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Chris High reviews Laura Wilson


Laura Wilson
ISBN: 0-75286-926-4
February, 2006

Front cover of the book by Laura Wilson - A Thousand Lies


Truth will out, as they say and Laura Wilson with her sixth novel, A Thousand Lies, is extremely cunning with her plot in this tale of deceit and counter-deceit, with a lone journalist, Amy Vaughan, caught up in the middle, in the way the truths of the story manifest themselves


In 1987 Sheila Shand was given a suspended sentence for murder. At her trial, it emerged that she and her mother and sister had been forced to shield brutal and sadistic father, Leslie Shand, while he subjected them to a reign of terror, daily beatings and sexual abuse. Years later Amy discovers letters and a newspaper cutting about the Shand case while clearing out her late mother's flat. Concluding that she must be related to the Shands, she decides to visit Sheila's mother who is in a care home. Amy is curious about the elderly Iris Shand who pores over an album of family photos, for Amy knows that photographs tell lies. As she pursues her investigation of the Shand case, Amy realises that there is more to the murder of Leslie than the police ever unearthed, including two long-buried skeletons in woods near the family's home and a dark secret that explains the nature of her own far from idyllic upbringing.

A Thousand Lies is an intriguing novel that demonstrates a great deal about domestic abuse, without ever over-playing its hand. The descriptions and pace are constant, while the characters are drawn so that they create empathy and disgust in equal measure. The problem is that Amy - as the central figure - does not really drive the story along, but instead reacts to problems that surround her in a confused and panic "rabbit-in-the-headlights way that is a little disconcerting for a woman in her position. If this was the intention, it is done well, but somehow this doubtful. A woman in such a responsible job where she meets with possible danger on a daily basis must possess a certain drive and determination and not just act out of mere curiosity, surely?

This said though, A Thousand Lies is still more often engaging than not and, as the back-story unfolds, reveals a satisfying and somewhat unexpected finale to rival anything out there at the moment.

From this novel, it is clear to see why Laura Wilson has become so acclaimed, as her style is eminently readable and her ability to tell a tale is clearly demonstrated throughout.

Order this book online - Linghams Booksellers



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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