Julia Was My Best Friend For Eighteen Years. I Never Knew Her At All…

“When friends tell lies, who can you trust?

Julia has always been the friend that Livy turns to when life is difficult. United eighteen years ago by grief at the brutal murder of Livy’s sister, Kara, they’ve always told each other everything.

Or so Livy thought.

When a fresh tragedy strikes, Livy cannot accept what Julia is supposed to have done. But little does she realise that digging into her best friend’s private life will tear the very fabric of her own existence apart”

cover

Born, raised and still resident in London, Sophie McKenzie was a journalist until she was made redundant in 2003. Following that she took a writing-for-children course and then started to write fiction for teenagers, now having had over twenty such books published.

Sophie McKenzie
Sophie McKenzie

Her first adult crime novel, “Close My Eyes”, was published in 2013 and I have just finished reading her second, titled “Trust In Me” (also available as “You Can Trust Me”), which hit the bookshelves in 2014.

The book starts with a short preface – “It’s an impossible choice. How am I supposed to make it? I think back over the past few weeks and everything that has happened to bring me to this point. It doesn’t matter. None of it matters now. All that counts is this choice. This impossible choice.”

These words don’t make much sense taken, as they are, out of context. By the time you get to the end of the book, however, they make perfect sense.

We meet Livy Jackson – who is telling the story – and her husband Will as they arrive at a party at the home of Leo Harbury, Will’s boss at Harbury Media. Livy has just received a text from her best friend Julia Dryden asking to talk, but ignores it as she is preoccupied with thoughts of a woman named Catrina being at the party – a woman who Will had an affair with six years ago.

Following the party, much to Livy’s consternation, Leo whisks Will off to Geneva to sort out a problem with a client. Livy worries that Catrina will be going too.

21976700When Livy takes their two children, Hannah and Zack, to Julia’s home the next morning for their regular Sunday get-together she is shocked to find Julia lying dead on the sofa. The circumstances lead the police, and everyone else, to conclude that Julia committed suicide – but Livy can’t accept that and begins digging.

Although her actions alienate Julia’s family and her own husband, Livy is convinced that she is onto something, especially when she finds an appointment in Julia’s diary for a meeting with someone named Shannon at a singles bar in Exeter.

When she turns up for the meeting, Shannon Walker does a runner and, giving chase, Livy finds herself running into a mysterious man claiming to have been Julia’s boyfriend for the past six months, Damian Burton.

Damian tells Livy that Julia had spent the past eighteen years investigating the murder of Livy’s younger sister, Kara, and that she had found some crucial information that she tried to contact Livy about on the night of the party.

Despite having doubts about Damian and his story, Livy and he aim to track Shannon down, thinking that Julia must have been murdered because of what she had found out about Kara’s murderer.

Interspersed throughout Livy’s story are journal entries from the killer, explaining – in very coldly calculating tones – how and why he killed various people. These sections make for particularly chilling reading!

TrustThis book is excellently plotted, and there are plenty of suspects offered to the reader – husband, boyfriend, boss, family friend, brother… at various points I thought each of them could be the guilty party but I really didn’t see it coming when the perpetrator was finally unmasked.

A highly recommended read…

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