Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Little Liar – Lisa Ballantyne

Psychological Thriller
5*s

I can’t resist an author that pushes the boundaries of their readers beliefs and Lisa Ballantyne is prepared to do just that in Little Liar.

The premise is quite straightforward. Upstanding businessman Nick Dean is at home when his life is ripped apart when the police come to his door and accuse him of inappropriate touching of young girl. And this girl is young, just twelve years old. She is part of a group he is teaching drama to at a local school. Nick Dean also has a wife and two children so the consequences of the accusation rock every facet of his life.

Angela Furness is the girl who has stated that Nick Dean inappropriately touched her. He did so behind the stage when he asked her to help with some equipment. She was too shocked to do anything at the time… There seems to be no reason for her to make anything up, sure she’s angry, she’s been violent at school but could this explain why?

The opening scene of the book is a fight between Angela and another girl called Jasmine. She’s no longer the keen child she was when she moved from primary to secondary school but in the intervening period her parents have split up, she’s a little girl angry at the world. Is she ripe for exploitation too?

Lisa Ballantyne is one of the ‘brave’ authors who challenge the orthodox views on subjects. I initially became a fan on reading The Guilty One which has the premise of one child killing another, one of the most inflammatory storylines you could choose and yet she wrote a thoughtful novel that challenges the masses to think about the story behind the headlines and appreciate the tragedy in its entirety and not from only one perspective. She works a similar feat within Little Liar. There is doubt about Angela’s story, she’s not painted as an appealing child but the reader is fully aware that at just twelve  she can’t be considered  on a par with a predatory adult. Nick’s story isn’t clear cut either. During any police investigation of this nature, secrets are bound to be unearthed, and some of those secrets may be hard for the friends and relations to handle. His guilt, or innocence, is up for judgement, have no qualms about that – you will judge and maybe your views will change with the evidence, maybe they won’t.

With both Nick and Angela under the microscope as the accusation seeps into their life it is natural that the wider family becomes involved. What happens if part of the family believes in your guilt and the others don’t. Well one thing for sure in fiction it tends to raise the tension to unbeatable levels. I needed to know the answer, and also what life would look like for all those we met along the journey.

With superb characterisation alongside the fearless nature of the twists and turns the author takes us through, this book was gripping with a capital G. The subject matter is a tough one but the author handles it sensitively, there aren’t graphic scenes of abuse but there is a real connection of the range of emotions that those at the centre, and on the side-lines, experience. Most of all this is a book that will make you think!

I’d like to thank the publisher Piatkus for allowing me to read a copy of Little Liar prior to publication in eBook format on 2 August 2018 and in paperback on 21 February 2019.

First Published UK: 2 August 2018
Publisher: Piatkus
No of Pages: 368
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (July 25)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading The Lighthouse by P.D. James who was one of the early crime writers who got me hooked on the genre but I didn’t ever get around to reading this, the thirteenth in the Adam Dalgliesh series.

Blurb

Combe Island off the Cornish coast has a bloodstained history of piracy and cruelty but now, privately owned, it offers respite to over-stressed men and women in positions of high authority who require privacy and guaranteed security. But the peace of Combe is violated when one of the distinguished visitors is bizarrely murdered.

Adam Dalgliesh is called in to solve the mystery quickly and discreetly, but at a difficult time for him and his depleted team. Dalgliesh is uncertain about his future with Emma Lavenham, the woman he loves, Detective Inspector Kate Miskin has her own emotional problems and the ambitious Anglo-Indian Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith is worried about working under Kate. Hardly have the team begun to unravel the complicated motives of the suspects that there is a second brutal killing and the whole investigation is jeopardised when Dalgliesh is faced with a danger more insidious and as potentially fatal as murder. Amazon

The last book I finished was the compelling and unflinching story by Lisa Ballantyne called Little Liar which will be published on 2 August 2018.

