Cat Kinsella was always a daddy’s girl. Until the summer of 1998 when she sees her father flirting with seventeen-year-old Maryanne Doyle. When Maryanne later disappears and Cat’s father denies ever knowing her, Cat’s relationship with him is changed forever. Eighteen years later, Cat is now a Detective Constable with the Met. Called to the scene of a murder in Islington, she discovers a woman’s body: Alice Lapaine has been found strangled, not far from the pub that Cat’s father runs. When evidence links Alice to the still missing Maryanne, all Cat’s fears about her father resurface. Could he really be a killer? Determined to confront the past and find out what really happened to Maryanne all those years ago, Cat begins to dig into the case. But the problem with looking into the past is that sometimes you might not like what you find.
Imagine my surprise when I started the book and discovered that this wasn’t a psychological thriller, as I expected from the blurb, but a police procedural! After my initial shock, I admit I was captured by this great book from the very beginning.
I’ve read other reviews stating that Sweet Little Lies was kind of a slow-burning type of book, but I was incredibly addicted from the start. There was something about Caz Frear’s prose; her writing style wasn’t typical of most procedurals, as it featured a unique voice and a magnetic protagonist that I won’t soon forget. The narrator’s voice wasn’t so serious and it made me laugh several times.
Despite my love for Caz’s fun remarks, this was, of course, a really dark book (and it got even darker as I kept reading). Cat Kinsella is sure her father had something to do with Maryanne’s disappearance many years ago. But then something happens (I really didn’t expect the plot to develop that way) and Cat is not so sure anymore. Or is she? I don’t want to say too much, except that this is a fascinating and twisty book.
I think the mystery here was one of those most engaging ones I’ve come across lately. I needed to know what had happened. How exactly was everything connected? And unlike recent disappointments, I absolutely loved the way the author crafted the book’s third and final act. The twists and turns weren’t obvious and the explanations were complex, but it all made sense in the end.
Sweet Little Lies is an excellent mystery that is perfect for thriller fans like me who enjoy stories where detectives hide secrets and the case becomes too personal… What would you have done?
ARC, Bonnier Zaffre, 2017