What do you do if you think your father may have murdered a seventeen-year-old girl? For Cat Kinsella, the answer is to cut herself off from her familWhat do you do if you think your father may have murdered a seventeen-year-old girl? For Cat Kinsella, the answer is to cut herself off from her family and join the police force.
At the tender age of eight Cat is on holiday with her family in Ireland when a local girl goes missing. Convinced her father had something to do with the disappearance she tries her best to destroy her relationship with him. Eighteen years later though, a body turns up in London a stone's throw away from the pub Cat and her family lived in. The body is initially identified as Alice Lapaine but after appeals to the public it becomes apparent that it is actually Maryanne Doyle, the girl who vanished. Just how did she end up in London and where has she been all this time?
Cat, part of the team investigating the murder, knows she should come clean about knowing the victim but desperately wants to know if her father is capable of murder or if maybe she has misjudged him all these years. Still reeling from her involvement in a previous case Cat's boss wants her involvement to be minimal but naturally she ends up in the thick of it, risking her relationship with her sister who won't hear a bad word about their father.
For a debut novel, Sweet Little Lies is superb. The story is told both in the present in London and in Ireland eighteen years ago. The difference between the two Cats is considerable, whilst the younger Cat is confident, outgoing and safe in her relationship with her father, adult Cat is rather bitter, secretive and struggling with the fact that she may have got everything wrong. Not wanting to admit this she plunges deeper into the case, risking her career for wanting to prove a point.
Cats Frears has written a fantastic first novel, the writing kept me hooked from start to finish and unable to put the book down until I'd read the last word. The majority of the plot takes place either in the police station or with her colleagues, apart from the chapters involving her family (their Christmas celebration was spot on for a family who obviously don't get on very well) but this adds to the story. It was great to see the connections between Cat and her fellow officers, especially Steele, her boss who was taking an greater interest in Cat's mental health than she would have liked, and Parnell, an older male officer who was the acting boss on the case as well. Given her troubles with her father it was interesting to see her closeness with Parnell, the almost father-daughter relationship they were developing.
The best thing about Sweet Little Lies though? The plot. I had no idea where the story was going or who the guilty party was or what the reason for the murder was. You think you've worked it out and then the story zoomed in another direction. Was it the husband who had no idea who she really was? Was it the 'moron' brother who has grown up to be anything but moronic? Is it connected to Ireland or has Maryanne somehow managed to get involved in something completely unconnected, something that got her killed? All I can say is you probably won't work it out, not until the last few pages when you'll suddenly realize what's going on and want to know how did you miss the clues pointing to the culprit? It's something that Parnell himself was trying to work out when someone's identity was revealed so you won't be alone!
I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel, it's easy to see how it won the Search For A Bestseller competition and I really hope this isn't the last we're going to see of Cat and Parnell as I loved getting to know them. If you like police procedural stories with a twist then Sweet Little Lies is worth a read....more
'Sometimes real life can be more exciting than the movies' and Finn is about to discover this himself. After finally getting a speaking role in the sa'Sometimes real life can be more exciting than the movies' and Finn is about to discover this himself. After finally getting a speaking role in the same teen action movie as his former friend and now arch-nemesis Blake, Finn is horrified when he loses the part to a girl. He doesn't have to brood for long though as Agatha Novak, the famed but rather eccentric director, catches him somewhere he shouldn't be. Fast forward a couple of days, Finn is now Blake's stunt double and they're heading out to Papua New Guinea to film some of the more daring stunts.
What Finn, Blake, Anna and Mawi don't realize is that Novak has an alternative agenda and doesn't care what lengths she has to go to achieve it or who she hurts. Only after Anna is injured and most of the crew disappear do the teenagers start to notice that things aren't quite as they seem. Suddenly finding themselves in 'life or death' situations it would appear that real life is maybe about to get both more exciting and dangerous.
Stunt Double is a fantastic read, you never quite know who is in on the real reason for the cast and crew to be in Papua New Guinea and who isn't. Novak doesn't hold back on some pretty cruel ways of persuading the children to do what she wants, in fact some of it is really quite scary for a boy thousands of miles away from everything and everybody he knows. The reason for their current location was amazing, without giving anything away it really was something spectacular and something so unbelievable that it made it seem all the more real.
Tamsin Cooke has written a real page-turner of an adventure story, with a great cast of characters both young and old. Although Finn and Mawi were definitely my favourites I had a soft spot for our batty director who thoroughly deserved everything she got for dragging children into an incredibly perilous adventure, although I think Finn was quite rightly in his element! If you're looking for an addictive read, full of action with a healthy dose of friendship, then Stunt Double is perfect. I can't wait to find out if we're going to see more of Finn as although this story is finished, there's a "what? what just happened? now that's a bit of a cliff-hanger!" moment and I sincerely hope his adventures as a Stunt Double continue....more