When a depressed, alcoholic single mother disappears, everything suggests suicide, but when her body is found, Icelandic detective Elma and her team are thrust into a perplexing, chilling investigation.
When single mother Maríanna disappears from her home, leaving an apologetic note on the kitchen table, everyone assumes that she’s taken her own life … until her body is found on the Grábrók lava fields seven months later, clearly the victim of murder. Her neglected fifteen-year-old daughter Hekla has been placed in foster care, but is her perfect new life hiding something sinister?
Fifteen years earlier, a desperate new mother lies in a maternity ward, unable to look at her own child, the start of an odd and broken relationship that leads to a shocking tragedy.
Police officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case, which becomes increasingly complex, as the number of suspects grows and new light is shed on Maríanna’s past – and the childhood of a girl who never was like the others…
Breathtakingly chilling and tantalisingly twisty, Girls Who Lie is at once a startling, tense psychological thriller and a sophisticated police procedural, marking Eva Björg Ægisdottir as one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.
Hi and welcome to my review of Girls Who Lie!
Wave a book at me that has the word lie in the title and you know I’m going to want to read it. Tell me it’s Nordic Noir and written by an up-and-coming author whose debut I devoured last year and wild Icelandic horses couldn’t keep me away! The volcanic grounds of Iceland have produced quite a few fantastic authors and with Girls Who Lie, Eva Björg Ægisdottir shows she is right up there with the best of them.
Girls Who Lie is the second Forbidden Iceland thriller featuring police officer Elma, whom we were introduced to in The Creak on the Stairs. There is one specific aspect of Elma’s personal past carried over to Girls Who Lie that may be a bit of a spoiler if you were to read The Creak later, but her current case is brand-new and I’m sure Girls Who Lie works perfectly well as a standalone, if you are so inclined. (The Creak is really good though, so my advice would be to start there anyway.)
Girls Who Lie alternates between two storylines. The first storyline is told from the POV of Elma. A body has been found in a cave: Maríanna, who was missing and presumed dead by suicide, now appears to have been murdered. Elma and her partner are trying to work out what happened, and as their investigation progressed I was sleuthing from the sidelines, mentally adding, crossing off and re-adding names to my suspect list.
The second storyline is told from the POV of an unnamed woman, starting with the birth of her daughter, and steadily progressing in time. Starting with postnatal depression and then going from low to low, this woman is struggling with her fussy, at times violent child, and neither of them is very happy. Here too, I was sleuthing like it was my job: was this woman one of the people in Elma’s storyline, was her daughter? Finally the pieces started to slot into place, the picture becoming a little clearer with every chapter and now I just want to go back, start over, find out what clues I missed.
What I love about reading is that you can stay in the comfort of your own home, or at your desk at work, or be physically anywhere really, while your mind is travelling the world, discovering new places or revisiting places you’ve been and feel nostalgic about. That is exactly what Girls Who Lie did: part of me stayed on the sofa with the cat, while part of me roamed the lava fields of Iceland, felt the chill in the air, and the looming gloom of a long dark winter. It simply oozes atmosphere. I loved the mystery, I loved the police procedural aspect, I loved Elma, she’s such a brilliant protagonist, but the setting, the vibe, the atmosphere are like a huge juicy cherry on top an already properly lush cake. Recommended!
Girls Who Lie is out today in digital formats and will be out in paperback on the 22nd of July. (Pre)order it directly from Orenda Books here.
Huge thanks to Orenda Books for the gorgeous proof. All opinions are still my own.