The Sixth Lie | Sarah Ward

Author Sarah Ward and her book cover of The Sixth Lie


The Sixth Lie is an absorbing, fast-paced and carefully plotted thriller that draws you in from the very first page

There’s an elegance to Sarah Ward’s writing style that makes The Sixth Lie a real pleasure to read, with a smooth use of language and natural dialogue that means the narrative flows effortlessly.

The Sixth Lie cements Ward as a modern Agatha Christie because of the way she gradual unveils the truth, her use of red herrings and her final reveals. We discover information at the same time as leads Mallory and Harri, jumping back and forth between New Year’s Eve 2011, when three-year-old Huw is found dead, and present events. We are truly part of the investigation.

There’s an atmospheric sense of place in the story, with the image of snow suggesting both innocence and the opportunity to cover up truth. Literal and metaphorical sliding off-course makes for an entertaining and gripping story.

What is so thought-provoking here is that the lies uncovered are relatively minor, and frequently better defined as omissions than downright deceptions, but the story illustrates just how easily something small can lead to escalation and possibly catastrophic events. Ward explores loyalty and guilt, self-preservation and motive with dexterity.

The second book in the series, but can be read alone

Although The Sixth Lie is the second Mallory Dawson crime thriller, it works brilliantly as a standalone story. After reading, you’ll want to go back and read the first book, The Birthday Girl, because Mallory is a multi-faceted character; Ward feeds in information in a way that hooks us into rooting for Mallory from the very beginning.

The dynamics between Mallory and her son Toby, between her and Harri Evans, and between the six characters accused of lying, all give a layered psychological aspect to the story. While The Sixth Lie is resolved with skill and satisfaction, there’s potential for so much more to discover about Mallory in future books. Through Mallory and Harri, there is an undercurrent of both mental and physical health that adds depth and human understanding.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Sixth Lie. It’s entertaining and sophisticated, leaving you with both a sense of complete satisfaction and a burning desire to read more about Mallory Dawson.

The Sixth Lie by Sarah Ward is out now in paperback (Canelo, £9.99) and available from Amazon.

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