Sweet Little Lies (Frear)

Sweet Little Lies 
Caz Frear, 2018
HarperCollins
352 pp.
ISBN-13:
9780062823199


Summary
In this gripping debut procedural, a young London policewoman must probe dark secrets buried deep in her own family’s past to solve a murder and a long-ago disappearance.

Your father is a liar.
But is he a killer?
Even liars tell the truth … sometimes.

Twenty-six-year-old Cat Kinsella overcame a troubled childhood to become a Detective Constable with the Metropolitan Police Force, but she’s never been able to banish these ghosts.

When she’s called to the scene of a murder in Islington, not far from the pub her estranged father still runs, she discovers that Alice Lapaine, a young housewife who didn’t get out much, has been found strangled.

Cat and her team immediately suspect Alice’s husband, until she receives a mysterious phone call that links the victim to Maryanne Doyle, a teenage girl who went missing in Ireland eighteen years earlier. The call raises uneasy memories for Cat—her family met Maryanne while on holiday, right before she vanished.

Though she was only a child, Cat knew that her charming but dissolute father wasn’t telling the truth when he denied knowing anything about Maryanne or her disappearance.

Did her father do something to the teenage girl all those years ago? Could he have harmed Alice now? And how can you trust a liar even if he might be telling the truth?

Determined to close the two cases, Cat rushes headlong into the investigation, crossing ethical lines and trampling professional codes. But in looking into the past, she might not like what she finds. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—N/A
Raised—Coventry, England, UK
Education—B.A., Coventry University
Awards—Richard & Judy Bestseller Search
Currently—lives in Coventry, England


Caz Frear grew up in Coventry and spent her teenage years dreaming of moving to London and writing a novel. After fulfilling her first dream, it wasn't until she moved back to Coventry thirteen years later that the writing dream finally came true.

She has a first-class degree in History & Politics from Coventry University, which she's put to enormous use over the years by working as a waitress, shop assistant, retail merchandiser and, for the past twelve years, a headhunter.

When she's not agonizing over snappy dialogue or incisive prose, she can be found shouting at the TV when Arsenal are playing or holding court in the pub on topics she knows nothing about. (From the publisher .)



Book Reviews
(Starred review) [T]aut, psychologically twisted…. Readers will root for the spiky Kinsella, with her empathetic center, and hope to see more of her in future books.
Publishers Weekly


In 1998, Maryanne Doyle went missing; 18 years later, Det. Cat Kinsella is still haunted by her own family's possible involvement in the case.… [S]ecrets and lies come back with a vengeance, resulting in an intense page-turner. —Natalie Browning, Longwood Univ. Lib., Farmville, VA
Library Journal


Frear has fashioned a remarkably rich and sympathetic character in Cat, and her portrayal of dysfunctional families, especially their mix of world-weary dialogue interspersed with cutting comments, is cringingly realistic…. Impressive.
Booklist


(Starred review) Cat is somewhat prickly, which makes her hard to get to know, but as the investigation and the story wind on, she earns our sympathy and our trust because we can see that, while flawed, she acts for the victims…. A truly satisfying—and gritty—mystery.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, please use our GENERIC MYSTERY QUESTIONS to start a discussion for SWEET LITTLE LIES … then take off on your own:



GENERIC DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Mystery / Crime / Suspense Thrillers

1. Talk about the characters, both good and bad. Describe their personalities and motivations. Are they fully developed and emotionally complex? Or are they flat, one-dimensional heroes and villains?

2. What do you know...and when do you know it? At what point in the book do you begin to piece together what happened?

3. Good crime writers embed hidden clues in plain sight, slipping them in casually, almost in passing. Did you pick them out, or were you...clueless? Once you've finished the book, go back to locate the clues hidden in plain sight. How skillful was the author in burying them?

4. Good crime writers also tease us with red-herrings—false clues—to purposely lead readers astray? Does your author try to throw you off track? If so, were you tripped up?

5. Talk about the twists & turns—those surprising plot developments that throw everything you think you've figured out into disarray.

  1. Do they enhance the story, add complexity, and build suspense?
  2. Are they plausible or implausible?
  3. Do they feel forced and gratuitous—inserted merely to extend the story?

6. Does the author ratchet up the suspense? Did you find yourself anxious—quickly turning pages to learn what happened? A what point does the suspense start to build? Where does it climax...then perhaps start rising again?

7. A good ending is essential in any mystery or crime thriller: it should ease up on tension, answer questions, and tidy up loose ends. Does the ending accomplish those goals?

  1. Is the conclusion probable or believable?
  2. Is it organic, growing out of clues previously laid out by the author (see Question 3)?
  3. Or does the ending come out of the blue, feeling forced or tacked-on?
  4. Perhaps it's too predictable.
  5. Can you envision a different or better ending?

8. Are there certain passages in the book—ideas, descriptions, or dialogue—that you found interesting or revealing...or that somehow struck you? What lines, if any, made you stop and think?

9. Overall, does the book satisfy? Does it live up to the standards of a good crime story or suspense thriller? Why or why not?

(Generic Mystery Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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