Monday, June 29, 2015

Little Black Lies by Sharon (S.J.) Bolton

First Sentence:  I believe just about anyone can kill in the right circumstances, given enough motivation.
      
Catrin Quinn, her best friend Rachel, and Faulklands war veteran Callum Murphy are have been joined together by the death of Catrin’s two children, but not in a positive way since they were in Rachel’s care when they died.  Now, they are joined, with the rest of the island, in a search for three missing children.  Resentments, accusations, and distrust are renewed, but can they still find the person who is responsible?
       
A powerful opening is quickly followed by a highly intriguing first chapter filled with evocative descriptions of both places…”Something is moving.  Not the water surrounding me, that seems frozen in time, but the reflection of a bird.”, and of emotions…”Tonight, it seems, my thoughts are determined to stray along the shadowy path, where furtive plans creep like snaring roots across the forest floor, where the darker reaches of our minds run free.” 
      
There is something truly wonderful about an author who makes one pause and consider.  Her descriptions of devastating loss, and being haunted by those who have been lost, is truly remarkable and wrenching.  Then, to add another layer, the descriptions of a mass beaching of pilot whales only adds to the sense of tragedy.  Bolton truly is a master at conveying emotions, and with a very good turn in the plot, another level is added.
      
The construct of the story is interesting and somewhat unusual.  One gets to know the three primary characters well, yet is constantly surprised, while not altogether trusting, by what one learns.  Although it may seem a small thing, she is remarkably effective at making animals very important to the plot.  What is very well done is that each section of the book avoids being repetitive, and very much has its tone.
      
It is a pleasure having a book set in a location new to most readers.  While one applauds Minotaur for including a map, Bolton brings the Faulkland Islands, its people and history, to life.  If there is any criticism, and very small would it be, it is that the first section is so powerful, the other two sections are slightly diminished by comparison.  However, that is also a true reflection of each character’s strength of emotion and, thus, appropriate.
      
Little Black Lies” is an excellent book with a very powerful, did-NOT-see-that-coming ending.  One does love being completely surprised.

LITTLE BLACK LIES (Myst-Catrin/Callum/Rachel-The Falkland Islands-Contemp) – Ex
Bolton, Sharon – Standalone
Minotaur Books – May 2015

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