My Book Review: Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear

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Synopsis:

“In this gripping debut procedural, a young London policewoman must probe dark secrets buried deep in her own family’s past to solve a murder and a long-ago disappearance.

Your father is a liar. But is he a killer?
Even liars tell the truth . . . sometimes.

Twenty-six-year-old Cat Kinsella overcame a troubled childhood to become a Detective Constable with the Metropolitan Police Force, but she’s never been able to banish these ghosts. When she’s called to the scene of a murder in Islington, not far from the pub her estranged father still runs, she discovers that Alice Lapaine, a young housewife who didn’t get out much, has been found strangled.

Cat and her team immediately suspect Alice’s husband, until she receives a mysterious phone call that links the victim to Maryanne Doyle, a teenage girl who went missing in Ireland eighteen years earlier. The call raises uneasy memories for Cat—her family met Maryanne while on holiday, right before she vanished. Though she was only a child, Cat knew that her charming but dissolute father wasn’t telling the truth when he denied knowing anything about Maryanne or her disappearance. Did her father do something to the teenage girl all those years ago? Could he have harmed Alice now? And how can you trust a liar even if he might be telling the truth?

Determined to close the two cases, Cat rushes headlong into the investigation, crossing ethical lines and trampling professional codes. But in looking into the past, she might not like what she finds. . . .”

Usually, I don’t explain where or why the title is what it is. Because that’s for you to read the story to find out. However, I enjoyed how subtle the title is within the story. The author Caz Frear does include the phrase “The sweet little lies we tell ourselves..” inside the story and I wanted to take a moment and mention that. Not a lot of the novels I have been reading lately mention their own title within the story. They make up a title that gives a general sense of the book and let you piece it together in the end, however, she uses it as a quote in her story and it was so subtle yet so outstanding that I enjoyed it. Thank you, author Caz Frear, for that small detail that has stuck with me.

I would also like to skip to the part of her acknowledgment page. This is also one of those areas where I mention it just for knowledge purposes but move on quickly but hers stuck out to me as very personal, as if I wrote the acknowledgment for my own family. Separate acknowledgment for each parent because they each played their own role:

“To Mum, whose love and faith in my ability is as constant as the sun, and to Dad, a first-class storyteller and presumably where I got the gene. I hope I’ve made you both proud.” (Page 344- Acknowledgments.)

I just loved that part because she explained both of my parents as she describes her own and I thought that was lovely. Anyways, you didn’t come here to read about her acknowledgment page now, did you?

Sweet Little Lies is a novel written by Caz Frear located in London and Ireland, sorry, the story is located mainly in London and a part of it is in Ireland is what I meant by that. The novel hits 344 pages long but the story ends on page 341 with the acknowledgment following that and the About Author on the back flap of the jacket for Hardcover books. Sweet Little Lies is a murder-mystery style novel where you start digging into each character wondering who killed Alice and what is the story about Maryanne Doyle?

I had this entire review finished before coming to a new viewpoint of the story. I would like to start this review by saying this:

What you think of this story depends on how much you read and how much you like correctly predicting the future. If you never read a murder mystery story or watch crime thriller movies/television shows, this book may be perfect for you.

However, if you’re like me, you may struggle with this novel. I was expecting something different when I read this. I think this is a good novel for those who are warming their taste buds for a bigger or more exciting mystery style novel but if you came to this one looking for it to keep you on the edge the whole time, you are in for one dull ride. Read that sentence carefully please, what that means is, IF you were looking for action PACKED, this is not. However, it’s still a great read and it would be great from any beginner to check out.

