Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Perfect City Press
Pub Date: 24th October 2020
Review Date: 20th November 2020
Emily’s dreams come true when her mother marries wealthy painter, David. Thanks to him, Emily’s artistic talents shine. Then he starts teaching her things a 14-year-old shouldn’t know. When Emily escapes from David’s luxury mansion, she’s penniless and forced to sleep in a rat-infested alley.
Bad boy Jack has turned his life around. Working as a DJ with ambitions to open a club, he rescues Emily from the streets when he sees a woman in trouble. He doesn’t know she’s still only 15 - and trapped in a dark web of secrets and lies.
David must find Emily and silence her. As he closes in, Jack faces the hardest choice of all. If he saves Emily, he’ll kiss goodbye to his future...
Bright Lies is an intense psychological thriller that left me unable to put the book down. Starting in the present day (December 2019), the story starts with Emily’s first-person account as she drives to visit somebody in prison. This is the first twist – it isn’t who I thought it was!
The narrative then flashes back to March 2014, where fourteen-year-old Emily is like most other girls of her age. All the everyday angst that comes alongside being a teenager but essentially with a future to look forward to. With Emily and her mother living on the breadline, all their dreams come true when Emily’s mother marries the handsome and charismatic David. But Emily soon realises David isn’t the man she believed him to be – and this is when things turn sinister, with both Emily and her mother’s life at risk.
When Emily runs away from home, she is rescued by Jack, who is a couple of years old than her. With his own heart-breaking story to tell, Jack’s perspective is told through a third-person narrator; which although places him as a centre character, this contrasts with Emily’s first-person narrative – identifying Emily as the main protagonist, and Jack as secondary. However, Jack is by far the best character in this story. Although Emily has been through an awful lot, and as a reader I wanted to route for her, she is somewhat selfish. This isn’t a criticism – it’s all part of Emily’s character. If Emily hadn’t been so selfish then she wouldn’t have found herself in the predicament that she was. Jack, however, is utterly selfless; he constantly puts others before himself, and when he meets Emily she is no exception. Unbeknown to either character, the lives of Emily and Jack are also linked through a different strand. This isn’t something that is explicit until the conclusion but adds to a sense of poetic justice when the final punch as to David’s fate is delivered.
Whilst the story deals with the all too familiar sensitive issue of child abuse, and this isn’t something I would ordinarily choose to read about, the author deals with this in a skilful way. There was enough detail to allow hindsight into how Emily would be drawn into the situation that she found herself, but not so much that I was put off reading.
One of the things I really liked about this book is how it is structured around fairly short chapters. I kept thinking one more chapter, then just another one, then I can’t put it down now. Then before I knew it, I’d almost finished the book! Whilst this is a fast-paced narrative, the author still takes the time to paint the scene through vivid imagery where ‘brown fields and bare trees sit under a dull grey sky.’ Dialogue and characterisation are both realistic and gritty. I loved some characters, others were pure evil, and at times I wanted to scream at most of them! But one thing for sure is that I know these characters will stay with me long after finishing the book.
I recommend this book for fans of Cally Taylor, Louise Jensen, and Jo Ullah.
About the Author
A A Abbott - known to friends as Helen – is a British crime thriller writer who believes a good read is one of life's greatest pleasures. She writes fast-paced suspense thrillers set in the British cities of London, Bristol and Birmingham. As a city girl, she’s lived and worked in all of them.
Like 10% of us, many of her family are dyslexic. While A A Abbott isn’t, she wants her books to be enjoyed by readers with dyslexia and visual impairment too. That's why she’s publishes her thrillers in a LARGE PRINT dyslexia-friendly edition as well as the standard paperback and Kindle versions. Don't forget, you can also adjust the font on your Kindle to suit your needs.
A A Abbott likes speaking to book groups, business networks and social circles, and reading her thrillers and short stories at live fiction events and on Zoom. If you're a book blogger, litfest organiser, reviewer or simply adore books, she would love to hear from you.
A A Abbott is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Bristol Fiction Writers' Group, and Birmingham's New Street Authors.
Find out more about the books she loves to read and write, and get a free e-book, at https://aaabbott.co.uk
Thank you to the author for an Advance Review Copy of this book.
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