Lon­don cop’s fam­ily drama linked to mur­der

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Books - By Oline Cogdill Sun Sen­tinel Cor­re­spon­dent Oline Cogdill can be reached at [email protected]

To say that Cat Kin­sella has fa­ther is­sues is an un­der­state­ment, as Bri­tish author Caz Frear ex­plores in this out­stand­ing de­but about a frac­tured fam­ily. “Sweet Lit­tle Lies” is a con­fi­dent first novel that suc­cinctly melds the po­lice pro­ce­dural with the psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller.

Un­til she was 8 years old, Cat was close to her fa­ther, Michael McBride, a shady busi­ness­man with ties to Lon­don’s un­der­world and a se­rial adul­terer. But dur­ing a fam­ily va­ca­tion in Ire­land, Cat wit­nessed her fa­ther ar­gu­ing with teenager Maryanne Doyle, a few days be­fore she dis­ap­peared. And then Cat heard her fa­ther tell the po­lice he didn’t know Maryanne, even though the teenager was an ac­quain­tance of his old­est daugh­ter, Jac­qui.

Now 26 years old, Cat is

a de­tec­tive con­sta­ble in Lon­don, con­cen­trat­ing on her ca­reer over her per­sonal life and hav­ing as lit­tle to do with her fam­ily as pos­si­ble. To fur­ther dis­tance her­self from her fa­ther, she uses her mother’s last name rather than her given name of McBride.

Cat’s fam­ily drama in­trudes on her pro­fes­sional life when she and her part­ner, Det. Sgt. Luigi Par­nell, in­ves­ti­gate the mur­der of Alice La­paine, whose body was found near the Lon­don pub that her fa­ther owns. The case takes an odd turn when Alice is linked to Maryanne. Once again, Cat won­ders how in­volved her fa­ther is, even when the case re­veals other sus­pects. “Those sweet lit­tle lies you tell your­self to make life more bear­able,” says one char­ac­ter.

Frear im­bues “Sweet Lit­tle Lies” with a twisty plot that ex­cels in its in­depth look at Cat’s com­pli­cated psy­che and how her re­la­tion­ship with her fa­ther led to her be­com­ing a cop. Prickly but com­pas­sion­ate, Cat is a bun­dle of con­tra­dic­tions and im­mensely in­ter­est­ing as she delves into po­lice work. Her re­la­tion­ship with her other squad mem­bers — es­pe­cially with Par­nell, who is like a sur­ro­gate fa­ther — is para­mount in her life. That she is will­ing to risk ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing her ca­reer, by not re­veal­ing her fa­ther’s con­nec­tion adds to her com­plex per­son­al­ity.

Frear should have much fod­der to ex­plore with Cat Kin­sella, whose re­turn will be most wel­comed.

Meet the author

Caz Frear will dis­cuss “Sweet Lit­tle Lies” at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 at Mur­der on the Beach, 273 Pineap­ple Grove Way, Del­ray Beach, 561-279-7790, mur­deron the­beach.com. Frear’s ap­pear­ance is part of the Women’s Na­tional Book As­so­ci­a­tion of South Florida’s meet­ing. Cost for non­mem­bers is $10.

REBECCA KNOWLES PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Caz Frear’s de­but novel is “Sweet Lit­tle Lies.”

‘Sweet Lit­tle Lies’ By Caz Frear Harper, 352 pages, $26.99

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