#BookReview - Soot by Andrew Martin

York, 1799.

In August, an artist is found murdered in his home - stabbed with a pair of scissors. Matthew Harvey's death is much discussed in the city. The scissors are among the tools of his trade - for Harvey is a renowned cutter and painter of shades, or silhouettes, the latest fashion in portraiture. It soon becomes clear that the murderer must be one of the artist's last sitters, and the people depicted in the final six shades made by him become the key suspects. But who are they? And where are they to be found?

Later, in November, a clever but impoverished young gentleman called Fletcher Rigge languishes in the debtor's prison, until a letter arrives containing a bizarre proposition from the son of the murdered man. Rigge is to be released for one month, but in that time, he must find the killer. If he fails, he will be incarcerated again, possibly for life.

And so, with everything at stake, and equipped only with copies of the distinctive silhouettes, Fletcher Rigge be…

Book Review - Lie to Me by Jess Ryder


We’re going to tell our story and then it will all stop and Mummy will be safe. You want Mummy to be safe, don’t you?

Three minutes. That’s all it takes for Meredith’s entire world to fall apart when she watches the videotape of her four-year-old self with Becca, the mother she’s never known.

Meredith can’t believe what her eyes have seen. Yet what if her memory has locked away the painful reality of her childhood? Can there be any truth in the strange and dangerous story her mother forced her to tell on camera? 

The search for answers leads Meredith to Darkwater Pool, the scene of the murder of a young woman, Cara, over 30 years ago. What could possibly be the link between her mother and the victim?

To find the truth Meredith must search through a past that is not her own. The problem is, she’s not the only one looking.

A dark, compulsive psychological thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Louise Jensen.

What happens when you discover your memories of your childhood might be a lie, and worse you could be linked to a murder? When Meredith finds a decades old video tape of herself as a four year year old she doesn't expect that just a few minutes later her life will be turned upside down. Driven to find out more she embarks on a search that will not only change what she knows about herself, it will also threaten her life.
The book is predominantly told from Meredith's point of view, it is mostly through her investigation that we gradually learn the truth of what happened years ago. However, some chapters are also seen through either the eyes of the murder victim, Cara or the man acquitted of killing her, Christopher Jay. I always enjoy books with multiple narrators, particularly when, as here, they feature different time settings. Meredith's story is told in the present, Cara's in the past, with Jay serving as the link between the two. Each chapter has a clear narrative voice with good, defined characterisation. Meredith is a likeable protagonist on the whole although perhaps although she sometimes felt a little immature albeit for reasons that become clear later. Cara is a genuine, slightly naive young woman and there's an underlying poignancy to her words, knowing her eventual fate. Other characters are less easy to warm to, although the author still manages to elicit some sympathy for even the most unpleasant of them.
The mystery itself unfolds with a few twists but I wasn't altogether surprised by the resolution. The story eventually builds to one tense scene that is the gripping moment I was waiting for, although I'd have perhaps liked a few more sections that set my heart racing. However, I mostly found Lie to Me an enjoyable and well structured thriller with a absorbing mystery and a satisfying conclusion. An excellent debut then and I look forward to reading more from Jess Ryder in the future.
Many thanks to the publishers for my copy received through Netgalley in return for this review.

Lie to Me will be published in the UK on 19th April 2017 by Bookouture.

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