Review: Barbara Copperthwaite – The Darkest Lies

I read a very early draft of The Darkest Lies and it’s always interesting to see what an author does with a manuscript in the revision process. What I remember from reading the earlier draft was the excellent sense of place and the grip of the narrative as the predator in the shadows became apparent. The finished book, published last week by Bookouture, more than realises its potential and it was a gripping read second time around.

Teenager Beth Oak goes missing in a Lincolnshire marshland village, devastating her mother Melanie. When Beth is found unconscious, battered and on the brink of death, Melanie undertakes her own investigations. Villagers, however, aren’t keen to talk and Melanie’s attempt to uncover buried secrets bring her own life into danger.

The Darkest Lies is a creepy read that suitably mirrors the landscape in which it is set. Melanie is in the midst of a nightmare with a dying daughter and surrounded by neighbours that she no longer trusts. She’s forced to consider the actions of Beth and circumstances which encouraged her daughter to keep secrets hidden. The split narrative works particularly well here as we discover from Beth’s viewpoint how  easy it is to become unwittingly sucked into danger. The Darkest Lies is a taut psychological thriller which keeps the reader genuinely guessing until the end.