Domestic suspense was once the sole domain of female writers – which is sadly also why it was often sneered at by so-called “serious readers” of crime fiction; but more and more, male authors are exploring what their version of domestic suspense looks like. Take for example T. M. Logan’s Lies. One has to suspect that the use of initials to obfuscate this book’s male authorship was a marketing decision not unlike similar choices made in regards to the works of J.K. Rowling and countless others, but rest assured Lies is pure domestic suspense and a damn good version of it at that.
Lies is T. M. Logan’s debut and the start of what is sure to be a long career keeping readers turning pages late into the night. Lies is the story of Joe Lynch, an average guy with a seemingly perfect life. He has a happy marriage, a wonderful son, and a fulfilling job making the world a better place, student by student. But in one moment – when his young son spots his mother’s car somewhere it shouldn’t be – everything comes crashing down around Joe. Investigating why his wife is at a hotel with another man, he overhears his wife in an argument and struggles to understand what is going on. His confrontation with this man in the underground parking lot of this London hotel goes less that swimmingly. Punches are thrown and the other man ends up on the ground – where Joe leaves him. But when that man never makes it home, suspicion falls on Joe. As the last person to see this man before his disappearance, the detectives want answers. Answers that Joe doesn’t have.
As the police begin to circle, Joe implores his wife to be honest with him. Unfortunately, the more she tells Joe, the less he can trust her. Their whole life has been built on a foundation of untruths. The book covers about a week in time as Joe’s life is systematically destroyed by the lies his wife has told and the manipulations this “missing” man seems hellbent on unleashing. Readers will feel real anxiety as they watch each mistake Joe makes, allowing his life to be destroyed from within.
T. M. Logan masterfully weaves modern social media and cell phone use into this novel. The vulnerabilities of those tools will have each reader checking to make sure the correct permissions and applications are present on their own devices. Most of this plays out as perfectly believable, albeit, thankfully uncommon. While the typesetting of these technological elements within the printed product can be clunky at times, once invested, this will be a small matter easily overlooked.
By keeping the chapters short and suspense-laden, Logan compels readers to consume Lies as quickly as possible. This is vital to the enjoyment of the novel as things do get very complicated indeed. Staying on top of each shift in Joe’s journey is important if readers have any hope of figuring out where this tale is going. Whether one guesses the ending likely depends on their familiarity with domestic suspense tropes, but even if the ending is not as shocking as some blurbs would have you believe, Lies is a fully-satisfying read that needs not rely on manipulative twists. T. M. Logan’s debut is an addictive read that few will regret having spent their money on and time with.