Source: Review copy
Publication: 14 November 2019 from Headline
One year after Erica Spencer trips and falls down a flight of stairs at a lavish Halloween party, the residents of the exclusive gated community where she lived have comes to terms with her death and moved on with their lives.
Until one day, a post on the school’s website announces there will be a podcast to expose what really happened on the night of the accident. Six suspects are named, with the podcaster promising to reveal the murderer by the end of the series.
Everyone in this community has secrets to keep, and one of them is already a killer…
Jenny Blackhurst’s book is set in the gated community of Severn Oaks in Cheshire where the secluded residents live a life that is indeed very reminiscent of those in Desperate Housewives. There’s even an unnamed narrator who tells through the medium of a serial podcast, what really happened to Erica Spencer. Erica fell from a treehouse to her death at a neighbour’s drinks party and the police found no suspicious circumstances, but now, a year after her death, someone is casting doubt on what really happened and that someone seems very well informed.
Six neighbours are named as potential suspects in what the podcaster claims is a murder. Each of them has more than one secret they do not wish anyone to reveal, but is one of them a killer?
Jenny Blackhurst’s characterisation is spot on here. There is the perfect ‘magazine’ family. Keeping up as many appearances as possible, desperately trying to get onto the Cheshire Housewives TV programme, while proclaiming loudly that they have turned it down twice and trading off a lifestyle that is as fake as their showhouse. The neighbours all tell themselves what a friendly close knit community they are, safe behind their gates, while they gossip and bitch at community picnics, all the while keeping their secrets close.
Blackhurst’s use of the podcast mechanism feels relevant here and it serves well in ramping up the tension as well as drip feeding clues into what happened and why.
Someone is Lying is pacy and full of accomplished twists and turns as we navigate the twisted path of lies that is the hallmark of this community. These are recognisable, if not necessarily likeable, people.
Verdict: A good read full of dark secrets and convenient lies, tension and duplicity. Someone is Lying is a dark and twisty psychological thriller that kept me entertained.
Jenny Blackhurst grew up in Shropshire where she still lives with her husband and children. Growing up she spent hours reading and talking about crime novels – writing her own seemed like natural progression. Inspired by the emotions she felt around her own son’s birth, she wrote How I Lost You. Since then she has published The Foster Child and The Night She Died, making Someone is Lying her fourth novel.