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    Compelling & Intense

    A second-rate actor leaves his flat in hot pursuit of a part in promising blockbuster film, but on leaving, hears noises from the flat above which don't sound good. He makes the decision to go to the audition anyway, then later discovers that his actions resulted in dreadful consequences. His neighbour Alex, who is also his girlfriend, Emi Shimizu's son, was attacked and left for dead. Now, Pax Monnier is faced with the awful choice of continuing to keep quiet about the assault, thus deceiving forty-four year old Emi who has always believed in him, or telling the truth thereby destroying their great relationship. In The Lies I Never Told You themes of guilt and human weakness are explored. In a moving narrative between past and present day, the reader is treated to an intense slow-burn thriller. Amongst the veritable cocktail of emotions, including trauma, fear and self-esteem lurks affable, tormented Pax, and beautiful, efficient, and capable Emi. Valérie Tong Cuong's in depth descriptions of each characters' psyches are intimate and brilliantly explored. A captivating, powerful and very highly recommended, if short, compelling contemporary tale. I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Hodder & Stoughton via NetGalley, and this review is my unbiased opinion.

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