What I would change or fix about it if it was my job to fix it: I’d reorganize it, delete a few characters and some details that seemed to fog the point of the story. The way the author introduces some of the characters makes you believe they have a role when they don’t. Three chapters later you’re expecting one of them to have an important role in something and they never do which then leads you to question why they were mentioned, to begin with. The Uncles, for example, is what I’m speaking of. She brought up Uncle Frank who is of no blood relation but still referred to as Uncle (which is normal because a lot of people have someone in their life they refer to an aunt, cousin, uncle, etc., with no blood relation. That part is not weird.) Then she mentions her dad’s two real brothers who are her blood relation but the three uncles end up having absolutely no connection to the big story or such a minor connection it makes you question why they were even created. I believe Uncle Frank was created as a filler character for background reasons but nothing more. And sometimes those filler details annoy me because they become distracting from the actual story later on when the audience questions when that filler character is going to pop back up. It purposely makes you miss better details later as a way for the author to throw you off which is fine if done correctly.  However, I don’t believe it was done correctly in this story.

I found some quotes in the story I liked, so I’ll share them here so you can get an idea of how the author writes:

“Controlling, or kind of understandable? Is wanting to be at home at the same time as your partner really so primitive or simply pragmatic? Necessary for the health of any longer-term relationship?” (page 53)

I enjoyed this quote because it makes you think about the real world and your own life for a moment. How many times does an outsider accuse two people in a relationship that one person is controlling the other simply because they want to be at home at the same time? What is the point in the relationship if one is always fleeing the other for “alone time” or constantly needing to go out with their friends and family without their partner? Obviously once in a while is healthy to maintain a sense of yourself and who you are but once you join in marriage or decide to spend your life with that person, a part of you should want to crave time with them. A part of you should want to be with that person more than you’re away from them. It makes you wonder what version is normal? I really enjoyed how much that quote made me think about life and romance in general.

“You had a sixty-five percent chance of fathering a child with your wife.

There’s a sixty-three percent chance you killed her.

But like a good little note-taking, nodding DC, I say nothing.” (page 55)

This one made me laugh because it’s showing how statistics are trying to point the finger at the spouse. They wanted to have children but they weren’t having children. That the stats for having a kid was only two percent higher than her husband’s potential to be the murderer. It goes well with the chapter and I liked it.

“Give me an eagle-eyed pensioner over a self-absorbed Gen Y any day of the week. Nosiness trumps narcissism every time.” (Chapter 10 page 110)

This is something I agree with. In case you don’t understand, the argument is that older generations pay more attention to detail because they may have the time to notice something that a young kid wouldn’t notice. Due to experience or maybe curiosity, maybe even due to the fact that it didn’t make sense with reality. They saw it, noted it, and mentioned it when the time was relevant. I really liked that quote and how it was referenced to the book. There are a lot of kids my own age that would fail at paying attention to crucial detail because they are very self-absorbed to the point they don’t even realize it.

And one more for my own personal entertainment:

“Of course she’s already done it. Kate Steele – – green-fingered, bookwormish, chicken-owning DCI Extraordinaire is always one step ahead. I reckon she’d have made a great mum.” (Page 201 chapter 18)

This one was for my entertainment because I always love a good character who is either a complete wreck and their lives are always falling apart, or the character who has it all together and they appear always on their “A-game.” In this example, Kate Steele is the one who is always on her “A-game” and always prepared which makes you love her that much more! (Or hate her if you don’t like competition with a fake character in a book.)

In the end, most of the secrets come out, the truth is made clear and you are not left wondering the big questions. I still wonder why certain details were added or certain characters too but I just chalked it up to filler details. The details created to fill the pages between the big juicy parts of the story. I think it could have been better organized overall from the start but it was better organized towards the end. There was a good amount of detail added to the main story that you didn’t expect but that was only a few chapters worth of reading. The rest of the book was just a time killer to be fair.

What do you think? Have you read this book? Are you more or less interested in it now? You can find her book online in multiple locations, I borrowed this one from my sister through the Book of The Month Club. If she has a website, I was unable to find it so I will link the Book of The Month Club below in case you are wanting to find the novel for yourself. It is available through Google.com if you search it or Amazon.com and other areas you can read/buy it should pop up.

Book of The Month Club-Caz Frear novel

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