You might know Liane Moriarty from her previously successful novels What Alice Forgot and The Husband's Secret (reviewed HERE) and her latest, Little Lies (or Big Little Lies, depending, confusingly on what part of the world you're in) has just been released and is already getting rave reviews. Even though I enjoyed but didn't love The Husband's Secret, I do Like Moriarty's style of writing so was delighted to get the chance to read a preview copy of this via NetGalley.
While I may have been slightly ambivalent about The Husband's Secret I actually think she's really come into her own as a writer here and this is one you're definitely going to want to read.
Set in a small Australian coastal town, focusing on the lives of three women whose children all attend the same preschool, we're told from the offset that by the end of the book someone will be dead- we just don't know who. And that's really the genius here; I spent the entire novel trying to figure out which one it would be, it literally could've been anyone so there was a constant feeling of suspense. The three women themselves are all completely different but all of their characters are so well developed that you really feel you get to know them.
There's Jane, a single mum who appears outwardly damaged in some way and her little boy Ziggy, they've just moved to the town. Madeline is glamour personified, has a little girl with her new husband and has the whole town sussed- she has a loud mouth and is the life and soul but is harbouring a secret resentment towards her ex-husband for winning over their teenage daughter when he moves into her small queendom with his new hippy-dippy wife.
Lastly, there's Celeste, a stunningly beautiful mum to adorable twin boys with an incredibly wealthy husband but at times comes across as being vague and not quite with it.
They form a strange but strong friendship and to start with all is going well until little Ziggy is accused of quite violently bullying a little girl on the first day of pre-school. He swears blind it wasn't him but from there both his and Jane's names are tainted, unless she, Madeline and Celeste can get to the bottom of what's going on.
While it all sounds a bit suburban, there's a constant undercurrent of something being very "off" with all of the characters; they all have their secrets which gradually begin to surface no matter how hard they try to present the "perfect mother" image and let's not forget that we're also trying to solve a murder in reverse here too, which I found to be a fairly intriguing plot device. There's additional post-murder commentary from witnesses scattered throughout the book too which really added to the story. The point is definitely made that the "little secrets" we tell each other are the same ones we tell ourselves, just to keep everything together.
I have a feeling this is going to be a best seller so I'd hop on it if you like your murder mystery/thrillers a bit smarter but without the guts and gore.