Having enjoyed previous books by this author, and seen people tweeting about Lie With Me, I was eager to read it. Once I started, I binge read. Clever and sharp from the first page, it brings something fresh to the crime fiction genre, as Durrant’s novels always do.
The story revolves round writer, Paul Morris, who’s dined out – literally – on the success of his work in his early twenties. Now almost out of friends and on the verge of becoming homeless, he’s wondering how his life has taken the shape it has. And who he can hitch his next ride with. When Alice comes back into his life, she seems like his ticket to continued coasting, and possibly redemption. Except old habits die hard. As a liar, a user and a lazy toe-rag, Paul is a fabulous protagonist. Often, if I don’t like a main character I don’t care what happens to them, but the author covers this aspect of the novel brilliantly. I wasn’t rooting for him, but I definitely wanted to find out how his romance with Alice, and the holiday in Greece, worked out. Foreboding and menace crackle and spit their way through the narrative, and I was interested to see what choices Durrant would make about the ending.
What I admire about Sabine Durrant’s books is the energy of her writing. Lie With Me is written in the first person. Often this can become monotonous and exposition-prone. Not so here for one moment. Staccato sentences punctuate vivid descriptions and fast-paced dialogue. Paul’s reflections brim with information about his character, and his tone is sarcastic and informal – and very funny. It’s as though he’s telling you the story over a pint (or perhaps that would be an expensive glass of wine which he gets you to pay for).
The cast of characters are terrific. The tensions between Paul and Andrew are there from the start. I found Tina’s role and position intriguing, and Alice was a wonderful surprise.
A standout novel for me. And check out that cover!
With thanks to the publisher and author for the ARC.
Vicky Newham © 2016.