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Crime & Beyond met in November to discuss Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear. The book was not only the first in a new series featuring Cat Kinsella, Detective Constable, but it was the author’s first book ever.

In it, twenty-six-year-old Cat Kinsella overcame a troubled childhood to become a Detective Constable with the Metropolitan Police Force, but she's never been able to banish these ghosts. When she's called to the scene of a murder in Islington, not far from the pub her estranged father still runs, she discovers that Alice Lapaine, a young housewife who didn't get out much, has been found strangled.

What follows is Kat’s investigation, her continued suspicion of her father, and her hiding her involvement with the case from her superiors—something that bugged some of us readers.

This book gave us quite a discussion, mostly because no one loved or hated it. We discussed all the aspects of the story and characters but no one had super strong opinions either way. Those that liked it seemed to be able to take or leave it, and those that didn’t were just like “meh.”

Some of the likes were: liked Cat; liked the Britishisms; didn’t notice the Britishisms; easy to follow; didn’t dislike but didn’t like (this one could go in either section); fast read; and really liked it.

Some of the dislikes were: too much British slang (we needed Stephanie there to help translate); distracting internal dialogue that, thank god, eased up as the story progressed; didn’t like the characters; didn’t like the writing; first 7 chapters were just ok until it got a little more interesting; Cat was whiney and neurotic; and the book was forgettable.

Whether you liked the Britishisms or not, you can’t tell me you aren’t going to start using the term “noughties,” it’s just so perfect!

As we went around the room, each person not only gave their score of the book, but stated whether they prefer character or plot driven books. I found this really interesting. We all know that you have to have both to have a good book, but you can have one that is super strong, and if it’s the one you favor, you will still enjoy the book, even if the other doesn’t seem to quite be up to par. Of the 15 people who were there, we had 8 people who voted character driven and 7 who voted plot. It just goes to show how divided down the middle we are. Probably why we get such great discussions, we have such different tastes.

That’s it, that’s 11 books so far this year. Which means what? 11 quiz questions at the Christmas Party (12 if you count the one for the December book we haven’t discussed yet). Study up peeps, there WILL be prizes.

For those who can make it, see you at my house on the 13th where we will eat, drink, be merry, open gifts, steal books, take a test, and maybe even discuss the December book: The Santa Klaus Murder by Mavis Hay.

For those who can’t, I hope you have a great Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year. I will see you on January 27th when we will discuss Force of Nature by Jane Harper.

Kerry

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