Eleven Liars by Robert Gold is the second book in the series featuring journalist Ben Harper, who we met in Twelve Secrets when he was forced to revisit his own tragic past. Here Ben’s still working for his quirky boss finishing up a podcast offering newly-uncovered secrets involving his family when he literally stumbles across a new mystery.Eleven Liars)
by Robert Gold
Series: Ben Harper #2
Published by Sphere
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Crime Fiction, Thriller / Suspense
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.
We met police officer Dani Cash in the first book of this series. I mention in that review that I assume we’d be learning more about her past, particularly in relation to her father and an incident involving Dani and her husband. Here she’s being newly promoted to Detective Constable but the legacy of her father – a former Chief Inspector – overshadows her success, particularly given his forced retirement and obsession with a local drug dealer. Dani struggles with her father’s replacement and is still grappling with an incident that left her husband unable to walk – a crime that remains unsolved.
So this time around, the focus is very much on Dani’s backstory and she learns that much of what she knew about her early childhood are lies.
I commented in my review of Twelve Secrets that Gold had introduced a few too many players for me and I wondered if some readers (ahem) would have trouble keeping track of them. Gold does the same here, with a new character starting each of the early chapters. We met a couple of them in the previous book but I struggled for a while, trying to piece together the relationships and relevance. Of course it ultimately becomes clear but again there’s a risk in overwhelming the reader with players and having them disengage.
That aside, Gold brings the pieces together (some purely by chance), along with the present and the past.
I’m enjoying this series and like some of the regulars including Ben’s boss Madeleine who works in digital publishing, and her father Sam, an old school newspaperman. I hadn’t remembered much about the storyline involving Dani in the first book of the series so assuming we got to know her better here and Gold introduces some linkages to the incident that upended her life soon before we first met her. The fact that this series is numbered (in reverse) makes me suspect Gold’s planning a dozen books so I’ll be interested in where he decides to take some of our characters, or if he introduces newcomers to mix things up.
Eleven Liars by Robert Gold was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.