The Lies Within was published in May 2017 and is the third book in the excellent Will Jackman series, set in Stratford upon Avon.
Grace Daniels, mother and grandmother, is on trial for murder. The story begins on the first day with a forceful opening of the prosecution’s case. ‘Be under no illusions by her smart clothes, her kind face and eloquent manner… This woman is guilty of murder…’ I was hooked immediately, and having read and enjoyed the first two books in the series I was sure this would be another gripping instalment.
Backtracking to ten months earlier we follow the events leading up to Grace’s arrest. Acting DCI, Will Jackman has been assigned to special projects, the regional lead on Adult Sexual Offences, with a view to improving procedures and reviewing any outstanding cases which could be connected. When the body of a young woman, with signs of sexual assault, is discovered in rural Leicestershire, Will is called to the scene. The victim is identified as Jo Lamborne, Grace Daniels’ daughter. Jo’s murder is similar to two other unsolved cases Will has been reviewing but, as yet, no link has been uncovered.
Grace was unpacking the dishwasher when the doorbell rang. It was almost 7am and darkness still clung to the windows outside, holding onto the final moments of night. Her head felt wooly from the evening before, but nothing, it seemed, not even a hangover would prevent her habitual early rising.
Phil was already at the door by the time Grace reached the hallway. His eyes met hers for long enough to pull a face. They weren’t expecting visitors. He opened the door to reveal a tall man with a mop of dark hair, a solid stance and striking green eyes. The black woman next to him was smaller, but almost as stocky. Her mouth formed a thin smile. She looked past Phil towards Grace. “Mrs Daniels?”
Thinking about that scenario – the knock on the door, the serious faced policemen, just knowing immediately something must be wrong – I can’t imagine how heart stopping it must be. And then to be told the worst possible news. The impact of Jo’s murder on her family is conveyed extremely realistically, the emotional turmoil, the feelings of grief and Grace’s consequent inability to function normally. Meeting Faye Campbell, an acquaintance from her past becomes a source of comfort and support, but Grace’s younger daughter is less than enamoured of her mother’s new friend.
The story centres around Grace, which expands the narrative, but we still get to follow the ups and downs of the investigative process from Will’s point of view. Personal issues and a morally difficult situation continue to plague him but his character shines through, and it seems there may be a glimmer of light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
This series just keeps getting better. Jane Isaac has created a well constructed, compelling plot with a psychological thread; a likeable, well developed and believable, non-clichéd personality in Will Jackman and a storyline that’s part police procedural, part courtroom drama with a deeply emotional family trauma at its heart. The reveal was a complete surprise but looking back the clues were there amongst all the red herrings. I was too engrossed to catch them – that’s my excuse anyway. It’s an extremely well written story, the procedural, courtroom detailing and storytelling ability are all excellent.
About the Book
Grace Daniels is distraught after her daughter’s body is found in a Leicestershire country lane. With her family falling apart and the investigation going nowhere, Grace’s only solace is the re-emergence of Faye, an old friend who seems to understand her loss. DI Will Jackman delves into the case, until a family tragedy and a figure from his past threaten to derail him.
When the police discover another victim, the spotlight falls on Grace. Can Jackman find the killer, before Grace is convicted of a crime she didn’t commit?