Saturday 2 August 2014


Book review: Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

My edition: paperback (proof), published on 31 July 2014 by Penguin, 450 pages.

Description: She could hear men and women shouting. Angry hollers crashed through the soft humid salty summer night. It was somehow hurtful for Mrs Ponder to hear, as if all that rage was directed at her . . . then she heard the wail of a siren in the distance, at the same time as a woman still inside the building began to scream and scream . . .

When a harmless quiz night ends with an act of shocking violence, the parents of Pirriwee Public School can't seem to stop their secrets from finally spilling out. Rumours ripple through the small town, as truth and lies blur to muddy the story of what really happened on that fateful night .


A few years ago I read What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, an author I was unfamiliar with at the time but who managed to sweep me away with her immensely gripping and also disturbing writing. So I was super excited when the author's latest novel, Little Lies, unexpectedly arrived in my mailbox. With so many new releases each week I do not always keep on top of what's coming out and I didn't even realise she had already written another book after last year's The Husband's Secret (which I STILL have to read, shame on me), meaning I went into this story completely unspoiled about its contents.

The novel opens smack-down into the action with a police investigation, which is somehow related to the Trivia Night at Pirriwee Public - though whether it involves a child of the school or a parent isn't instantly clear. And just when the first chapter reveals that it is in fact a murder investigation, we travel back in time six months and get to know the characters involved first.

Pirriwee is a fictional town and is set against one of the most beautiful beaches of Australia. The people who live there are a real mixture - from trust fund babies to hippies - making for an eclectic range of schoolyard mothers that make up the majority of the story's cast. Moriarty mainly focuses on newcomer Jane, a single mum whose boy Ziggy joins Pirriwee Public's kindergarten class.

Jane quickly becomes friends with the homely and disorganised Madeline, who has a little girl in kindergarten, and the beautiful and rich Celeste, whose twin-boys are also in the same class. The three women, despite their differences, form a close bond almost overnight. While their daily meet-ups may indicate that the three women share everything, there are some dark secrets that the reader gets a glimpse of which reveal that not all is straightforward as it seems.

And when the reason for the murder investigation is finally revealed towards the end? To paraphrase the characters, "Oh calamity". I should've seen it coming from miles away, but I didn't. As the book initially focuses heavily on Jane and Ziggy trying to fit in Pirrwee's community, a struggle because of an incident that happened on orientation day, the larger picture doesn't become apparent until much further along the line. So although the conclusion was right under my nose the entire time (and it made so much sense), I didn't realise what had actually happened until it was spelled out for me by Moriarty.

When the revelation was near I could literally not stop reading. And trust me, I do not use 'literally' lightly, as I detest the misuse of this word in modern language. But holding my breath when the tension was building up, I flipped the pages as quickly as possible to find out what would happen next. I was on the edge of my seat towards the end; this is compelling storytelling at its very best.

Little Lies is an incredibly well-written and compelling story. With a deliberate slow build-up and an explosive conclusion the novel grips the reader in its intriguing clutches, not letting go until the very last page.

You can purchase a copy of the novel from Waterstones, Amazon or your own preferred retailer.

Would you like to know more about the author? Connect with her online at:



Many thanks to RealReaders for providing an copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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