Source: Review Copy
Publication: 27 June 2019 from Orion
Miriam Jackson is a famous radio presenter. Married to a successful film director, she has created the perfect life for herself.
Then her daughter goes missing.
Miriam is desperate to find her before her husband finds out and her perfect life crumbles around her. So she calls the only person who can help: Private Investigator Madison Attallee, who has just solved the biggest case of her career.
Can Madison find Miriam’s daughter? And will Miriam share the truth about her past?
I loved I, Witness, the first book in the Madison Attalee, Private Eye series. The Lies We tell can be read perfectly well as a stand- alone though, without having read the first book. Madison Attalee is an ex-cop turned Private Investigator. The firm is doing well after their first case garnered positive publicity and that’s an impetus that Madison is trying to hold on to.
Divorced with a teenage daughter, Molly, Madison is in a fairly new relationship with Peter, a detective whom she first met when both were cops. A recovering alcoholic, Madison is also trying to give up smoking, a combination which isn’t adding to her sense of humour.
Miriam Jackson is a radio presenter. Married to Nick, a director of Hollywood Rom-coms, they are parents to Tabitha, a bright 16 year old. Nick is often in L.A. making his movies, but the couple have a good relationship and Miriam is content with her life.
Then Tabitha goes missing and Miriam can’t get the police to treat her disappearance seriously. Unbeknownst to her mother, Tabitha hasn’t been to school for several days and when she checks, many of her clothes are missing. The police think she has run away and will come back. Miriam is distraught and consumed with guilt, because she was with someone she shouldn’t have been when Tabitha failed to come home from a stay with a girlfriend. She’s hoping that Tabitha will be home before she has to tell Nick that their daughter was ever missing. Peter is the detective she sees and he refers her to Madison.
Maddie’s race to find Tabitha becomes intensified when she realises what is underneath this seemingly ordinary teenage behaviour.Told in the characters’ various voices, The Lies We Tell is a strong and uncompromising story which lays bare the horrible world of child exploitation.
Pacy and propulsive, Niki McKay keeps readers guessing as Madison and her team, Emma and Claudia, seek out the information leading to Tabitha’s disappearance.
Running through this contemporary narration is the story of Ruby Williams, dating back to 1994, who died in her brother’s arms.
Moving easily through a dual timeline, McKay cleverly weaves a tale of tragic circumstances where poverty and vulnerability combine with addiction to create difficult family situations where abuse prevails from generation to generation. Combined with a dark story highlighting that there are always those who will seek to take advantage of those at their lowest ebb and exploit them for financial gain, she has written a compelling story that shows that irrespective of class, scum will always rise to the surface.
What grasped me though, was the fact that this kind of exploitation surrounds us. It can happen to anyone and there are always going to be predators who look for an opportunity to take advantage of any vulnerability. You may never know who the predator is and where their prey will come from.
Verdict: The Lies We Tell is disturbing, chilling and well plotted fiction. I don’t think this is going to be the case that allows Madison to give up the fags…
Niki studied Performing Arts at the BRIT School. It turned out that she wasn’t very good at acting but quite liked writing scripts. She went on to take a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Drama and later won a full scholarship for an MA in Journalism.Niki loves words in many varied forms, and reads widely, but her first love is crime-fiction. She is interested in people and what makes them tick: class, prejudice, and feminism.
You can follow Niki on Twitter: @NikiMackayBooks