Publication: 19th April 2018 from Trapeze
Eighteen years ago Martha said goodbye to best friend Juliet on a moonlit London towpath.
The next morning Juliet’s bike was found abandoned at the waterside.
She was never seen again.
Nearly two decades later Martha is a TV celebrity, preparing to host a new crime show… and the first case will be that of missing student Juliet Sherman. After all these years Martha must reach out to old friends and try to piece together the final moments of Juliet’s life.
But what happens when your perfect friends turn out to be perfect strangers…?
Three young girls forge a friendship at school. Close friends Olivia, Martha and Juliet went pretty much everywhere together. They shared their secrets, understood that their family lives were different and complicated but never let that stand in the way of their friendship.
Then one night Juliet goes missing. Her bicycle is found on the towpath by the canal; a dark and lonely place that at once conjures images of bad things happening. At the same time, a teacher disappears and the police form a theory that because they knew each other and Juliet volunteered with the teacher after school, they may have run off together.
Fast forward 18 years, and Martha is trying to reinvent her career, after losing her role as a TV newsreader. Now she is working with an independent production company on a pilot series looking at cold cases. The first cold case chosen for the pilot is the one that haunts her; what happened to Juliet that night when she left her on the towpath?
Beautiful Liars is a story with many interwoven strands. It is a story of friendship, of shared histories, of lies told for the best and the worst of reasons. Narrated in multiple voices, each voice is clear and distinctive and the narrative is therefore easy to follow. These are easily understandable characters, well fleshed out and authentic.
The story begins with deception and takes off from there, utilising many plot twists and mis-directions until the reader is caught up in the flow, needing to know what happens next and how the story can be resolved. This is a clever and carefully constructed novel delivered with flair and precision which kept me on my toes wondering what might happen next.
You know a book is working for you when you feel sympathy for the characters; and Casey was a woman who you could not help but question whilst simultaneously wishing you could reach out to her.
Isabel Ashdown has created a compelling psychological thriller with more than enough to keep the reader on edge right through to the gripping end.
About Isabel Ashdown
Isabel’s writing career was first launched when she won the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition in 2008, with judges Fay Weldon, Michael Ridpath and the late Sir John Mortimer describing her work as ‘magnificent.’ The completed novel, Glasshopper (Myriad Editions), went on to be named among the Best Books of 2009 by both the Observer and the London Evening Standard. Her latest novel, Little Sister, is out with Trapeze (Orion Publishing) in 2017.
She is the current Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Chichester, where she previously studied as a mature student, gaining a first class BA in English and a masters in Creative Writing with distinction. Her essay on the subject of voice features in Writing a First Novel by Karen Stevens (Palgrave MacMillan 2014).
Isabel grew up on the south coast and now lives in West Sussex with her carpenter husband, their two children and their dogs Charlie and Leonard. Together with Leonard the dachshund, she is a proud volunteer for the Pets as Therapy Read2Dogs scheme, an initiative aimed at nurturing confidence in young readers and promoting a lifelong love of books.
You can follow Isabel on Twitter @IsabelAshdown
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