The Day the Lies Began…
About the Book:
‘It seemed simple at first – folding one lie over the next. She had become expert at feathering over the cracks to ensure her life appeared the same. But inside, it didn’t feel fixed.’
It happened the day of the Moon Festival. It could have been left behind, they all could have moved on with their lives. But secrets have a habit of rising to the surface, especially in small towns.
Two couples, four ironclad friendships, the perfect coastal holiday town. With salt-stung houses perched like lifeguards overlooking the shore, Lago Point is the scene of postcards, not crime scenes. Wife and mother Abbi, town cop Blake, schoolteacher Hannah, and local doctor Will are caught in their own tangled webs of deceit.
When the truth washes in to their beachside community, so do the judgements: victim, or vigilante, who will forgive, who will betray? Not all relationships survive. Nor do all residents.
‘Killers look exactly like their victims.’
Well. If ever there was a cautionary tale that screamed: CALL THE POLICE, then this is it. Domestic noir, that new sub-genre born out of the Gone Girl phenomenon, is a bit of a tricky beast for me. Overall I found this novel, The Day the Lies Began, a compelling read, one of the better ones within this genre for me. Once I got past the first 25% of not knowing at all what was going on, I was pretty much hooked and unable to put it down. But that kind of characterises this genre, doesn’t it? You spend much of the first half of the novel in this zone of not having a clue about what’s happening, the main characters alluding to ‘the event’ without actually mentioning it. I think this is my main problem with this type of crime fiction: it gets old very quick. I don’t enjoy the dangle, trying to work out the unsaid. But fortunately, this doesn’t go on for too long in this novel, so I was able to really settle in for a good story without being too frustrated by the pacing. But seriously, people really can be their own worst enemies. Jumping to conclusions, covering stuff up, heaping lies upon lies. Just call the police. Dial 000. Anything else is just not going to work out for you.
‘She convinced herself that these acts of duplicity weren’t betrayal at all, but instead were well intended, planned measures to protect their family. Impulsive, misguided, perhaps, but ultimately acts of love.’
There’s plenty of twists throughout this story and for the most part, realisation arrived with me at the right time. Kylie definitely doesn’t show her hand too early, but, and perhaps more importantly, nor does she disclose her twists too late, which is often the reason why stories within this genre lack credibility. In essence, this is a very sad story, and it’s also one that is particularly pertinent to our current times. There were however some things about it that made me angry, particularly around the notion of people covering stuff up about the people in their family. I don’t want to spoil any part of the mystery, so I’ll need to be vague, but honestly, if you know someone in your family has an abhorrent interest that is also a crime, but you just sit on it, apologising after the fact when it all goes wrong just doesn’t cut it. I think you’re complicit. The idea that there are people out there who know these things but don’t ever really disclose them disturbs me. I was also bothered by the angle presented that we should be sympathetic to certain types of perpetrators, that they may not ‘choose’ to be the way they are, but rather, it’s an ‘illness’ that compels them to act the way they do. This doesn’t fly with me. Ever. I think maybe you have to be a certain type of person for that level of understanding and I’m definitely not one of them. I kept wondering why everyone was concerned the creep was dead. I guess in this sort of situation, for me, any good a person has ever done is nullified by their depravity. I make no apologies for that view.
‘He thought about their relationship trajectory, more aware now of her flaws. The power had always been with her, from the day he’d arrived at her home as the latest in a production line of troubled kids. She’d shown him the ropes, and held them ever since.’
Now, I’ve often encountered novels where I don’t like the main character but still really like the story. It’s lucky these two don’t go hand in hand for me, because I really disliked both Hannah and Abbi, the two women at the helm of this story. I think that by the end, I was supposed to feel sympathy for Hannah. I didn’t. If anything, she just got on my nerves even more. As to Abbi, she was a first class manipulator and I am never tolerant of characters who ‘can’t adult’. I mean, really? That’s not a thing. Grow up. But, these people do exist, and we all have to suffer them. Just as I think I was supposed to feel sympathy for Hannah, I’m pretty sure I was supposed to feel empathy for Abbi, but again, nope. They were just two very big pains that never eased. Abbi’s motivations for her actions were fundamentally selfish, born out of a need to have someone there for her to make all of life’s decisions and bear all of the responsibility for her actions (remember the no adulting thing?), while Hannah was just a whiny ‘poor me’ selfish cow who kept claiming to have been through a lot but really didn’t go through much at all. I hated both of them and felt really sorry for both Will and Blake for having to put up with them. Abbi also did a lot of really trashy things to Blake that fully crossed the line of brother and sister. This is why I don’t read much of this genre. Honestly, the women are mostly the pits. Both of them realise the error of their ways far too late and the idea that either of them could break the habits of a lifetime was pretty thin on the ground to me. But if anything, hating both of these women kind of increased my enjoyment of the novel, if that makes any sense. It’s like I got a macabre sense of enjoyment out of seeing just what stupid thing each of them would do next!
‘This farce was all on her. From the start, she’d directed this play. She’d cast the roles, and wrote the script. A wave of self-loathing pummelled her, before panic overcame her.’
The Day the Lies Began is a gripping story, with twists and turns that will keep you guessing and plenty of characters to love and hate. It would make for a good television series. Kylie Kaden’s first foray into domestic noir is most definitely a successful one. I highly recommend this to fans of the genre.
Thanks is extended to Pantera Press via NetGalley for providing me with a copy of The Day the Lies Began for review.
About the Author:
Kylie Kaden was raised in Queensland and is the author of two previous novels: Losing Kate and Missing You. She holds an honours degree in Psychology and works as a freelance writer and columnist. Her new book, The Day the Lies Began is a domestic noir-thriller that explores one of her favourite themes: why good people do bad things.
The Day the Lies Began
Published by Pantera Press
Released on 19th August 2019