Miriam Jackson is a famous radio presenter. Married to a successful film director, she has created the perfect life for herself.
Then her daughter goes missing.
Miriam is desperate to find her before her husband finds out and her perfect life crumbles around her. So she calls the only person who can help: Private Investigator Madison Attallee, who has just solved the biggest case of her career.
Can Madison find Miriam’s daughter? And will Miriam share the truth about her past?
Hi and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Lies We Tell! Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invite and Orion for the eARC through NetGalley!
Wave a book at me with “lie” in the title and I’ll want it, no questions asked. I love lies and their unravelling (only in fiction though, please!) but in this case I hadn’t foreseen in the slightest what secrets and lies would come floating to the surface…
This is the story of Miriam Jackson. At least, that’s where we start. Miriam’s life is great from the outside looking in: she’s a successful and popular radio show host, she’s married to a handsome and wealthy film director and she has a beautiful teenage daughter. In truth, Miriam is not always as happy as outsiders might think. Her husband Nick, though kind and loving, is often abroad and her daughter Tabitha has grown sullen and moody and rude and Miriam sometimes feels like she’s at the end of her tether. When she bumps into Ben, her first love, she becomes enthralled by him all over again and throws caution to the wind. But then Tabitha, who spent the night at a friend’s house, doesn’t come home. Miriam doesn’t know if she’s overreacting but she feels things aren’t right, that Tabitha could be in serious trouble. The police seem to think that Tabitha is just being a regular teen, that she’s bound to show up again, tail between her legs. However, the senior investigator happens to be in a relationship with Madison Attallee, a private investigator, and passes on her details to Miriam.
Madison Attallee is quite the complicated character. Being a mum of a thirteen-year-old girl herself, Miriam’s story resonates with her and she won’t leave a stone unturned in her search for Tabitha. However, every stone she turns reveals a little more of the cesspool that’s been hidden for the longest time. Moreover, Madison is a recovering alcoholic, still fighting the urge and her demons. Madison was by far my favourite character. She’s moody, sarcastic, acerbic, tough, strident. If you’ve read Helen Fitzgerald’s Worst Case Scenario, and loved its main character Mary, you’ll feel right at home with Madison. For the record, this is Madison’s second outing, last year she appeared in I, Witness, but I hadn’t realised that and I didn’t have the feeling that I was missing anything while reading The Lies We Tell. I do have I, Witness in my library, it has been on my e-reader since last year, and I’m definitely bumping it up!
The third POV is from Ruby Williams in 1994, and it becomes clear quite early in the novel how Ruby’s story is connected to the others’. Towards the finale, one of wrong-doers Madison so eloquently calls “fuckers”, has a say too and we get a few chapters from his POV. These two POVs were really hard to read, they made my blood boil and my skin crawl to the point that I was tempted to throw my e-reader in the pond!
I won’t beat about the bush: a main theme, if not THE main theme in The Lies We Tell is child abuse, organised child abuse at that. It made for a harrowing, at times uncomfortable read. It reminded me of Deborah O’Connor’s The Dangerous Kind in this way, the difference being that I read the latter in 10 staves on The Pigeonhole, so I was never quite so immersed in the darkness as I was now in The Lies We Tell which I binged in a weekend. It’s not overly detailed, there’s no cheap gruesomeness or gore, it’s just a very difficult subject, always has been, always will be. Not in the least because we are all aware that there are fuckers out there that do the shit we read about in fiction such as this. Men who probably actually think the things Niki Mackay makes one of them think in his chapters: that they are the brave ones, the honest ones, the ones who feel they can just take what they want without ever even thinking that 1. It’s not normal to want what they want and 2. Even if it were, taking whatever the hell you want whenever the hell you want it is not alpha male behaviour, it’s caveman behaviour and it should have gone extinct ages ago. (Books like this get me worked up, can you tell?) At this point I’m just clutching at Madison’s words that the world is not a dark place, there are just some dark people in it, and as long as there are bright people like her, we might all be okay in the end.
An intense, chilling, twisty, clever and harrowing read that broke me and left me mangled the way only a really good book can. Recommended.
This blog tour is so huge, we needed three posters! Please check out some of the other stops:
Why do I always read Niki Minaj when I see this book? So weird. Anyway, I’m totally like you, the word ‘lie’ is like a red flag to me and I’m instantly interested when I see it. I read so many novels about child abuse lately though, I’m not sure I want to read more immediately. I’ll keep this one in mind though because it seems really well-written. Great review Kelly!
Thanks Inge! To be perfectly honest, if I had know that child abuse was a major theme, I probably would have declined, because like you say, it’s been a recurrent theme and I’ve read a bunch of books about it and I’ve seen people skirt around it in their reviews but I really wanted to address it. Still, I don’t regret reading it in the slighest, it’s a brilliant book, well-paced and well-written, and if you ever are in the mood, I hope you pick this one ?
Great review Kelly,
Thank you, Karen ?
Ah this “police thinks she’s just a regular teen” is such bullshit, really. Even if a teen is just a regular teen, it’s still not safe for them to just run off to fuck knows where on their own :/ Typical tho.
Anyway, i love the sound of this one… as usual. I’m always doomed when i visit your blog 😀
? Thanks Norrie ?
You wrote your thoughts on this book so eloquently! Thank you also for addressing the child abuse, I think I would have liked to otherwise read it but it sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable so I think I’ll skip this one. But I’m glad to see that there was lots to love in this book ?
Thank you, Darina ? It made me a bit uncomfortable too, I have no regrets, I’m glad I read it, I loved it, but I felt I had to address the abuse as a main topic because it’s not mentioned in the blurb at all and I think many readers can’t read or don’t want to read about abuse. Whatever you’re reading instead, happy reading!