Thank you for joining me for my stop on the blog tour for Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear. Today I will be sharing an extract and my review.
First if all let's take a look at the description for the book...
About the book
WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW
In 1998, Maryanne Doyle disappeared and Dad knew something about it?
Maryanne Doyle was never seen again.
WHAT I ACTUALLY KNOW
In 1998, Dad lied about knowing Maryanne Doyle.
Alice Lapaine has been found strangled near Dad's pub.
Dad was in the local area for both Maryanne Doyle's disappearance and Alice Lapaine's murder - FACT
Trust cuts both ways . . . what do you do when it's gone?
We get our plan together over bone-dry turkey and over-cooked veg in the staff canteen – or in ‘Santa’s Grotto’ as the sign, messily scrawled on the back of a Road Traffic Collision Report, informs us. Flowers is on charity bucket duty, lumbering between tables and bullying everyone into digging deeper, which I suppose is the point.
“A tenner, you mean bastard! You’ve paid more for a blow-job…”
“Tighter than a nun’s chuff, you lot.”
Above the clamour of insults and x-rated moaning, Jim Reeves tries to raise the tone, crooning on someone’s iPod about the magic of Silver Bells, and I find myself getting a sharp pang of sentimentality for something I never really knew. Christmas was never the most enchanted of times in our house. It was the only time Mum ever drank and although it was never really much - just a couple of G&T’s here and the odd glass of bubbly there - it was always enough to add that extra few degrees of heat to a marriage that somehow managed to simmer along just below boiling point for three-hundred and sixty-four days of the year.
“So we start relatively soft.” Parnell pushes his plate away, finally admitting defeat in the war of Man v’s Heinous Food. “Me and Seth will kick off. We’ll say we’re just clarifying a few details. Has anything else occurred to him? How’s he feeling? That sort of thing. Got it?”
We get it.
The rest is relatively simple. We’ll try different approaches to fox him and switch line-ups when he thinks he’s starting to get the hang of things. Parnell’s going to do the authority thing, the wizened old hand just trying to dot all the ‘i’s and cross all the ‘t’s and Seth will do the posh thing. I may have had my vowels rounded out at Lady Helen’s but what I know about boats and birthday suppers at Claridges, you could write on the back of a postage stamp.
Which leaves me watching from the Observation Room, primed to do the woman thing, whatever that means.
“So I either glide in and wet-nurse him, if I think that’s what the interview needs, or I burst in like a tempest and tear his nuts off with my teeth?” I say, biting into a stuffing ball with a demonic grin.
“Exactly,” says Parnell, only slightly alarmed. “Depends which way it’s going…”
What we didn’t plan for was it going a different way entirely. Parnell and Seth barely have time to do the “sorry the coffee’s awful’ skit and my arse has barely hit the Observation Room chair before Thomas Lapaine blindsides us all with an unexpected chattiness. And not not the verbal diarrhea that hints towards nervousness or guilt. He seems relaxed and composed. Like he’s settled down into the confessional box for a therapeutic off-load. There isn’t a speck of red left in those rich brown eyes to suggest he’s lost even an hour’s kip in the past few days, never mind his wife in the most brutal way possible. His hair looks different too, coiffured, parted slightly to the left. He’s prepared for this visit like it’s a business lunch.
This is a different Thomas Lapaine.
But not lawyered-up, mercifully. And with no intention of doing so either, despite Parnell’s reading of his rights.
“For the benefit of the tape, it is Thursday 18th December, 2016 and the time is 6.29pm. I am Acting Detective Inspector Luigi Parnell and with me is Detective Constable Seth Wakeman and - ”
Lapaine leans in. “Thomas Lapaine. Look I know why you’ve called me back here. You want to know why I cleared out the joint account. I don’t know a lot about the workings of police investigations, Detectives, but I assumed you’d find out.”
Parnell does his ‘disappointed parent’ voice. He does it on me sometimes when my language gets a bit sordid or I eat M&Ms for breakfast. “So why didn’t you just tell us, Tom? You must realise that us finding out the hard way doesn’t exactly show you in a great light?”
A tiny lift of one shoulder. “You never asked.”
The fact he genuinely seems to think that’s an acceptable come-back makes me conclude that Thomas Lapaine possibly isn’t the sharpest tool in the box
Parnell leaves it though, there’s no point arguing with true idiocy. “So come on then, why did you clear out it out?”
Lapaine’s eyes wander but there’s nothing to look at. Just walls the colour of smog and a carpet that makes the walls look upbeat.
“If I say it was to force her back, I suppose that doesn’t show me in a great light either?”
“A piece of advice, Tom, I’d forget your image and concentrate on the facts from now on, ok?”
I really enjoyed getting to know Cat she has her flaws but she was quite a compelling character especially as her past is revealed. With her dysfunctional family to worries in her career it's easy to be pulled into her life. Cat has a straight talking personality that was so entertaining and quite a few times I found myself smiling at her comments and observations. I thought that Cat's colleagues were a brilliant addition to the story especially Luigi Parnell they really made a great team. As events take place you can feel her indecision over whether to explain any connection that her family has with Maryanne.
The plot unfolds at a steady pace which I didn't really mind as it meant that the characters were developed well and I got a better feel for them. This book is filled to the brim with secrets and lies which kept me on my toes waiting for the next revelation. The flashbacks to Cat's childhood are interesting and her 8 year old self is a complete contrast to who she grew up to be. Mainly down to trust issues, I guess in Cat's case once the trust has gone its hard to move on from and can affect your entire future. There are a few surprises along the way and this really helped to keep the momentum going right until the very end.
A good mix of crime, suspense and intrigue!
With thanks to Emily at Bonnier Zaffre for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.
About the author
Caz grew up in Coventry and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel.
After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn’t until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the writing dream finally came true.
She has a first-class degree in History & Politics which she’s put to enormous use over the years by working as a waitress, a shop assistant, a retail merchandiser and, for the past twelve years, a headhunter. When she’s not agonising over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at the TV when Arsenal are playing or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about.
Caz is the winner of the Richard & Judy Search for a Bestseller Award 2017.