Book Review, Read in 2018, Uncategorized

#BookReview – Everything Is Lies by Helen Callaghan (@michaelJBooks)

everything is liesNo-one is who you think they are

Sophia’s parents lead quiet, unremarkable lives. At least that is what she’s always believed.

Everyone has secrets

Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find a house ringing with silence. Her mother is hanging from a tree. Her father is lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death.

Especially those closest to you 

The police are convinced it is an attempted murder-suicide. But Sophia is sure that the woman who brought her up isn’t a killer. As her father is too ill to talk it is up to Sophia to clear her mother’s name. And to do this she needs to delve deep into her family’s past – a past full of dark secrets she never suspected were there . . .

What if your parents had been lying to you since the day you were born? 

Published 22nd February 2018 by Michael Joseph Books  

Dear Amy was one of the first books I read last year, and I absolutely loved it, and so I was incredibly eager to read Helen Callaghan’s latest novel – Everything Is Lies. When I began reading I was delighted to realise it was a duel time frame narrative, as in the present Sophia discovers her quiet and reclusive parents dead in what appears to be a murder/suicide while the secrets of her mother’s past are revealed in the notebooks she’d compiled in the months leading up to her death. I LOVE a duel narrative, it’s probably my favourite writing style to read as I find myself gripped between the switching stories of the past and present and desperate to know how they connect.

Everything of Lies starts exceptionally well – Sophia’s grisly and deeply shocking discovery grabbed my attention and with sympathetic storytelling, drew me in emotionally. Her distress, horror and trauma was palpable and connected me to her immediately. When Sophia begins to suspect that all is not as it seems and discovers her mother’s notebooks, I was hooked by the tale of a young, impressionable girl who finds herself involved in a cult led by a failed rock star. I settled down for the duration, as page after page flew by almost without me realising.

What made this book so compelling was just how convincing it is. The cult is sinister and weird yes, but subtly so and it was incredibly easy to imagine just how easily a lonely young person lacking in self esteem and confidence could find themselves wrapped up in it, not realising what was going on around them until they are so involved and reliant, there’s no way back. I also thought the character of Aaron, a narcissistic, deluded control freak, was well crafted as he relies on his past fame as a rock star to lure in vulnerable people. Again, he was convincing and it was easy to see why he would at first appear so alluring.

I often find that when reading duel timelines, it’s the sections from the past I find the most intriguing and enjoyable. Surprisingly though, it was the present that really caught me attention and drove this book, as Sophia seeks the truth about her parent’s horrific demise and at the same time, finds herself in danger. While I did enjoy reading her mother’s experiences of the cult, I felt that around the middle it lost pace a bit and wasn’t as tense as I would have liked it. On the other hand, the present galloped along and while I did see a major plot twist coming and predicted it correctly quite early on, I still found myself gripped as the truth is revealed.

Everything Is Lies is one of those books that are so easy to read, you find yourself halfway through before you’ve even looked up. Helen Callaghan certainly has an engaging and evocative writing style which manages to emotionally involve readers in her convincing characters and their stories. While I would probably have liked a little more tension and pace during some aspects of this book, on the whole it was a gripping and satisfying read. Recommended.

(I read an advance eBook proof courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley)

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