Blurb


The accused

While Nick Dean is enjoying an evening at home with his family, he is blissfully unaware that one of his pupils has just placed an allegation of abuse against him – and that Nick’s imminent arrest will see the start of everything he knows and loves disintegrating around him.
Because, mud sticks, right? No matter if you’re innocent or guilty.

The accuser

When Angela Furness decides that enough is enough – she hates her parents, hates her friends and, most of all, despises what has recently happened at school – she does the only thing she knows will get her attention: calls the police. But Angela is unaware that the shocking story she is about to tell will see her life begin to topple.

Because, once you’ve said what you’ve said, there’s no way back, right? No matter if you’re innocent or guilty. Amazon

Next I’m planning on reading The Poisoner by Stephen Bates which is another of my 20 Books of Summer 2018 reads.

Blurb

In 1856, a baying crowd of over 30,000 people gathered outside Stafford prison to watch the execution of a village doctor from Staffordshire. One of the last people to be publicly hanged, the ‘Rugely Poisoner’, the ‘Prince of Poisoners’, ‘The greatest villain who ever stood trial at the Old Bailey,’ as Charles Dickens described him, Dr William Palmer was convicted in 1856 of murdering his best friend, but was suspected of poisoning more than a dozen other people, including his wife, children, brother and mother-in-law – cashing in on their life insurance to fund his monstrously indebted gambling habit.

Highlighting Palmer’s particularly gruesome penchant for strychnine, his trial made news across Europe: the most memorable in fifty years, according to the Old Bailey’s presiding Lord Chief Justice.

He was a new kind of murderer – respectable, middle class, personable, and consequently more terrifying – and he became Britain’s most infamous figure until the arrival of Jack the Ripper. The first widely available account of one of the most notorious, yet lesser-known, mass-murderers in British history, The Poisoner takes a fresh look at Palmer’s life and disputed crimes, ultimately asking ‘just how evil was this man?’ With previously undiscovered letters from Palmer and new forensic examination of his victims, Stephen Bates presents not only an astonishing and controversial revision of Palmer’s entire story, but takes the reader into the very psyche of a killer. Amazon

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (July 17)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Vicky from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week I’m sharing the opening paragraph of Little Liar by Lisa Ballantyne which will be published in eBook format on 2 August 2018.

Blurb

The accused

While Nick Dean is enjoying an evening at home with his family, he is blissfully unaware that one of his pupils has just placed an allegation of abuse against him – and that Nick’s imminent arrest will see the start of everything he knows and loves disintegrating around him.
Because, mud sticks, right? No matter if you’re innocent or guilty.

The accuser

When Angela Furness decides that enough is enough – she hates her parents, hates her friends and, most of all, despises what has recently happened at school – she does the only thing she knows will get her attention: calls the police. But Angela is unaware that the shocking story she is about to tell will see her life begin to topple.
Because, once you’ve said what you’ve said, there’s no way back, right? No matter if you’re innocent or guilty.

In a gripping tale of two families torn apart by one catastrophic betrayal, Little Liar illustrates the fine line between guilt and innocence, and shows that everyone has their secrets, even those we ought to trust the most… Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

Angela

Fight, fight, fight.

Angela looked down at her knuckles and saw they were red. It wasn’t her blood. The crowd had formed so fast, pupils from her year – twelve-and-thirteen-year-olds – being elbowed out of the way by lads of fifteen. The ring of people around her pulsated as one. The eye of the fight, where she stood, was only three or four feet wide. Kids pressed as close as they could to get a look, climbing on shoulders and pulling on school bags, but they also stayed back, gave room for the violence, so that the circle where Angela stood contracted and diluted like an iris. She didn’t know how many people surrounded her. Everyone wanted to watch a fight and a girl fight was even better, so long as it was a real one.
This was a real one. She hadn’t started it, but she was going to finish it. She was going to teach Jasmine a lesson.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Wow – I have obviously led a sheltered life having witnessed very few fights in my life although I do remember a couple in the school playground…

Anyway this seems to be the forerunner to Angela’s call to the police… I want to read more, do you?