Little Black Lies, by Sharon Bolton (2015)

Little Black LiesCatrin Quinn is a whale biologist living on the Falkland Islands – the archipelago famed in my lifetime as the site of a bizarre territorial war between Argentina and Britain. Well, she’s technically living – she breathes, barely sleeps or eats, and is determined to kill her former best friend. It was Rachel who left Catrin’s young boys unattended in her car three years ago. The brake was somehow dislodged and the car became the boys’ coffin as it went over a cliff. In addition to losing her sons and of course her best friend, Catrin lost her husband – who has since remarried and started a new family, and her lover Callum. To Catrin, no one has suffered as she has, and someone has to pay. She decides to take revenge on Rachel, and the book opens just two days before the planned murder. It’s also the day a child goes missing on the island, the third child to do so in as many years in an isolated country with meagre police resources. It’s also the day a couple of hundred whales beach themselves, refusing desperate human attempts to save them. This is a wild place, in every sense, and Bolton’s gothic writing style brings to life a lonely land filled with windy crags, deserted stretches of sand, and nights of star-filled skies. She uses multiple voices, switching the narrative from Catrin to Callum to Rachel, raising questions about truth and justice, while deftly exploring the painful themes of grief, despair, and lost relationships. How much stark despair? Here’s a line from Catrin: “I sleep for an hour and dream about slaughter” (p. 119). This is a spectacular story, mesmerizing despite its dark and sad characters. It’s also a terrific mystery. My thanks to NetGalley for the advance reading copy in exchange for my honest review.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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