Written by Shauna Bickley — Tom Trethowan is content to lead a quiet life in a sleepy Cornish village. But his peace is shattered when the police arrive at his cottage door. Tom’s wayward brother, Liam, is missing. He was last seen aboard Tom’s boat, the Kalina – and the Kslina has now been found adrift and empty, with Liam’s clothes and wallet on board. There’s also a cryptic note to Tom: “I’m so sorry about everything. Liam.”
Thus begins a nightmare which sees Tom and his sister Andi desperately trying to discover what drove their brother to suicide – because Liam was a man who didn’t appear to have a care in the world. Or did he? First, Tom and Andi meet the enigmatic Janine, who appears on Liam’s doorstep – and just as abruptly disappears again… along with a handful of important-looking paperwork which seemed to relate to Liam’s job in the world of high finance. Then there’s the small matter of somebody not-to-discreetly following Andi and her twin daughters. And when a gang of heavies threaten the siblings, they began to realise that the Liam they thought they knew was actually leading a dangerous double life.
The action sweeps from the fictional Cornish village of Poldrayth, to Bristol and London and over to France and Switzerland as Tom tries to piece together the facts of Liam’s life – and apparent death. Meanwhile, Andi is trying to salvage something from the tatters of her marriage, while coping with twin teenage girls – one of whom appears to be going off the rails.
Lies of the Dead is the third novel self-published by British born, New Zealand-based author Shauna Bickley, who also writes technical manuals and training materials, and in the past has worked as a trainer on a wide range of subjects. She has an easy style which makes for a smooth and uncomplicated reading experience. This thriller teeters on the side of cosy, with beautiful backdrops, slightly clichéed characters and a plot that held little in the way of surprises. I was also somewhat confused to see francs and deutsch marks mentioned in a book that is obviously set well after both had gone out of commission.
CFL Rating: 3 Stars