Lies, Lies, Lies
After reading Lies, Lies, Lies you’ll almost be grateful that Covid has put an end to parties. Almost.
Daisy thinks three is the best number. It’s:
“the first number that forms a geometrical figure . . . it’s the number most often associated with time past, present and future; beginning, middle, end; birth, death, life.”
It’s the number of her perfect little family – mommy, daddy and baby Millie. It had taken years of fertility treatments, years filled with tears and stress, but Millie is perfect and all they need. At least for Daisy.
Daisy’s husband Simon adores Millie but he longs for another miracle. Both he and Daisy have siblings and he wants that for his little girl as well. They are in their forties and if they don’t act soon, it will be too late. He makes a reluctant Daisy agree to a visit with a fertility specialist – but a mixup with the sitter finds him seeing the doctor alone. What he learns there has him questioning everything about his perfect life and his lovely wife.
Simon’s drinking has always been a problem but after that visit he goes from being a functional alcoholic to just an alcoholic. Daisy is still trying to figure out what, exactly, to do about that when the annual anniversary party comes around. She and Simon had met at a friend’s anniversary party years ago and the two couples have almost always celebrated their unions together. Daisy had planned to skip – she’d been making her excuses the last few years – but Simon is determined to go and show everyone how perfectly happy they are. It doesn’t work out quite as he’d planned.
One of the things I loved about this story was the author’s ability to surprise me. Every time I thought I knew what was going to happen, something occurred that was completely shocking. Ms. Parks does a wonderful job of subtly dropping clues while simultaneously convincing you to look elsewhere, so that when the big reveal comes you have the pleasure of putting all the clues together and realizing you should have expected what you in fact found unexpected. I absolutely loved that.
The author also does an amazing job of creating completely ordinary people who find themselves facing extraordinary circumstances. Daisy is a mother, a teacher, a woman with wonderful friends and family who lives a very typical middle-class existence. The horrors that enter her life from a simple party seem unbelievable. Simon is achingly familiar to anyone who has experience with alcoholism; an average guy who would have had a regular existence if he hadn’t lost himself to the bottle. The story of how that happened and how those events continue to inform his life is told with simplicity and clarity, making him a surprisingly sympathetic character. I loved how the author let us see glimpses of the past, when he was sober, rather than just the drunk he is now. It lent poignancy to someone who could have simply been a villain.
But while the story was amazing in many ways two things kept if from DIK status. The first is that some aspects of the tale were simply unbelievable. Most thrillers stretch our suspension of disbelief but after finishing this book I found myself thinking about all the really simple things the characters could have done to avoid the mess they were in. Fortunately, while I was reading I was completely engaged and this flaw didn’t manifest until I sat down to write my review.
The second was that I grew frustrated with the helpless nature of our ingénue heroine. I empathized with the trauma and confusion Daisy felt as she faced unanticipated, irregular circumstances in her life but I slowly became irked as she took few, if any steps, to deal with her troubles. I could certainly understand her being overwhelmed at the beginning but she stays in that state far too long.
The wonderful prose and excellent pacing of the story ensure that these issues aren’t noticeable until after you set the book down. Lovers of domestic thrillers will find plenty to enjoy in Lies, Lies, Lies and fans of the author will doubtless love this latest offering.
Buy it at: Amazon, Audible, or your local independent bookstore
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