Customer Review

1 April 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Book of Lies tells the tale of two deaths, both occurring in the community of Guernsey in the Channel Islands, one dating back to its occupation by German forces in World War Two, one in the mid-Eighties. Each death is not how it seems, and each has its own narrator, who finally complete a picture of the truth that is very different to how people have perceived the events.
Author Mary Horlock is from Guernsey herself, and one senses a lot of the frustration a young person would feel growing up on this close-knit community. This comes out in the voice of Cath, the modern narrator, who is 15, and also a murderer as we discover at the start.
Her family's past also has its ghosts, as her grandfather and uncle suffered at the hands of Guernsey's occupiers, and it is her Uncle Charlie who provides the book's other voice, seeking to set straight the islanders accepted belief of his story. As with Cath's own story, people are unable, or unwilling, to full realise the truth. The unfolding story finally reveals that a third death may not have been all it seemed either.
A complicated tale then, but one that never really gets off the ground. Both narrators aren't particularly engaging, the voice of the troubled teen Cath is often more annoying than not (tho I guess teenagers are) and Charlie's story of his small resistance to the overwhelming German army, seems rather flat instead of passionate and heroic. In short, after a while, the main characters whining just got me down.
It all reads like a slightly convoluted episode of Midsomer Murders, bit twee, bit trite and English and wholly unbelievable. It's not an unpleasant read and does zip by at a pace, but after what seems like an age spinning out two fairly thin stories, the conclusion is upon you, rather like a school bell has rung in a essay class. As Cath may say to the ending, 'what-evah' (tho I guess that's not very 80s'). It certainly left me a bit non-plussed.
Not sure where the praise for Horlock as an original author comes from. It's not a riveting or unusual tale and neither is it written with any real panache. A decent holiday afternoon read perhaps, but hard to recommend as anything more.
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3.7 out of 5 stars