Monday, January 5, 2015

ARC Review: There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

Title: There Will Be Lies
Author: Nick Lake
Published: January 6, 2014 by Bloomsbury

Synopsis: In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car.

Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon.

All Shelby knows is that they're running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past-and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what's real, what isn't, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.

Award-winning author Nick Lake proves his skills as a master storyteller in this heart-pounding new novel. This emotionally charged thrill ride leads to a shocking ending that will have readers flipping back to the beginning.

**** I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley (thanks Bloomsbury) in return for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion on the book****

There Will Be Lies was one of the most unique books I have read in a long time. And while I like unique and different, in this case it often came off as odd and a lot of it didn't work for me. But it did have interesting and likable characters and beautiful writing but the plot and pacing were not my thing.

One of the unique things that did work for me were the characters. Most of them were quirky, in a good way. When the book began I wasn't really enjoying the weirdness of the voice of the main character and narrator, Shelby. But as the book (and she) developed I was able to connect and empathize with her. She is smart, sassy, resourceful, and the kind of plucky that I love in my heroines. But she was also far from perfect, and often made decisions I didn't always agree with, but that was what made her all the more likable. I also liked a lot of the secondary characters including Shelby's mother who had a really dubious nature. The characters were one of the most enjoyable and interesting part of There Will Be Lies.

But the most unique thing about this book, and the thing that didn't work for me was the plot. I don't like surprises in real life, but when it comes to reading I love a good plot twist. If a book manages to surprise and shock me, then good work! Especially when it comes to mysteries. But when it came to the twists in There Will Be Lies, I was neither surprised nor pleased. On the whole it just wasn't what I expected. If I knew what I was getting into, I think I would have liked the book a little more. I was expecting more of a mystery but what I got was half thriller, half magical realism. That was the biggest lie in this book, and it felt like too big a part of it not to mention it in the synopsis. Or maybe that was because I liked the thriller side of things better. When they started increasing the intrigue and thriller elements of the story, that's when I was invested in the story and enjoying the plot development. Sure, most of the twists were less than surprising but it was still engaging and interesting. Whereas with the magical portion, the twists were completely predictable and all the moments felt odd and weird, and not in a good way.

And those multiple worlds and "perspectives" made the pacing of the book just as problematic as the plot. From time to time it would jump between the real world and the magical world of the book. Throughout most of the book this whole thing didn't make a lot of sense. It made me confused, and not in the way that I enjoy. In the end it tied everything together, however during the bulk of the book it was frustrating. There would be huge sections where it would linger in one of the worlds and leave you with a cliffhanger in the other, which added to the frustration. But what it mostly did was drag the story down making it feel longer than it needed to be. The pacing of the book was just another thing about the book that was weird in a way I didn't enjoy.

But what made the book so redeeming in the end was Nick Lake's prose and writing style. Sure, I didn't love the plot which is part of the writing but the way he described things was amazing. In particular, the book's setting and the world-building was great. I felt like I could perfectly imagine both the real and magical Arizona that Lake created. His writing was so visual and beautiful. It made the book with a less than enjoyable plot not so bad.

On the whole this book just wasn't my thing. It had some good things that I did like including quirky and likable characters, interesting thriller elements, and gorgeous writing but the plot and pacing made the book feel odd and it didn't quite work for me.

 I give There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake a 7 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow/Bypass. I didn't love this book, but I didn't hate it either. If you, like me, are a fan of thrillers then I would not really suggest this one. However, fans of magical realism should check it. I think if I knew what I was getting into, I may have enjoyed the book a little bit more.

 Have you read There Will Be Lies? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I hate when books try to be too weird. You can definitely tell when an author is trying too hard and it sounds like that might be what happened here. Maybe... It sucks that you didn't love it, but at least it wasn't a total loss! I doubt I'll read it, anyway. Thanks for the great review and for letting me know to steer clear!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    1. Thanks Tracy! For me I think it was less about that it was trying to be weird and more about that it was trying to be mysterious. I could have handled the weirdness if I wasn't expecting a more traditional mystery.

  2. I had my eyes on this and decided against requesting it. It sounds like I may or may not like it. I might pick it up at the library when it comes out. Great and informative review!

    1. I'm glad I can help. I don't want to turn people off from reading it because it is good, I just want people to know it's not the Mystery/Thriller it may appear to be.