‘The Lie She Told’ by Catherine Yaffe: Encouraging debut from a clearly talented writer takes us to the misty, murky motivations in the world of Scotland’s West Coast.
You can read an exclusive extract of the novel here:
All Kate wanted was a peaceful life.
All Ryan wanted to do was destroy it.
Living in the remote Scottish Highlands under Witness Protection, life is finally happy for Kate Ward and her young son Joe, until someone from Kate’s past appears. Ryan Albright is the only person that knows all of Kate’s secrets, and what she had to do to escape her previous abusive relationship. Ryan is determined to complete the mission set for him by Kate’s ex-husband. Systematically and violently, he pulls Kate’s new world apart with devasting consequences for everyone around him, including Kate who must face up to the lie she told.
There’s been quite the West Coast Scottish crime theme developing on this blog over the last few weeks. Recently we had Alex Coombs and his Argyll-based Private Investigator Hanlon taking on drug lords and layabouts and this week we have a murky crime drama set a touch further north in Gairloch.
Catherine Yaffe’s debut The Lie She Told is a very different type of novel to Coombs’ offering, however. Instead of a teak hard heroine able to take blows to the face and bounce back to care for her dog, here we have Kate, a mother of a young son, relocated as part of the witness protection scheme to the village of Gairloch.
As a resident of the Highlands, I can tell you: this sort of thing does happen. What this novel, perhaps, does not really capture, is that most of the Highland communities know about it before the people even arrive, but that might have spoilt the broiling tension somewhat.
Instead, we have Kate meeting up – coincidentally – with Ryan: a local no-gooder who Kate knew well in her days in Leeds and who was, in fact, best friends with her abusive ex-husband.
Tensions rise for the reader as the dastardly, manipulative Ryan ensnares the too-trusting Kate in a web of deceit.
However, few people in this novel are quite what they seem and motivations are as grey and murky as an autumn day in Gairloch.
This is a psychological thriller which manages the powerful balance of nipping along at pace but also lingering in the reader’s minds. There’s little wham bam here – action often occurs off screen (as it were) – and wounds physical and emotional, fester and turn sour.
It is a very competent debut by Catherine Yaffe. It is true that some of the dialogue can be occasionally laboured but this is a small niggle in such a psychologically complicated novel which doesn’t shy away from the pain that violence and it’s consequences causes.
I look forward to watching Yaffe’s career with interest with interest.
Author Bio –
Catherine Yaffe is a former freelance journalist, magazine editor and digital marketing agency owner. Catherine has previously written non-fiction books on Digital Marketing before following her passion for writing crime novels full time.
‘The Lie She Told’ is the first in a series of books that challenge the status quo of relationships and makes the reader question how well you know those around you.
Catherine lives in West Yorkshire with her husband Mark and their 2 cats Jenson & Button (she’s also a F1 fan!)
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