Monday, August 9, 2021

Where the Truth Lies - Anna Bailey

Anna Bailey's debut novel Where the Truth Lies has just released.

From Atria Books: "When seventeen-year-old Abigail goes missing, her best friend Emma, compelled by the guilt of leaving her alone at a party in the woods, sets out to discover the truth about what happened. The police initially believe Abi ran away, but Emma doesn’t believe that her friend would leave without her, and when officers find disturbing evidence in the nearby woods, the festering secrets and longstanding resentment of both Abigail’s family and the people of Whistling Ridge, Colorado begin to surface with devastating consequences."

Where the Truth Lies is a simmering cesspool of a tale. Bailey gives us multiple points of view through a number of characters. Within those points of view, the time frame moves from past to present, allowing the reader access to the background of the players as well as the how and why of what's happening now. While the mystery of Abigail's disappearance or murder is always there, it isn't the driving force of the plot. Instead it serves as a catalyst for an inevitable final reckoning amongst townsfolk and within families.

 I found I had to pick up and put down the book numerous times. I can only take so much ugliness, cruelty, bigotry, abuse of power, brutality and intolerance in one sitting. Gentle readers, this is most def not a book for you.

There are 'good' characters and others that are downright despicable. Those who still have goodness in them struggle mightily to exist in this town. I shouted out loud more than once for them to run, leave, get away and leave this godforsaken place behind.

My visceral reaction to Bailey's novel speaks to the strength of her prose, character development and descriptions of time and place. That being said, I did find overall that while well written, it was also overwrought in terms of the depravity in this town and it's inhabitants.

Bailey was born in England and raised in England but moved to Colorado after university. In 2018, she returned to the UK Where the Truth Lies, Tall Bones, inspired by her time in the US. Which is a little scary.... 

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