Eleven Liars by Robert Gold

I am absolutely delighted to share my thoughts on Eleven Liars, the brand new Ben Harper novel from Robert Gold. I loved Twelve Secrets so was thrilled to receive a personalised proof from the lovely folks at Sphere. I was even more thrilled by what was inside as the story is another cracker. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: 30th March
Publisher: Sphere.

About the Book

Journalist Ben Harper is on his way home when he sees the flames in the churchyard. The derelict community centre is on fire. And somebody is trapped inside.

With Ben’s help the person escapes, only to flee the scene before they can be identified. Now the small town of Haddley is abuzz with rumours. Was this an accident, or arson?

Then a skeleton is found in the burnt-out foundations.

And when the identity of the victim is revealed, Ben is confronted with a crime that is terrifyingly close to home. As he uncovers a web of deceit and destruction that goes back decades, Ben quickly learns that in this small town, everybody has something to hide.

My Thoughts

When I read Twelve Secrets, I had no idea that it was going to part of a series, but I’m very glad it is. I loved getting to know journalist Ben Harper, and DC Dani Cash and found falling back into step with them very easy to do. Robert gold just has that writing style that immediately pulls you into the story, and from the very first chapter I was completely invested in the mystery, one that became even more curious with every new chapter. Where Twelve Secrets focused on Ben Harper and his family, Eleven Liars is vey much Dani Cash’s story. Whilst Ben plays an inevitably large role in what comes to pass, it is Dani’s past we focus on this time, her relationship with her father and the very sad, and premature, death of her mother, Angela. One thing’s for sure – it seems like Haddley is not a very safe place to live – which makes it all the more fun for readers like me.

A chance shortcut through a local cemetery, sees Ben stumbling upon a fire in a community centre, where someone is trapped inside. Ben manages to free the stranger, but rather than stay and share their gratitude, they disappear into the night, making Ben wonder just what they have to hide. As if that isn’t suspicious enough, his journalistic instincts kick into overdrive when he thinks he spots a knife in the ruins of the building. But that’s nothing as to what the investigators discover next …

I loved that there are so many threads to this story, told over just a few short days. Much as he did in the books predecessor, as Robert Gold leads us through the twisted tale and the many entwined threads, he slowly counts up the number of lies which feed the story, dropping hints of what is to come without once giving anything important away. It intrigued me, making me want to understand the relevance and context of the lies. The who, why, what and where of it all is slow in reveal, but it makes for a tense, compelling and completely addictive story. And despite there being a lot going on – arson, murder, drug running and overall nastiness – I never once felt confused. Robert Gold tells the story in such a way that you can easily follow, but that leaves you with plenty of questions, all of which will be answered in the fullness of time. I felt outraged, empathetic and on edge in all the right places, and whilst there is always an underlying sense of unease about what it happening, and a general sense of mistrust for nearly everyone, it is more the mystery and misdirection that fed my desire to keep reading.

I love Ben Harper and Dani Cash as characters. The lion’s share of the story is told in first person from Ben’s perspective, so its really important that he is an engaging and likeable character. Robert Gold hits all the right notes, adding humour to the story through Ben’s interactions with his boss and her father, just the right amount of sympathy from Ben when required, as well as an overwhelming chemistry with Dani Cash. Ben is determined, but sympathetic and very in tune with the people around him, and he’s an easy character to spend time with. Dani Cash is equally likeable, but with a very complex family life, both present and past. I felt an incredible amount of sympathy for her, for the twists and turns of the story and they way they impacted upon her. It’s fair to say that her home life is far from stable , and seeing that particular part of the story being explored further this time around was a bit of an eye opener, especially in light of some of the revelations that readers are privy to.

If you loved Twelve Secrets as I did, I think that Eleven Liars will also tick all of the boxes for you. It’s not a fast paced action novel, and yet the styling of the book, the quick progression of the investigation, the framing of the lies and the way the story ticks off the days, the building tension and conflict, and all the twists and unexpected turns, still make this a very fast read. With brilliant characters, compelling storytelling, and emotional edge and a little quirk towards the end which tells us this story is far from over, I cannot wait to see what the author delivers next. Definitely recommended.

About the Author

Originally from Harrogate in North Yorkshire, Robert Gold began his career as an intern at the American broadcaster CNN, based in Washington DC. He returned to Yorkshire to work for the retailer ASDA, becoming the chain’s nationwide book buyer. He now works in sales for a UK publishing company.

Robert now lives in Putney and his new hometown served as the inspiration for the fictional town of Haddley in his thrillers, Twelve Secrets, an Irish Times bestseller, and Eleven Liars, publishing in 2023.

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