‘Lie Kill Walk Away’ is a teen thriller, so slightly outside my usual review sphere, but I read (and reviewed) it when I was working as a literacy teacher in a secondary school. I thought it was an enthralling read. It’s a bold story about the importance of family and the pain of absent mothers, about unthinkable decisions and the difficulties of loyalty when your choice will inevitably lead to someone getting hurt.
The story shocks from the opening: Becca finds her dad mid-suicide attempt in a haunting opening scene, and Joe’s graffiti for some quick cash inevitably backfires. Tension builds and events for both of them spiral rapidly out of control. Joe in particular is from a difficult background and trapped in a series of bad circumstances; you can see him making the wrong choices but escape from this way of life seems unfeasible.
The narrative is split between Joe and Becca’s voices in short, sharp chapters, flying at a rapid pace from one crisis straight into another. As events unravel and they discover a horrific plan, Becca and Joe act with integrity and honesty, owning their mistakes and making brave choices. There are several chilling scenes and one or two slightly inconceivable escapes along the way, but overall it’s a convincing story.
This book stands out in its boldness in throwing impossible questions at its readers: how far would you – should you – go to protect your family? Who do you trust when the people you are told to trust are lying to you? Is it ever okay to betray your friends?
I found some of the characterisation to be a bit stilted, but regardless this is a gripping and challenging read, impossible to put down. Short chapters (mostly one page) make it a particularly good read for any reluctant readers.
(I was provided with a free copy by Vertebrate Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)
Predominantly climbing/outdoors literature, mountaineering history and nature writing.