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  • review by Paul Burston

Sweet Little Lies

When Cat Kinsella was eight years old, Maryanne Doyle disappeared. Maryanne was seventeen, wore big hoop ear-rings and turned men’s heads. Cat had seen the effect the teenager had on her own father, despite his insistence that he didn’t know her. Maryanne was never found and Cat’s relationship with her father has never been the same since.

Twenty years later, Cat is working as a police detective and in therapy after a particularly gruesome discovery. Then one night a woman’s body is dumped in the road close to the pub where Cat lived for the first eight years of her life – the same pub where her dad is back working with his old crew. But who is the dead woman and what connection if any does she have with the disappearance of Maryanne Doyle all those years ago?

Caz Frear’s debut novel is a winning mix of the procedural and the domestic. How do you investigate a murder when you think your own father might be involved? Frear paints a vivid portrait of a detective with enough skeletons in the family closet to throw her career completely off track. The story is gripping and the writing filled with insights into dysfunctional families and the lies people tell, just to keep the peace.

But the greatest achievement is Cat herself. Flawed detectives are nothing new, but here’s one you’ll fall in love with from the very first page and stay with until the final twist. ‘Sweet Little Lies’ is an honest to goodness triumph.

Zaffre, £7.99

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