Simon and Daisy Barnes should be relishing their happy family life…
After years of disappointments and gruelling IVF treatments, the arrival of their longed-for daughter Millie, now aged six, was the ‘miracle’ they had thought would never happen.
But theirs is a marriage built on layers of lies, some close to the surface and some buried so deep that if they ever reached the light of day, the consequences could be catastrophic.
Adele Parks, author of nineteen novels which have all hit the bestseller lists and sold over 3.5 million books in the UK alone, has one of the most distinct and addictive voices in domestic noir and this gripping portrait of a marriage in meltdown is one of her most powerful thrillers yet.
Lies Lies Lies is a moving, mesmerising journey into the darkest recesses of a relationship broken by deceit; a rocky, rollercoaster ride packed with emotions so raw and so viscerally real that readers will be coming up for air and then diving in again at the mercy of an author who knows how to glue them to the page.
Primary school teacher Daisy had thought that her interior designer husband Simon was perfectly happy with their little family of three. Millie is the perfect daughter… a gifted dancer, contented with her life, and enjoys the company of her friends.
But Simon is not content with just one child and he wants Daisy to undergo treatment again to try for another baby. Aged 45 now, Daisy feels she’s too old and thought that the ‘aggravation, frustration and discontent’ of IVF treatment was behind them now.
Infertility for both of them was a ‘raw and painful matter’ but Simon is convinced that they are still not ‘out of the game’ and makes them an appointment to see a specialist.
For Daisy, this is just one more problem. The other problem is that Simon drinks a bit too much sometimes – Daisy’s used to it, she knows he’s letting off steam, but his drinking is leading to some serious and embarrassing situations.
And then one evening, at a friend’s party, things spiral horribly out of control and the night ends in tragedy, an event that means Daisy and Simon’s happy little family of three will never be the same again.
From alcoholism and bullying to despair and marital discord, Parks writes about some of life’s most challenging and emotive issues with a powerful voice but also with an intimate style that cannot help but draw you into the deepest corners of a character’s psyche.
Simon and Daisy’s story plays out through their alternating narratives, a device which allows a slow, twisting, turning reveal of the festering lies that have corrupted both their trust of each other and the very foundations of their relationship.
There are harrowing moments and shocks aplenty in this brilliant page-turner but Parks is so much more than just a straightforward thriller writer… breathtaking insights into the domestic fall-out from addiction, moral questions about whether is it ever right to tell a lie, and some wryly funny life observations bring a depth of real humanity to a beautifully crafted story.
Intriguing, disturbing and with a cracking twist in the tail, this is Parks at her very best.
(HQ, paperback, £7.99)