The protagonist of this thriller, Chloe Daniels, has been in a horrible car accident on a rainy Sussex night. She has a traumatic head wound as well as broken ribs, a lacerated leg, and other smaller injuries. But most importantly, Chloe has amnesia. She cannot remember anything prior to the accident. When she is released from hospital after a month long coma, she goes ‘home’ to the house where she grew up. She cannot remember either the house or the people in it. Though she knows they must be her family because there are photos of her childhood, of her with ‘them’ in years past.
Chloe’s father is an esteemed psychiatrist who aims to make his daughter well again. He gives her medication, he hypnotizes her. Her mother seems cowed when in her father’s presence. Her younger sister, Jess, tells Chloe that they were once close and shared everything. It seems obvious to the reader that Chloe’s father is a domineering, controlling, and manipulative man.
“It’s hard to trust people when you’re not even sure you know them.”
As the weeks pass, Chloe feels trapped. They don’t let her out of the house and when she does get out she finds that the gate is locked and she doesn’t know the code to open it.
Gradually, Chloe’s memories begin to return… Yet they do not seem to mesh with what her family say happened that fateful night. Those memories are malformed though. She can’t seem to recall any details. Her head wound pains her constantly. She wears a woolly hat around the house to hide the wound, but sometimes it feels as though the hat is holding her brains in…
“There is something about my life before the accident that they don’t want to tell me.”
Then, the reader is made privy to another narrative. The narrative of a man who seems unnaturally obsessed with Chloe. Who loves her, yet seems to have a love/hate relationship with her.
“Love and hate. Love. Hate. Now on my own, waiting for you to come back, I wonder if I’ve ever known which emotion I felt more strongly when it came to you.”
Chloe meanwhile, seems increasingly desperate to escape her family’s home and discover the truth. Yet, she is completely alone, with no resources to call upon.
“What a way to spend a life, a catalogue of broken promises, dashed every time by the one person who was supposed to love you the most.”
“Between the lies” is a perfect title for this novel in that the entire time reading it the reader attempts to find the truth between the lies. The whole narrative is one lie heaped upon another.
This is a story of two dysfunctional families. About how dysfunction breeds dysfunction. A story of a weak woman who paid the ultimate price for her weakness.
The writing was compelling. The setting well described – though if the author is to be relied upon it rains ALL the time in Sussex. I was beginning to feel mildewed.
There were a few plot twists, but nothing shocking. I anticipated them before they were divulged. The resolution of the novel seemed a long time coming, yet when it did come everything was made clear. The clarity came bit by bit, like peeling an onion, layer after layer.
All in all, an absorbing thriller, though not as original as I hoped for. The whole amnesia trope is one that has been done time and again. Perhaps I am a tad jaded because I read so many thrillers.
I think that most lovers of the suspense/thriller genre will enjoy the read.
Though I rated this at 3.5 stars, I will be rounding UP for Goodreads, NetGalley and Amazon.I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
Michelle Adams was born in 1981, the youngest of five and the only girl. As a result, she was a bit of a tomboy.
She went to school in Warwick, England and she loved art, music, and English, yet somehow managed to end up studying clinical science at university. Despite her graduation and subsequent employment as a physiologist in cardiology, her creative tendencies were never far away.
Michelle Adams is the author of two successful psychological thrillers, “My Sister” and “Between the Lies“.
Now she writes almost every day, and when she’s not writing she loves to read. She is crazy about her cat, and feels fortunate that the other people in her house tolerate him. She loves travelling and running and is currently training for the London marathon.