I am over the moon to be taking part in the blog tour today for the 8th Tom Douglas book by Rachel Abbott. The Shape of Lies was released on 12th February. Thank you so much to Maura Wilding for the invite.
And make sure you check out the other blog on the tour Novel Deelights today for The Shape of Truth or Lies!
About this book…
Yesterday, Scott was dead. Today, he’s back.
And Anna doesn’t believe in ghosts.
Scott was Anna’s boyfriend. She loved him, but he ruined her life. When he died, she should have been free, but today Scott is on the radio, threatening to spill her secrets.
Anna is a mother, a wife, and head teacher of a primary school.
And she’s a good liar.
She made one mistake, and now she is having to pay for it. Scott is the only person who knows the truth about her past, but how can he be alive?
Soon, DCI Tom Douglas is going to knock on her door looking for answers. But Anna is already running scared: from the man she loved; the man she watched die; the man who has come back to life.
She has one week to find him. One week to stop him.
After a little break from Tom Douglas with her last book, Rachel Abbott has brought him back to us with a brilliant (almost a stand-alone!) addition to one of my very favourite series. Don’t worry if you’re thinking “DCI Tom Douglas number 8?!?! I will never be able to catch up and I certainly couldn’t start a series on the eighth book!!” You will and YOU CAN! Although Tom is the detective assigned to solving some rather puzzling murders that seem to have a connection, the story is all Anna’s.
The Anna we first meet here is an upstanding member of the community. A headteacher, wife and mother living a normal life and respected by all. But Anna is hiding something from her past that is about to come back to haunt her. When she hears the voice of an ex boyfriend on one of her favourite radio shows, her reaction is very extreme but once she expands on her shock it’s easy to understand why. Scott was the love of her life, fellow keeper of secrets and “partner in crime” but unfortunately (or should that read FORTUNATELY?) Scott is dead…
The way in which Rachel Abbott slowly uncovered the world that Anna inhabited made The Shape of Lies a breathtakingly tense thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. That sounds like a real contradiction doesn’t it but it just works! I love a book where there is a big secret-one that someone is desperately trying to keep whilst I try even more desperately to uncover it! What happened between Anna and Scott? And why would he come back now after all these years? As Anna attempts to find the answers to these questions, we also start to see a very different Anna to the respectable woman on show to the rest of the world.
I found the flashbacks to Anna’s past the most intriguing part of her moral dilemma. Her university days and the connections she made there were obviously the root of her problems but I found it hard to reconcile that young woman with the tougher, harder faced Anna that we start to meet in the present. Don’t get me wrong, what she got herself into wasn’t her fault but the way things progressed from there really wound me up and I really wanted to shout at her at times to stop and think before she acted! But there were characters throughout that I could cheerfully have swung for myself so I did have lots of sympathy for her situation. That still left me with more questions than answers and boy, are there some shocking twists ahead for both her and the reader. This book blew my mind with the plot developments and THAT ENDING!! Bravo, Rachel Abbott for leaving me with my jaw well and truly dropped on the floor!
I think I can add The Shape of Lies to my list of favourite Tom Douglas books. Although he plays much more of a background role here, we still have a good insight into his personal life and his professional relationships too. His sidekick DI Becky Robinson is back from maternity leave (with a few changes that made me chuckle in places!) to lend a hand with the complexities of some rather gruesome crime scenes and I loved that they were back to their easygoing camaraderie but without ever crossing the lines. Toms personal life wasn’t quite as untroubled but no spoilers here!!
I don’t know how Rachel Abbott consistently comes up with such gripping and unexpected storylines. Her characters are intriguing and relatable meaning that her Manchester based thrillers always seem to hit the mark. Tom Douglas has evolved over the series into a character full of vitality who projects off every page he appears on so I’m VERY surprised that he hasn’t been brought to life in a tv drama yet!
Another fantastic page turner from Rachel Abbott!
Meet the author…
Rachel Abbott is the author of the DCI Tom Douglas series of psychological crime thrillers. Set in and around her native Manchester, they are gritty and compelling reads which deal with her central theme: What would it take for an ordinary person to commit murder. Her self-published debut, Only the Innocent, became an international bestseller, reaching the number one position in the Amazon charts both in the UK and the US. This was followed by bestselling novels The Back Road, Sleep Tight, Stranger Child, its sequel Nowhere Child, The Sixth Window, Kill Me Again and Come A Little Closer. Her last book – And So It Begins – was launched in October 2018. The book was the subject of a bidding war between publishers before it was bought by Headline. It has since been nominated by The Times as one of the best crime novels of the year and was lauded as “a dark, extremely readable, well-plotted psychological thriller”. It introduces her feisty new female police officer, Sergeant Stephanie King and is set in Cornwall. Rachel lives in Alderney in the Channel Islands and writes in a Victorian gunpowder store she just happens to have in her back garden.