Sweet Little Lies was one of my highly anticipated summer reads, and I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint!
WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW: In 1998, Maryanne Doyle disappeared and Dad knew something about it? Maryanne Doyle was never seen again.
WHAT I ACTUALLY KNOW: In 1998, Dad lied about knowing Maryanne Doyle. Alice Lapaine has been found strangled near Dad’s pub. Dad was in the local area for both Maryanne Doyle’s disappearance and Alice Lapaine’s murder – FACT Connection?
Trust cuts both ways . . . what do you do when it’s gone?
Based on the blurb I read for this novel, I went into it expecting a psychological thriller, and like many of my fellow bloggers, I was surprised to find Sweet Little Lies is actually a police procedural which contains a strong mystery rather than fast-paced thrills. A lot of police procedurals these days can be classed as crime thrillers too, but I found Sweet Little Lies to be of a slower pace than you’d find in a thriller and for the story Frear has plotted, it worked really well.
Cat, this books main protagonist, works for the police and her and the team are called to investigate the death of Alice Lapaine; Cat has a strained relationship with her father and fears he was involved in this murder and she harbours thoughts that he was also involved in the disappearance of Maryanne in 1998. While this is a police procedural by nature, the focus here really was on family ties, particularly between Cat and her father, and how fragile of a thing trust really is. This slower pace adopted by Frear really allowed her to lay bare Cats thoughts regarding her father and his possible involvement in the case. As the reader, you get to know Cat really well, flaws and all, and this pulls you into the story and allows the slower pace to create this simmering feeling because, like Cat, you’re not sure if her father is guilty of everything or nothing.
I really liked the characterisation in this novel; I found Cat to be a likeable character but I also found the rest of the police force to be likeable too. There was no one colleague constantly trying to belittle Cat throughout the book, this gave me no real character to hate – no one’s downfall for me to prey on, so Cat’s likeability was essential for me to feel invested in the story. Frear did a brilliant job showcasing the family dynamics, not just between Cat and her father, but also between her and her siblings too.
I thought this was an extremely well-rounded novel, great characters and a great plot! I couldn’t figure the mystery out and until it was revealed, I couldn’t even hazard a guess to how the characters factored in the events that occurred. Though this isn’t a thrilling and chilling read, it was certainly a dark story, one that got darker as the reveal came. Nothing felt forced in this novel for me, and I think everything came together perfectly to create a brilliant debut novel from Frear.
I look forward to reading more from her and have absolutely no reservation recommending this book for those that enjoy a slower paced police procedural, with family ties, trust and secrets at it’s core.