What if your whole life was based on lies?
Joe Lynch has it all. Or so he thinks. He has been happily married to Mel for nearly ten years and has a four-year-old son William. TM Logan’s intriguing debut novel begins with Joe spotting his wife entering the car park of a hotel when she should be at work. He decides to follow her and finds her engaged in an animated conversation with Ben, the husband of a friend. The encounter that follows, and its aftermath, change his life forever.
When I first read the blurb for Lies, I must admit that I expected it to be a run-of-the-mill story about the discovery of a cheating partner. Lies goes so far beyond that. At first, the book cleverly plays with this kind of expectation but it then twists these expectations and you have no idea where it is going. And this took me pleasantly by surprise.
Lies is narrated in the first person by Joe, who is a stereotypical ‘nice guy.’ He’s a part-time English teacher that treasures the time he spends with his son and adores his wife. From the first indication that Mel might be deceiving him, he gives her the benefit of the doubt, refusing to believe that she could hide anything from him. His inherently kind nature is frustrating at times as his naivety is often over the top, but it is also his most endearing quality and he, and therefore the reader, doesn’t know what to believe. He slowly becomes distrustful of everyone around him and his confusion becomes palpable.
Joe spends much of the book wondering why his life would be like if he had made different decisions. He begins the book by saying:
“I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t seen her car that day.
If the light had been green instead of red.
If my son had been dozing, or daydreaming, or looking the other way….
If, if, if.”
Throughout the book, it is often the small, seemingly inconsequential decisions that become the most significant and that lead him to various revelations, showing us how our everyday actions can have significant consequences. The book is written for a tech and media-savvy audience that is accustomed to living their lives online through social media and it serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of this reliance on technology and the very real impact it can have on our personal and professional lives. Joe is surprised by the attention given to content that is posted on his social media by somebody else and how it inherently shapes how the people around him view and treat him. And this is why it’s so easy for us to relate to him. His realisation that everybody believes what is posted on his Facebook page illustrates the dangers of the trust we put in what we see online. The book also demonstrates the very real threat tech-savvy people might pose to those who are not so knowledgeable and how easy it can be for others to “frape” us or use Photoshop to portray us in an uncomplimentary way.
Lies obviously become a major theme throughout the book as Joe tries to uncover the truth about his wife’s behaviour. He encounters the little white lies we all use everyday, the bigger lies that affect how we see each other, and life-changing lies that shatter all of our perceptions. It also comments on the lies we post on social media and the problems of trusting anything we see. In an era of “fake news”, the book is indeed very timely and serves as a reminder not to trust everything we read or see online, even if it concerns people we know. As a result, the book also comments on our ideas of friendship, trust, and love.
The book is very fast paced, fitting perfectly into the category of domestic psychological thriller that’s so popular at the moment and is a fantastic debut novel. It was refreshing to read a domestic psychological thriller told solely from the perspective of the male partner. Such narratives are most often focalised through female characters with male characters demonised, abusive, and negligent. Here, it is a male character that is suspicious of his wife and whom we empathise with.
Lies is a cracking read that never slows down. Logan recently posted that he is working on his second book and I look forward to it already.
About the author
TM Logan was born in Berkshire to an English father and a German mother. He studied at Queen Mary and Cardiff universities before becoming a national newspaper journalist. He currently works in communications and lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children. LIES is his first novel – published on January 17th 2017 (ebook) and May 4th 2017 (paperback). Follow him on Twitter @TMLoganAuthor