Legend Press | 2017 (2 May) | 382p | Review copy | Buy the book
DI Will Jackman is on secondment from his beloved Stratford-upon-Avon to Leicester where he’s working on a project to assess procedure on old unsolved sexual crimes. He’s also supposed to be getting over an injury, confined to a desk for his own good. But when a young girl is murdered in a case that mirrors the crimes he’s studying, Jackman leaps at the chance to take over as senior investigating officer. The victim is student Jo Lambert and her murder attracts a great deal of attention from the media and public as Jackman and his team meticulously work through the clues to identify her killer.
But Jo was more than a victim. She was also the daughter of Grace Daniels, stepdaughter of Phil, and sister of teenager Lydia. And Grace is transformed completely by the loss of her daughter and the relentless agony and isolation of her grief. It leaves her totally vulnerable. So while the police investigation goes in one direction, Grace’s story takes her into the unknown and it can only get worse. Much worse.
The Lies Within is the third novel in Jane Isaac’s series to feature DI Will Jackman. There are reminders of previous novels, especially regarding Jackman’s relationships, but this is a novel that stands alone very well indeed. The fact that it takes place in Leicester, in unknown territory, also makes it stand apart from the others.
I like Will Jackman a great deal. He’s quiet and kind and, despite some serious heartache in his life, he doesn’t carry its burden into the job. The Lies Within continues Jackman’s story but it certainly doesn’t get in the way of the novel’s main focus, which is the investigation of Jo’s murder and, in parallel, Grace’s personal descent into darkness.
The Lies Within is a marvellous novel, most definitely my favourite of the series so far. It took no time at all for me to become completely involved in the investigation and in Grace’s story. As the narrative alternates between Jackman and Grace, both such fascinating and well-developed characters, I became so hooked I did not want to put it down for a moment. The final third of the novel in particular is absolutely fantastic and incredibly tense. This is extraordinarily powerful storytelling, supported by some intense descriptions of something I’m not going to tell you about. I had to know what happened. I can’t remember the last time I was so utterly immersed in the denouement of a novel that I forgot where I was as I read it. Blimey, that ending! I suspected little bits but it’s the way in which it’s told – fabulous!
I’ve enjoyed this series since the first but with The Lies Within it joins the few crime series that will always push their way to the top of my reading pile.