Wednesday 17 June 2020

The First Lie by AJ Park @AJParkauthor #TheFirstLie @orionbooks #BookReview

A freak accident. An impossible choice. But what was...
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...

The First Lie by AJ Park is published by Orion on 25 June 2020. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

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.

A.J. Park is the author of The First Lie, published by Orion Fiction. The paperback will be released on June 25th 2020. A second psychological thriller will arrive in July 2021. The translation rights to The First Lie have been sold to publishers in Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

A.J. Park's real name is Karl Vadaszffy. Karl Vadaszffy is the author of three novels: The Missing, which was twice a Kindle top ten bestseller in the UK, peaking at number 6, as well as a number one bestseller in Australia, Sins of the Father and Full of Sin. He is also a freelance journalist and the Head of English at a secondary school in Hertfordshire.

Find out more about A.J. Park/Karl at
Follow him on Twitter: @AJParkauthor and @KarlVad
Facebook: KarlVadaszffy
Instagram: AJPark_author

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