Barbara Copperthwaite’s Flowers for the Dead was one of my top reads in 2015 when she achieved what you’d think would be impossible and created a serial killer the reader can feel sorry for. You can read my review of that here. I have to say that I did not have the same kind of sympathy for the culprit in this novel!
Melanie and Jacob face what must be every parent’s nightmare when their 13 year old daughter is found badly beaten and close to death on the marshes near their home. As the police begin to investigate, it soon becomes clear that Beth had been keeping secrets from her parents. With Beth lying in a coma and the police seemingly making no progress in the investigation into what happened, Melanie takes matters into her own hands and begins to try to find her daughter’s attacker herself.
The Darkest Lies is mostly told from the point of view of Melanie in the aftermath of the attack. It is hard not to feel sympathy for her as she becomes increasingly frustrated with what she sees as the lack of progress in the police investigation. She is convinced that in the small community, someone must know what happened to her daughter and has been telling lies. As the story progressed, it seemed that almost everyone had secrets and was lying, including Melanie and Jacob. As Melanie uncovered many possible leads, many of the residents seemed to potentially have been involved in some way. Some of the decisions she made as she became convinced of first one, then another person’s involvement were so bad and put her at such risk that I was almost despairing. Although when the police didn’t seem to be listening to her, I could understand her frustration.
The book is written with short chapters which made it a really fast-paced compulsive read for me. The story kept changing perspective just at the point when I NEEDED to know more, particularly in the later chapters. Interspersing Melanie’s account and chapters from Beth’s point of view in the lead up to the attack, were chapters from the perpetrator. These made for rather unpleasant and uncomfortable reading as they described the thrill that person got from killing animals and wanting to kill children. I had guessed (for once!) who the person behind these chapters was but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book at all. And although I had guessed that part, Barbara Copperthwaite had plenty surprises and twists that I certainly hadn’t expected!
The Darkest Lies is a real page-turner of a read, full of dark secrets and lies. I found it unexpectedly emotional in places and a very compelling read. It’s a fast-paced thriller with plenty to keep the reader hooked right up until the final very dramatic chapters.
Thanks to Kim at Bookouture for my copy of this book. THE DARKEST LIES by was published in paperback and as an e-book on 12th April. It is available at good bookshops and you can order it online. At the time of writing, the Kindle edition is only 99p so grab yourself a bargain.
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From the back of the book
A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.
Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.
Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.
Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk?
As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…
A completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister and Before I Let You In will be captivated.
Barbara Copperthwaite – About The Author
The people behind the crime, from the perpetrator to the victim and beyond, are what intrigue Barbara Copperthwaite.
She was raised by the sea and in the countryside, where she became a lover of both nature and the written word – the latter leading to a successful career as a journalist. For over twenty years people have kindly and bravely shared with her their real experiences of being victims of crime. Now, through fiction, Barbara continues to explore the emotional repercussions.