Locks and Other Lies: review

Locks and Other Lies 250Sometimes a book comes along that gets under your skin. There’s an edge to the writing that’s sharp, piercing, and words, moments, moods slip from the pages into your psyche, haunting and teasing you. So it was for me with Locks and Other Lies.

First things first, style, since this is literary fiction. Every word is carefully chosen, every sentence carefully crafted. The more I read, the more I respected the author for the care she has taken over her work, and her passion for the novel, which comes through on every page. Structurally, I think perhaps there could have been a little more tightening, but overall, I really enjoyed the writing style.

The synopsis of the book intrigued me enough that I agreed to receive a review copy from the author, but I wasn’t sure what to expect from the story. I was pleased to find I quickly engaged with the story line, which follows Cass as she navigates a world without her lost sister, and yet somehow keeps her close.

Having said that, it wasn’t the storyline that hooked me so much in this book as the characterisation. Cass stayed with me long after closing the book – her vulnerability and her strength; her doing-it-my-way; her recklessness and courage. Cass’s friends, a motley lot, made me alternate between smiling and aching and, at one harrowing point, tearing up. Griff didn’t quite convince me, but he did have me walking about between reading sessions with a gnawing anxiety in my stomach.

Anxiety. Certainly a side-effect for me while reading this book. There’s a dark undercurrent, an unsettling feeling of imminent danger. Take the scenes set at an automotive factory, where Cass, ‘robotgirl’, works with metal-welding robots – unspeakably dangerous unless every rule is followed to the letter. I could almost hear the pounding machines, see the sparks flying, smell the metal; I was right there with Cass – and while I was glad she worked there, and not in a safe, girly hair salon, I was worried for her. Accidents were known to happen.

There are moments of light relief interspersed throughout, however, that pierce the darkness. The dialogue is frequently witty, and some descriptions jumped out and tickle-feathered me. (I don’t think I will ever peel an orange again without remembering this novel.) Sometimes I found myself thinking as I read, ‘That is so true.’ There are many truths among the lies in this novel.

For me, the marker of a good book is silently telegraphing to the author as you read, ‘Write another book. I want to read it.’ I did that while reading Locks and Other Lies. Lucy, I hope you heard me.

* My rating: Four and a half stars *

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book details

Author: Lucy Preen

Genre: Literary fiction


How does a lock really work?

Cass sees her sister every day. Nothing strange about that, right? Except Andie’s dead and Cass doesn’t believe in ghosts …

When Cass meets Griff, a mysterious urban explorer who can open any lock, she enters a world of breached boundaries that strangely mirrors her own — only Griff takes it to extremes.

As they explore the secrets of locked buildings, events take a dangerous turn. But can Cass save herself and fight for what is real, if it means letting her sister go?

Publisher: Self-published

Publication date: 30 May 2017

Length: 350 pages

Available from: Amazon