order, so this was my first Tony Hill/Carol Jordan novel, then the others came after that. You can probably tell I love complex characters and these two are great foils for each other as well. Robson Green as Tony Hill in the TV series is perfectly played. I enjoy setting and description that’s well done – I like to imagine the places in my mind, although sometimes I will go and Google them as well. Peter Robinson’s novels set in North Yorkshire are wonderful for this, as are Ann Cleeves’ novels (all of them).

Peace by Garry Disher
Closer to home, Garry Disher is a crime writer who I think is one of the most underestimated in Australia. He wrote a series about a villain called Wyatt, which was very good, and another featuring Hal Challis and Ellen Destry which is set on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne. But his most recent novel, Peace, is set where he grew up in South Australia. Again, his settings and descriptions of the area are so good that you feel like you’re there. His main character, Constable Paul Hirschhausen, runs a one-person police station in a tiny town, and perhaps because I’ve done a lot of research on this, I could especially relate to the trials of a small town cop. The plot doesn’t disappoint either!

Flying at Night by Ted Kooser
I started reading and loving poetry in my last year of high school, perhaps because I went to a school where we didn’t have to study poems and pick them to pieces! Billy Collins and Ted Kooser are longtime favourites. Collins has a poetic voice all his own that I can hear in my head when I read his poems. But at the moment I’m re-reading Flying at Night by Kooser, and having to stop and marvel at each poem, sometimes reading them three or four times. His ability to describe the most ordinary things is stunning. For example, in “In the Basement of the Goodwill Store” there are lines like this – “old toilets with dry red throats/ cough up bouquets of curtain rods”.

It’s strange how, in writing this and thinking about the books that have stayed with me, I can see tiny influences on my own writing. When it comes to my setting and description, I feel like a magpie, taking a little bit of this town and a little bit of that house or street, and creating a place I can see in my mind. When I see my characters there, making things happen, I know I’m on the right track!

Sherryl Clark - June 2020 

Sherryl Clark has had 40 children’s and YA books published in Australia, and several in the US and UK, plus collections of poetry and four verse novels. 
She has taught writing at Holmesglen TAFE and Victoria University. 
She recently completed a Master of Fine Arts program at Hamline University, Minnesota, and is now studying for a PhD in creative writing. 
Sherryl's debut novel, Trust Me, I'm Dead, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger. 
It is the first novel in the Judi Westerholme series, followed by Dead and Gone.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Two KInds of Blood by Jane Ryan BLOG TOUR #TwoKindsOfBlood @RyanerWriter @RandomTTours #RandomThingsTours @PoolbegBooks

Garda Bridget ‘Bridge’ Harney’s phone bleeps with a message. A video of Se├ín Flannery – a violent criminal – at her mother’s nursing home. His hand on her mother’s shoulder. Goaded to the point of madness, Bridge gives chase but Flannery disappears.
A huge drugs seizure – the kind that means the cartels are exporting directly to Ireland – is abandoned in Kilkenny. In a high-tech processing plant a dead woman is found.
Bridge believes all three events are linked. As she begins to examine the connections, she comes up against the Fuentes cartel. An organisation with billions of dollars at its disposal, a transport empire and informers everywhere.

Two Kinds of Blood by Jane Ryan was published by Poolbeg Press on 20 April 2020.

As part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to welcome the author here today. She's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life In Books

My Life In Books - Jane Ryan's more like sixteen and that may be way too many but it's hard to stop when you start! I'll take them in genre rather than individually if that lets me fit in a little more.

Anne of Green Gables was one of the first books I read, the famous story about a red haired orphan. It was so different from my experiences as a child, the time it was set in, the landscape and cleverly crafted characters. The drama and humour, I was hooked from the first moment when Matthew set off to collect Anne at the train station. In later life I would read many Canadian authors and studied at the University of British Columbia and I date my fascination with all things Candian from this first experience with Anne. 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was not my first Agatha Christie, but I have always marvelled in 1926 how Agatha pulled the reader in with the now common use of the untrustworthy narrator. It was my first taste of it, and in my opinion the precursor of the modern thriller. The Silent PatientThe Kind Worth Killing, The Girl on the Train all put me in mind of Christie's finest book.

Of course it started me down the road of crime (and organised crime) fiction and I've never been able to get enough! I'm a voracious reader (whomever is reading this blog most likely is too) and Poirot and Marple saw me through my teens as did the Godfather. Reading Puzo at age thirteen made a lasting impression, I lived in a 'if you can reach it you can read it' house. I moved to  Morse, Rebus, Smiley and Arkady Renko. I'm a sucker for upended reader expectations - obviously the more you read the more difficult it is to be upended - but I'm endlessly impressed with the authors that continue to surprise. Irish authors in crime are prolific with some of the best in class writing police procedurals, Patricia Gibney, Jane Casey, Jo Spain and Adrian McKinty to name a few.

I adore laughing, and a book that can have me chuckling during my nightly read or keep the light burning for one more chapter is the type of book I relish. McCarthy's barConfederacy of Dunces and Rumpole of the Bailey are all in this category. It's the absurdity I'm drawn to, the language seems to recede into the page as you move from the serious to the silly in a nanosecond. Similarly, The Hungry Years is a clever and funny take on a personal memoir and a journey to the centre of yourself.

The Shipping News is a poignant book with the story written between the words, many reviewers will cite Suite Francaise or All The Light We Cannot See - both incredible books -  as the perfect example of this type of storytelling, but for me nothing beats the Shipping News. It's the action in the silences I keep coming back to, the quiet pain in the mundane. And of course there's the Canada connection!

