Monday, 25 January 2016

Sealions, Penguins & Whales! Oh My!

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton

I’ve been wondering if I have what it takes to kill. Whether I can look a living creature in the eye and take the one irreversible action that ends a life. Asked and answered, I suppose. I have no difficulty in killing. I’m actually rather good at it. 

We were inseparable until the day she killed my sons. Little Black Lies is Sharon Bolton’s first standalone novel since ‘Blood Harvest’. Set in the Falkland Islands 12 years after the end of the war, this suspense filled tale is told by three different characters over the course of just 6 days. Part one is told by Catrin, a mother whose two young sons died in a tragic accident three years earlier whilst being cared for by her best friend Rachel. Part two tells the story from the perspective of Callum, a former British soldier who now lives on the Island and finally part three is told by Rachel.

In the early chapters of this book Catrin lets us in on her plans for revenge. Three years after the tragic deaths of her sons she is still haunted by them, believing she sees them in her home, hears their voices and feels them still wanting to play games with her. Since their deaths she has lost everything. Her husband has divorced her and started a new family after she lost the baby she was carrying at the time of her sons deaths. She has lost her best friend, holding her personally responsible for her sons deaths and to make things worse she has had to watch as Rachel is able to carry on her life, continuing to raise her own three sons.
Catrin wants revenge. She wants Rachel to pay and is hatching a plan to coincide with the impending eclipse that will make sure she gets exactly what Catrin believes she deserves.

I honestly cannot say enough good things about this one. Right from the beginning I was totally hooked. The setting of the Falkland Islands was a very welcome change to the norm. The Falklands are not somewhere I have ever travelled or particularly know very much about. However having read this I would definitely be interested to visit. Sharon Bolton has painted a beautifully realistic image of the Islands and I had no problem in imaging the places described. I’ve seen a couple of people complaining that there is too much description of the setting. I can’t agree with these criticisms as I really believe that the setting adds to a lot of the tension in the story. The isolation, the dangerous terrain, the close knit community where everybody seems to know everyone, along with the visitors to the islands so unused to the ways of the locals all add to the story in one way or another and definitely add to the atmosphere the author is trying to create.

 I loved the characters despite their obvious shortcomings. There are a wide range of things explored with the various characters; revenge, post traumatic stress disorder, depression, forgiveness and human nature in extreme situations. I enjoyed the pacing, despite taking time to explore the landscape and a few mentions of the history surrounding the islands and the war fought there, I never felt like the story dragged. Even with the story being told from different perspectives the narrative never slows down to unnecessarily repeat events from various points of view. The different characters fill in the gaps throughout the beginning of the story, all telling their own tales before they all come together for a riveting ending. This book has so many twists and turns and they are all plausible outcomes throughout, none of them are thrown in without being a real possibility. This one really keeps you guessing what’s going to happen right through until the very end. In fact come the end of the book not every question has been fully answered and honestly I really like that. There are enough hints to lead you to some conclusions but not any concrete answers for some questions.

After Renee Knight’s ‘Disclaimer’ I truly believed it would be a long time before I could rate a thriller as a 5 out of 5 again. It was such a fantastic book that I didn’t imagine finding anything quite as good anytime soon. Fortunately I was wrong. This is 100% a 5 out of 5 book and I might even go as far as to say that I preferred it. I really can’t say enough good things about this one and would highly recommend you read it as your next thriller!

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