Cat Kinsella was eight when 17-year-old Maryanne Doyle went missing in 1998. Cat had been in the car when her father picked up a hitchhiking Maryanne only days before the teen's disappearance, but when the police came around asking questions, Cat's dad denied knowing Maryanne at all. Cat knew he was lying but told no one.
Eighteen years later, Cat is a detective constable with London's Metropolitan Police. She catches a case involving a woman murdered and dumped not far from the pub above which Cat used to live--the bar Cat's father still manages. As she digs into the dead woman's past, she makes startling discoveries that force her finally to confront her father about their own past and secrets, even if it means severing family ties forever and destroying her career.
Caz Frear's Sweet Little Lies is an assured debut, a solid police procedural with a cast of coppers who already seem familiar. Cat's boss, DCI Kate Steele, is sharp, fair, strong but not bitchy and wears flowery dresses that make her look like a child--in other words, far from a cliché. All the characters--minor or lead, living or dead--are well crafted. Frear also makes an impression with her vivid dialogue and prose, for example, describing a chill as one "that could bring a tear to a glass eye" and having someone observe that "[s]ecrets are just gossip you haven't been drunk enough to spill yet." It's no secret that Lies is an engrossing read. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd