If books with an unreliable narrator has taught me anything, it’s that everyone is a dirty, lying secret-keeper and that you can’t trust anyone. It’s a trope that’s been overused thanks to the success of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train (speaking of overused tropes, can we stop having titles with “girl” in them for awhile?) and Crooked Little Lies isn’t a particularly groundbreaking addition to the genre. But the characters are compelling and the action moves quickly (getting a book read in under a week is a rarity for me with my schedule) making it a relatively light read for a book that centers on a missing person.
The story centers around the disappearance of Bo Laughlin, a generally harmless mentally ill man who wanders the small town of Hardy’s Walk. Sissel wisely keeps Bo’s exact psychiatric diagnosis vague. Our protagonists are Annie, Bo’s step sister and Lauren, our unreliable narrator and one of the last people to see Bo before he goes missing. Lauren is a more sympathetic character than our more famous narrators. Unlike Amy Dunne, who is an unrepentant sociopath or Rachel Watson, who is a falling down drunk, Lauren suffered a fall from a bell tower while working for the architectural salvage business she shares with her husband and suffered a traumatic brain injury. She subsequently suffered an addiction to Oxycontin as a result of the pain she suffered from her head injury. Though she is now sober, her memory is unreliable at best. It’s difficult not to sympathize with someone who, despite her best intentions, simply can’t remember things she did despite being awake and sober at the time.
I have to say, I pretty much pegged who the worst of the lying secret keepers was pretty early on. But it still made for an interesting read and a nice break from some of the heavier subjects I’d been delving into recently. If you’ve run out of beach reads for the summer, I’d pick this one up.