Book Review: Sweet Little Lies

sweet little liesSweet Little Lies
by Caz Frear
Crime Fiction
344 pages
Published August 2018

Sweet Little Lies was billed as a thriller in Book of the Month’s description, but it’s more of a police procedural. I hadn’t read one before, though I watch plenty of them on Netflix – they’re a bit of a guilty pleasure! It was interesting having one in book form. It’s not my typical fare, but I did enjoy it, far more than I probably would have enjoyed a true thriller. It’s got all your typical parts of a police procedural – older family man cop, ball-busting female chief who isn’t as bitchy as she first appears, troubled main character who snapped on a case, police psychiatrist, puzzling case, lying witnesses. All we’re really missing is a partner who isn’t actually a cop but somehow worms his way into cases anyway.

I’m conflicted about Cat herself. I like her – but I disagree with some of her decisions. I think she should have come clean about her connection to the case immediately. She doesn’t because she’s trying to protect her dad, but why? She spends most of the book talking about how much she dislikes him! Her entire family dynamic is pretty weird. They have issues.

I really enjoyed the writing of this book. The pacing was excellent – slow enough to absorb each new reveal properly, but fast-paced enough that the action rolls along. Goodreads says the book is “Cat Kinsella #1” implying it’s the start of a series. I’ll have to keep an eye out for them. For a debut novel, I am impressed at the level of writing, pacing, plot, and characterization. There’s a lot of threads in this book that get gathered together at the end and tied up nicely, with only one escaping. That worried me until I discovered it’s the beginning of a series; the one loose thread makes sense in that context.

While I didn’t like this one quite as much as Goodbye, Paris, it’s still another great pick from Book of the Month. I’m curious if they’ll have Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing as one of their picks next month! I already ordered the Book Club version from Barnes & Noble, but I’d still be sorely tempted to get a Book of the Month edition. I really don’t need two copies, though!

From the cover of Sweet Little Lies:

Twenty-six-year-old Cat Kinsella overcame a troubled childhood to become a detective constable with the Metropolitan Police Force, but she’s never been able to¬† banish the ghosts of her past or reconcile with her estranged father. Work provides a refuge from her family dysfunction, but she relies on a caustic wit to hide her vulnerability from her colleagues.

When a mysterious phone call links a recent strangling victim to Maryanne Doyle, a teenage girl who went missing in Ireland eighteen years earlier, the news is discomfiting for Cat. Though she was only a child when her family met Maryanne on a family vacation, right before she vanished, Cat knew that her charming but dissolute father wasn’t telling the truth when he denied knowing anything about the girl’s disappearance. Did he do something to Maryanne all those years ago? Could he have something to do with her current case?

Determined to close the two cases, Cat rushes headlong into the investigation, crossing ethical lines and trampling professional codes. But the deeper she digs, the darker the secrets she may uncover . . . .

Narrated by the unforgettable Cat, Sweet Little Lies is both a compelling police procedural and a look at how we grapple with the shadows of our pasts.