From the very page, A J Park’s The First Lie captures our attention. It’s highly readable, fast-paced, with an interesting premise: how far would you go to protect the people and things most important to you?

When barrister Paul Reeve comes home after a particularly gruelling day, he finds a dead body draped over his bath and Alice, his wife, covered in blood, looking like ‘Lady Macbeth after Duncan’s murder’. She’s experienced every woman’s worst nightmare: finding a strange man in her bedroom with nefarious intent. Alice kills him, arguably in self-defence. What follows is the story of how they deal with the killing. Paul is on track to become the youngest UK next Circuit Judge so a scandal of any kind would be potentially ruinous, and Alice is fragile, but in their bid to cover up what happened, the lies just pile up, with devastating consequences.

What makes this book interesting is that it looks at the toll that deceit takes on those involved. Alice behaves, in many ways, like Lady Macbeth and Paul, who’s been on the right side of the law for pretty much all his life and has upheld it to the degree that he’s now at the point where he can make UK legal history by his judicial appointment, now finds himself having to do things he never could have dreamed of to protect not just himself, but more importantly Alice. Neither Paul nor Alice are particularly likeable or empathetic that said, but that’s the case with leading characters in many crime-fiction novels.

A well-written psychological thriller, The First Lie has enough plot threads to make it an easy and enjoyable read.



The First Lie | AJ Park | Orion | paperback | £8.99 | 25 June 2020 |

ebook and audio also available

Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the Orion virtual book tour. Many thanks to Alex Layt, Senior Press Officer, for the invitation and to the publisher for supplying a review copy. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other reviews on this tour.

See also:Chris Whitaker’s small-town America’; ‘Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; Carver’s Nothing Important Happened Today’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

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