The Lies We Tell by Jane Corry

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The Lies We Tell by Jane Corry

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A standalone thriller from the queen of the genre. A good, quick, engaging read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 500 Date: June 2021
Publisher: Penguin

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Sarah Wallace said that she grew up on a council estate in Kent and that she had two brothers and two sisters. It seemed to have been a loving, stable family. When we first meet her, she can't sleep because her son, Freddie, who's nearly sixteen, hasn't come home by the time he sort of half-promised he'd be in by. Her husband, Tom, is fast asleep: they're moving house in the morning but he's still going to be going to work and he needs his sleep. He wakes, though, when Freddie does come in and overhears him tell his mother that he's killed someone.

Tom and Sarah Wallace are that couple you can never quite understand. How did they ever get together in the first place? Tom's an actuary: just about everything in life can be reduced to numbers. He lacks imagination and creativity: his idea of a casual outfit when he was meeting Sarah was a freshly-ironed pair of jeans and a brown sweater. Even in difficult circumstances, he gives the exact fare to a taxi driver. And Sarah? Well, Sarah is an artist: she teaches life drawing, which is where Tom met her (don't ask how that happened) and she has glossy black plaits with pink and blue highlights. You haven't exactly got them paired off, yet, have you?

It takes a while for Freddie to come along and when he does, their parenting styles are very different. Tom is of the strict 'knowing right from wrong' school and is not above the occasional smack. Sarah prefers to reason with Freddie, explain why his behaviour is not acceptable and encourage apologies. Freddie, of course, learns to play one off against the other and goes his own way, only he might be nearly sixteen but he's nowhere near mature.

What do you do when your child tells you that they've killed someone? God forbid that any of us should ever be in that position but most of us would like to think that we did the right thing, that we'd ring the police, calmly explain what had happened and then stand by the child as the law ground slowly onward. But for many - perhaps most - there will be a niggling doubt that they could allow that to happen and that's what The Lies We Tell is about.

The plotting is superb: there's layer upon layer of carefully constructed situations which lead to the almost inevitable which Tom, Sarah, Freddie and Jasper the dog find themselves in. We also begin to realise that neither Tom nor Sarah have been completely truthful with each other about their pasts. In the early days, they agreed that they wouldn't ask each other - but there comes a point in a relationship when you need to know what has made your partner the person they are. The gradual unravelling and disclosure are heartbreaking for them both - and for their marriage.

It's a good quick read and whilst it might not be quite up to the standard of I Made a Mistake it was certainly engaging and I'd like to thank the publishers for making a copy available to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy Bound (Detective Sam Shephard) by Vanda Symon.

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Buy The Lies We Tell by Jane Corry at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Lies We Tell by Jane Corry at


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