After reading The Missing Sister, I was looking forward to reading Lies We Bury. It didn’t disappoint. They often say that the second novel can be the hardest one to write (and similarly about musical acts and their second album) as if the first one was excellent, people have raised expectations about the next one. They want more – not just in terms of quantity, but seem to have an expectation that the output will push boundaries even further. It’s an unreasonable expectation and too many fall into the trap of even trying. Elle Marr doesn’t do this and Lies We Bury is all the better for it.
As I said, I really enjoyed The Missing Sister and had even been hoping visit the tunnels that feature in that story until a trip that I had planned to Paris was cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. But there were also aspects of The Missing Sister that, at times, pushed the limits of believability. This is not an issue often since novels are meant to have some poetic license. But Lies We Bury doesn’t do this and is an even stronger story as it is just so believable. I have seen some negative reviews of Lies We Bury, but I suspect that many of these are due to a desire for more over-the-top stories. I found the book a compelling read and just couldn’t put it down.
I really don’t want to say too much about the story and what I particularly liked about the style of writing as I don’t think that I can do this justice without some spoilers. All I will say that when everything started to come together towards the end, I loved the way that my assumptions and inner voice had been so badly wrong. I could imagine a good director being able to make a scene which similarly unravels this aspect of the story as this book is calling out to be dramatised.
It’s great to see that Elle Marr is going to continue writing and was not a one hit wonder. Marr is a prime example of an independent author (Mark Edwards is another) that Thomas & Mercer is right to pick up and promote. I can only dream that one day I will reach the same point with my own novels (Hijacking Japan, Tokyo 20/20 Vision, and FOUR to date). In the meantime, I will continue to look forward to seeing more books from Marr – though if it also revolves around siblings and tunnels, I may start to worry about what issues Marr herself has got buried!