John McGahern's Amongst Women  - or any of his books - is quintessentially Irish and global at the same time. The themes and incredible structure of the prose resonate. The University of Liverpool has an annual John McGahern Book Prize and it was my privilege to be shortlisted for it in 2019 for 47 Seconds.

Pride and Prejudice needs no introduction from me and will most likely be on many lists. It's sublime.

Stoner by John Williams was a book I happened across, why pick this instead of Richard Ford's Frank Bastible or Richard Flanagans' Road to the Deep North? Hard to say other than it combined all of these - true favourites of mine - into one. It's a quiet journey of an individual passing through life, finding disappointment yet the will to continue and survive.

I could go on and on....twelve seems so few yet I'm very grateful it wasn't one....that's impossible!

Thank you for giving me the chance to share this, Anne. It's been wonderful to reminisce.

Jane Ryan - June 2020 

Jane Ryan studied with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and has worked in the technology sector in UK and US multi-nationals for almost twenty years. 
She has written articles for The Irish Times and the Irish Daily Mail and was short-listed for the Hennessy Literary Award. 
Her debut novel, 47 Seconds – which also features Bridget Harney - was published in 2019 and was short-listed for the inaugural John McGahern Annual Book Prize. 
Her work has won praise from Jo Spain, Jane Casey, Eoin Colfer and Patricia Gibney. 
Jane lives in Dublin with her husband and two sons

Twitter @RyanerWriter

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Happy Publication Day A J Park @AJParkauthor #TheFirstLie @orionbooks @orion_crime #HappyPublicationDay

A freak accident. An impossible choice. But what was... THE FIRST LIE
When Paul Reeve comes home to find his wife in the bathroom, bloodied and shaking, his survival instinct kicks in.
Alice never meant to kill the intruder. She was at home, alone, and terrified. She doesn't deserve to be blamed for it. Covering up the murder is their only option.
But the crime eats away at the couple and soon they can't trust anyone - even one another...

Wishing author A J Park a very Happy Publication Day today. The First Lie is published by Orion Books, today, 25 June 2020

I read and reviewed The First Lie earlier this month, and here's what I said:

"It's a very long time since I've felt so uneasy whilst reading a book. The First Lie begins as Paul Reeve returns home from work. The front door is open, and he has six missed calls from his wife Alice.
It's no spoiler to tell you that when Paul finds Alice, he also discovers that she has killed a man. The body of an unknown intruder is laying half in, half out of their bath, covered in blood. Stabbed to death with Paul's own letter opener.

Paul makes a decision, right there, and this is the first lie. He has to protect Alice who he adores and who is clearly mentally unstable. He also has to protect his career. He's almost certain to be appointed as the youngest Circuit Judge in the UK; the pinnacle of his legal career, and everything that he's worked towards.

That October night shapes Paul and Alice's life from the moment their decision is made, and makes for a tense and dark read that chilled me to the bone on many occasions.

The novel has an unusual structure; told in the first person by Alice and by Paul in alternating chapters, with glimpses into the police investigation into some violent and disturbing murders. DS Katherine Wright and DC Ryan Hillier are on the hunt for a deadly assassin. An obviously skilled and methodical killer who has left no trace at the murder scenes of at least three victims. As the case progresses and they find similarities between the victims, the reader begins to realise that maybe Alice and Paul may have had a lucky escape. Are they lucky though? They may be still alive, but their lives are in turmoil.

Alice's behaviour becomes more and more bizarre. She cannot cope with either the first lie, or the many that have followed. Paul is trying to keep her calm whilst presiding over a court case that it just a little too close to home for him.

Don't expect to like these characters! They are not easy to empathise with, it can be difficult to understand why an intelligent, law-abiding man such as Paul made the decision that he did, and as his own behaviour and actions becoming increasingly chaotic, so the story takes on an urgency that is both compelling, but quite disturbing.
However, despite how unlikeable they are, they are both extraordinary characters. Drawn with a precision that is so cleverly done; full of surprises and many hidden layers that are slowly and surely exposed as the story progresses.

I applaud AJ Park, he's managed to write a story that is populated with some downright awful people, yet it is so hard to put this one down. There's an urgency that mounts as the story progresses, urging the reader to read on, and on, until at last, the whole sordid tale is pulled together with a devastating and spectacular ending.

Recommended if you are a fan of dark, brooding psychological thrillers. I look forward to the author's next book."

Praise for The First Lie 

"A. J. Park is a master of suspense who knows how to keep readers hovering tensely over the edges of their seats." 

Sophie Hannah


"This is a real page-turner. I finished it in one go!"

Martina Cole

A husband and wife cover up a murder. But the lie eats away at the fabric of their relationship and things unravel till they can't trust anyone - even each other.

"A great thriller that will keep you turning the pages late into the night."

Luca Veste

A freak accident. An impossible choice. But what was the first lie?

When Paul Reeve comes home to find his wife in the bathroom, bloodied and shaking, his survival instinct kicks in.

Alice never meant to kill the intruder. She was at home, alone, and terrified. She doesn't deserve to be blamed for it. Covering up the murder is their only option.
But the crime eats away at the couple and soon they can't trust anyone - even one another...

But there is much more at stake than anyone realises - and many more people on their trail than they can possibly evade...

"Fast-moving, gripping, the ground shifting perpetually beneath your feet as you read... I read it in one sitting."

Alex Marwood

Available as a paperback, ebook and audio book.
Waterstones Paperback: