Today is my stop on the tour for Marguerite Ashton’s Promised Lies!
Title: Promised Lies
Author: Marguerite Ashton
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Date of publication: June 8th 2017
Number of pages: 404
Detective Lily Blanchette has a lot on her plate. Her sister, Celine, was murdered, her parents are on the verge of divorce, and after a whirlwind romance, she married a man she barely knows. When the bodies of two young women are found, it is clear that the killer is the same person who murdered her sister, Lily sets out to find out who that is. As the investigation comes to life, Lily realises that all is not as it seems in her life, who can she actually trust and who is she?
I can’t pass a catchy title. Promised Lies sounded perfect for me. Lies… I love them! Well, not when they are thrown my way and I have to decipher the message behind. But mine are usually harmless and they don’t involve crimes, blood, body parts and shocking family stories.
So as I said, Promised Lies had everything I wanted, at least on paper. But my enthusiasm rapidly fizzled out when the first pages took away the realism I look for in crime stories. Keeping a detective closely linked to a case on a very similar new investigation that might be connected irked me very fast. I know sometimes lines are blurred and a team can consider having one of them around even when there’s a personal aspect to a case, but here we are talking about keeping the sister of a possible linked victim as the lead investigator, and without anyone truly raising the issues it could involve.
“The last thing we need is for this to be twisted so they can have a juicy story. Detective, I have complete faith in your ability to lead this case.”
Maybe if Lily Blanchette had tried to work on the side and kept in touch with her colleagues, I would have had less problems with her poking her nose in the police work, but from this point onward, my brain decided there was something wrong with the procedure and therefore, I had the hardest time enjoying the story. I’m a sucker for rules.
Now off to the characters… For the reason stated above, I had a hard time with Lily Blanchette, and her behavior throughout the story did not help. I know we all react a different way when faced with difficult realities and facts of life, but I never really felt she was “alive”. There are deaths and incidents in this book, and all of them should have triggered something in this woman for me to sympathize with her. I wish I had felt more of her emotions to connect with her.
I only keep a vague memory from the police team, as they were only used as tools and I couldn’t say who was who most of the time. I think the only character I kept in mind was Lily’s partner, Morgan, but even her felt a bit cliché.
I wish the daughter/father relationship had been more developed so events would have appeared more shocking and would have had a stronger impact on me. Their time together was too sparse for me to have a clear picture, but I did feel the aching for a father’s approval, for the pride, for that spark when you share something special. This is why I had some issues with Lily later during the story as events unfolded.
The family dymanic had a lot of potential but I felt I never knew enough to understand the whole situation and motivations of each member. Celine, Lily’s deceased sister, was barely introduced and she never felt as a character, which means I couldn’t sense Lily’s pain and trauma after having lost her, neither could I feel the burden of having to work on the investigation to find her sister’s killer. It can’t have been easy, it wouldn’t be for anyone.
Lily’s marriage is another element of the book that has its importance, and if you’ve been here long enough, you know I love to suspect husbands or witness what happens behind closed doors. But I couldn’t find any reason to believe in that marriage, neither did Lily apparently! Still, I appreciated the way the author approached a big and difficult issue in marriage, and how Lily lost her cop outfit for the woman, for the wife that has difficult decisions to make.
Last but not least, the investigation. The word that comes to my mind is “vague”. I can’t see any other way to let you know I was confused. Names and places were thrown my way but I couldn’t make out what was happening. I am still not even sure I fully understood who did what and why. The private and professional lives of Lily Blanchette gets tangled up and make a mess, but unfortunately, I was unable to stay focused enough to enjoy the plot as a whole. Some events, like a sudden death (spoilers if I say more!), seemed rushed while other parts dragged on to try and keep a pretense of tension. Add in a weird touch of romance and you have me rolling my eyes and wishing the balance between all elements of the book was better.
The last thing I did not understant was the involvement of a mafia group, maybe it will be explained in another book is this becomes a series.
Overall, Promised Lies failed to convince me with its weak characterization and police work. However, this is only my opinion, this book might have a better chance with you!
I would like to thank Emma Mitchell and the author for providing me with a copy of this book and the opportunity to take part in this blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.
She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe. A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible. She can be found on Twitter and Facebook.
Find out more about the book on the different stops of the tour!