LITTLE BLACK LIES by Sharon Bolton: Book Review

You know that feeling when you begin reading a mystery and know from page one that it’s going to be a winner?  That’s the experience I had after reading the first paragraph of Little Black Lies, and the rest of the novel didn’t let me down.

Little Black Lies takes place in the Falkland Islands, an archipelago off the eastern coast of South America.  Catrin Quinn is a life-long resident of the islands, and she is at her emotional breaking point.  Three years earlier her two children were in the car of her best friend, Rachel Grimwood, and were left alone for just a minute when the car slid down a cliff.  Both boys were killed instantly.  Naturally, Catrin’s life fell apart–she and her husband Ben divorced shortly afterwards, and she hasn’t spoken to Rachel since the accident.

Now, only two days before the third anniversary of her sons’ death, Catrin has made a decision.  “I believe just about anyone can kill in the right circumstances, given enough motivation,” she says to herself.  “The question is, am I there yet?”

Stanley, the island’s capital, is a small place, and it’s very difficult for Catrin to avoid both her ex-husband and her ex-best friend, but she tries.  She cannot stop herself, however, from frequently driving past Rachel’s house late at night, imaging Rachel inside with her three children, doing the mothering things that Catrin can no longer do.  With each drive-by she gets closer to her ultimate desire, punishing Rachel as she herself has been punished.

Events in Stanley are spiraling out of control.  As the novel opens, there is a hunt on for a young boy, the third boy to go missing in three years.  Little Archie West is out picnicking with his family when they lose sight of him for a few minutes; then he is gone.  An all-island search is being conducted, with no one wanting to give voice to the fear that, like the other two boys, Archie will never be found.

At the same time the search for the youngster is going on, there’s another disaster in the making on the small island of Speedwell.  There is a mass beaching of pilot whales, hundreds of them, leaving the water and going aground on the sand.  Of course, once they’re on the sand, they’re unable to breathe and will die unless they can be forced/guided back to the ocean.  Scientists have various theories about what causes these beachings–one of the whales can have a virus, be hit by a ship, have its navigational system go wrong–but the results are fatal for them.  If one whale swims into shallow water and can’t get back into deeper water, the whole pod will follow.

Sharon Bolton has written a terrific thriller that will hold you enthralled until the last page.  And even then, I promise you will be totally unprepared for the book’s ending.

You can read more about Sharon Bolton at this web site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.

 

 

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