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…
Published 12th May 2017 by Bookoutre (UK)
I really had no idea what to expect when I started this book, the author being completely new to me. However, a lot of bloggers whose opinions and tastes I’ve grown to respect were very excited about it, and so caught up in that excitement I thought I’d give it a go. How pleased I am that I did, because not only does The Darkest Lies sit up there with some of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read this year, but something about this book got right under my skin.
The Darkest Lies is told in a second person narrative – I can’t remember the last time I read a book in this style and it works so very, very well here. Melanie’s thirteen year old daughter goes missing, and is then found battered and on the brink of death. The book is narrated by Melanie, to her daughter, and details the days following the attack and the ensuing investigation. I found this an incredibly honest, raw and emotional way to tell the story and became instantly connected to Melanie.
I hadn’t been prepared to relate so strongly to Melanie, but it was like she was living my very worst fears. I’m the parent of an almost thirteen year old daughter myself, and everything about this story rang true. The relationship between Melanie and Beth was authentic and the events leading to the horrendous attack are realistic and believable – it’s likely there are similar stories playing out between teenagers around the country as we speak. Melanie’s reactions following her daughter’s attack were also brutally honest, with Barbara Copperthwaite not shying away from depicting the real, raw and desperate side of her grief.
The Darkest Lies is set in a small community, where everyone knows one and another and each others business. Or so they believe. But this twisty, gripping tale weaves a sordid tale of a community full of secrets, small and large, and reveals just what people are willing to sacrifice to protect themselves. The finger of blame points in many directions, but I truly could not have guessed the truth. Then just when I thought the case was resolved, the author pops another twist in there which, to be quite honest, left me speechless.
This wasn’t altogether an easy read for me – a lot of the themes are quite close to home, tapping into some of my biggest fears as the mother of a teenager in the twenty first century. I found it emotional, horrifying and scarily believable and it sent me running up to my daughter’s room just to give her a hug at one point (yep, I got the eye-roll from her). Barbara Copperthwaite’s writing is gripping and she knows exactly how to deliver a twist to make your jaw drop. Her character’s are extremely well observed and believable, as is the tension and feelings of unrest and suspicion in the small community. The descriptions of the stark and wild marshes were atmospheric and eerie, providing the perfect backdrop to this fast-paced, heart-thumper of a thriller. The Darkest Lies is a book I’ll be able to remember vividly for a long time to come and I really can’t wait to read more from Barbara in the future.
(I read an ebook courtesy of the publisher and netgalley)