Everyone Here Is Lying
reviewed by Carolyn Scott
Nine-year-old Avery Wooler has gone missing in a chain of events that saw her being sent home early from school following her bad behavior in after school choir practice. She’s a neurodiverse child with behavioral problems so the police are immediately suspicious of her parents, particularly her father, Dr William Wooler, who has a temper.
He was the last person to see her that afternoon, but stupidly doesn’t tell the police that, in order to cover up why he was at home instead of at work in the hospital.
The Woolers live in Stanhope, NY, generally thought to be a safe neighbourhood but as the reader soon finds out, it’s one where everyone has secrets and where none of the characters, even the children, can be trusted to tell the truth. Avery is a difficult child, oppositional and uncooperative, but also sly and manipulative and good at playing her parents off against each other. For a nine-year-old, she does seem a little too sophisticated and calculating in her thoughts to be realistic and would perhaps have been more convincing had the author made her a few years older. On the other hand, maybe it’s just that I’ve just never met a child like her.
The novel is very much plot driven, rather than focussing on the characters, who are all diverse but without a whole lot of deep character development. What does work well is that the reader is given insights into the characters and their motives through multiple points of view before the police have the same information. This all adds to the fun of working out what really happened to Avery, although you’re still not quite sure who is lying and which way the novel is going to go. As the events unfold this normal looking neighbourhood will really be put under the microscope and there is not too much loyalty to be found here as neighbours point accusing fingers at each other.
The drama kicks off quickly in this very entertaining, suspenseful domestic psychological suspense. It’s definitely a page turner; fast paced with plenty as twists and misdirection as the truth is gradually winkled out. As the pieces start to fall into place towards the climax of the novel, the truth of what happened to Avery is chilling and will surprise and maybe even shock readers, but may also amuse them as it’s not what they might expect. By the end of the novel, relationships will be disrupted and the neighbourhood will never be the same again. This tale of jealousy, revenge and dysfunctional families is guaranteed to keep you guessing right to the end.
With thanks to Penguin Viking via Netgalley for a copy to read.
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