Fiction – Kindle edition; Mulholland Books; 305 pages; 2016.
Sabine Durrant’s suspense novel Lie With Me fits perfectly into the “holidays from hell” genre. It also fits rather nicely into the “amoral narrator” category. But, more importantly, it’s completely and utterly at home in the “books you don’t want to put down” bracket.
Narrated by 42-year-old Paul Morris, it charts the struggling author’s dastardly plan to develop a sexual relationship with a woman he doesn’t particularly like so that he can move in with her and keep a roof over his head.
Paul uses every trick in the book to inveigle his way into Alice’s life, a hugely successful human rights lawyer, who is widowed with two teenage children, and before he knows it he’s invited himself on the family’s annual holiday to Greece.
But this isn’t the romantic interlude he expects, because Alice has invited along a married couple and their children, which adds a level of complication to the trip for Paul went to university with the husband and the pair have a shared (read troubled) history.
To make matters worse, Paul has told a bundle of lies to cover up the fact he currently has no income, has been dropped by his agent and is living back home with his mother. Keeping up this pretence is a monumental exercise that requires Paul to always be on the ball, lest he say something that will reveal the truth about his situation.
Tension-filled page turner
The book ratchets up the tension by showing how Paul’s deviancy is very close to being exposed. The will-he-be-found-out, won’t-he-be-found out suspense is what makes this novel a real page turner.
And it helps that even though Paul is narcissistic and manipulative and downright dastardly (with a terrible eye for the ladies, it has to be said), you want to cheer him on, to get one over on the horrible middle-class people he’s hooked up with. His bare-faced lies are so shameless as to be admirable, and some of his activities are laugh-out-loud funny because they’re just so brazen. As a reader you simply keep waiting for him to get caught out.
Of course, Lie With Me has a twist at the end (which, frankly, I didn’t see coming), one that turns everything on its head. This is a super-enjoyable farce that gripped me from the first page to the last — it’s the perfect summer read if you’re looking for something that will keep you turning the pages without taxing your brain too much. Just put your mind in neutral and go with the flow.
This is my 6th book for #20booksofsummer. According to my Amazon order history, I purchased it on 21 January 2017 for £1.95. I’m not sure what prompted me to buy it, but I’m really glad I did. This is the most fun I’ve had reading a suspense novel in quite some time.