I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Lies Within by Jane Isaac
Opening sentence: “The barrister tilts his head back.”
This is the third book in the DI Will Jackman series, and although I have not read the first two, this easily stands-alone as a great detective read. We are given just enough background info on Will in order to understand him and his circumstances, so can pick up nicely here as this story develops.
So, to this story: Grace Daniel’s eldest daughter, Jo, is brutally strangled in a crime that seems similar to two that happened years before. Is this a copycat killer, or the same killer striking again? On this note, usually in a detective-led book, it would be said-detective that cracks the case, but here I felt that Will was more of a vessel to convey the story, rather than the crux of the tale. The case would have been solved with or without his help, unlike, say, a Poirot novel, where you know he is going to be the one to piece together the clues and do the big reveal. Yes, Will is excellent at his job, but so are the rest of the police team, who actually do a lot of the work here.
Alongside the investigation, we get Grace’s point of view on events, that of a grieving mother who desperately wants to find out what happened to her child. When Grace is at her most vulnerable, an old friend, Faye, comes back into her life, but is Faye really everything she seems? Having a dual narrative works well, as it allows for character development within the victim’s family, breaks up the pace of the investigation for the reader and gives more than one account of the story, which makes things interesting.
Although quite long and detailed, at no point did this book feel, ‘too long’, the level-pacing made me feel I was watching a 3-part drama, where the story unfolds gradually, but never too slowly. I also really liked the knowing tone that occasionally cropped up, at one point it is said about Grace, ‘It sounded a little like a soap opera as she spoke the words aloud and she cringed inwardly.’ The author is acknowledging that, yes, the plot has got dramatic, but by doing this, authenticates it and says, yep, sometimes life gets a bit crazy, but let’s go with it. And so you do.
An engrossing, clever read that I enjoyed until the very last page, if detective novels are your thing, then pop this one onto your TBR list.