Monday, 12 December 2016

Book Review: LIE WITH ME by Sabine Durrant

Lie With Me

Title: Lie With Me
Author: Sabine Durrant
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Read: December 2016

Synopsis (Goodreads):

"I suppose what I am saying is, how much do we collude in our own destruction? How much of this nightmare is on me?

You can hate and rail.
You can kick out in protest.

You can do foolish and desperate things, but maybe sometimes you just have to hold up a hand and take the blame."

Impossible to put down.

My thoughts:

At the age of 42, Paul Morris is, by all accounts, a failure. Still relying on the literary success of a book he published in his early twenties, he is a womaniser, a layabout, a conceited man who relies on the few friends who have stuck by him to get by with a minimal amount of work or effort. Just as his life is starting to unravel and he has to face moving in with his mother, a chance encounter with an old friend from college leads Paul to meet Alice, a successful lawyer and single mother of three teenagers. Initially seeing Alice as a needy widow and a chance to exploit, Paul is surprised when he finds himself falling in love with her. He is thrilled when he gets invited to join the family and friends on their annual holiday in Greece. But Greece holds a terrible secret, and soon Paul finds out that no one, and nothing, is quite as it seems.

Now this is what I call a real psychological thriller! With its rather slow pace, Lie With Me relies heavily on character development, clever plotting and a strong sense of place and time to reel the reader into its web – and the author does this very, very well. I love books where seemingly ordinary, everyday events suddenly turn to disaster, an underlying sense of dread and danger slowly building whilst the characters remain totally unaware, slowly stumbling down the path to their own undoing. Special kudos to the author for serving us up a rather unsavoury main protagonist, Paul Morris, whilst still enabling the reader to feel a sense of connection and empathy for the man. Despite his chauvinism, his womanising, his lying and cheating and using his friends for his own gain, I had moments when I felt actually sorry for Paul. And despite a logical little voice telling me that he got what he deserved, I never stopped barracking for Paul and hoping against hope that he would find happiness. Perhaps this trait is what made so many women fall for the man in the first place? To convey Paul’s charisma in the written pages of a book shows the author’s skill in presenting true-to-life characters that masterfully played out the story in my mind like a carefully chosen movie cast. I could see them so vividly, lying around the pool surrounded by olive groves, that I almost felt like I had been there myself, toasting pale British skin under a hot Greek sun.

Lie With Me had everything I look for in a psychological thriller, slowly building tension and a sense of certain doom, which made it impossible to put the book down. And of course the ending, though not totally unexpected by then, was very clever, casting all events of the past into a totally new light. A great read, one of my favourite psychological thrillers of the year. If you are looking for a good book over Christmas, don’t look any further, because Lie With Me has it all. Highly recommended.

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