Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review : “White Lies” by Jeremy Bates

White Lies

White Lies by Jeremy Bates tells the timeless story that all mothers impart to their children; “you tell one lie and you’ll end up telling another lie to support it.” That it is always better to tell the truth because you’ll remember the truth but eventually find yourself over your head when you tell a lie. The story starts when thirty-ish English teacher Katrina Burton driving to a small and charming village tucked away deep in the Mountains of eastern Washington, where she is to begin a new job and a new life. Kat has recently experienced a number of life-shaking events; her fiancée has died of a rare medical condition, her mother has died and left her financially comfortable, if feeling a profound loss and her only sibling has had some bad reactions to the loss of her mother and has been exhibiting some anti-social tendencies in reaction.

Katrina, driving through a ‘dark and stormy night’  picks up a young hitchhiker who turns out to be drunk and proves to be the epitome of the reason young women shouldn’t pick up hitchhikers. He acts predatory, makes lewd remarks, seems to be paying inappropriate attention to her and displays misogynistic tendencies. Fearful for her safety, she lies about her destination in order to get him out of the car. Continuing on her journey, she arrives at her destination and begins the process of settling in.

Then to her surprise and dismay she discovers on the first day on the new job that the hitchhiker is a new coworker, the somewhat brilliant philosophy teacher, who, though respected for his knowledge and ability to teach, is a well known drunkard, even on the job.

“White Lies” by Jeremy Bates Official Trailer

With its Hitchcock like over tones, White Lies falls into the psychological thriller genre. When the hitch hiker/fellow teacher suspects she was lying about living at the lake, she tells him its her vacation house. After all, she doesn’t have to rely on just her meager teachers salary to live on, her mother left her well off. But when he continues to challenge her, she spouts off that she is going to have a party at the lake house and invite all the teachers.

Soon she meets a tall, dark, handsome man who is just passing through town and they develop a romance. He encourages her to go ahead with the party, that she can rent a cabin easily. But soon, Katrina finds herself caught up in the net of having to tell more lies and it gets easier. Then it catches up with her with a vengeance. When the ever expanding web of lies lands Katrina as a witness to a murder, she must decide to come clean or to abet the cover up.

The story is fast paced and will appeal to readers of both sexes. The plot is somewhat familiar but the deeper it gets into the story it begs the reader to suspend belief as some of the situations and the protagonists reaction to them go against that characters development within the story. To complicate matters, a number of supporting characters are more caricature and seem to exist only to color the scenery.  A bevy of drunken teachers cavorting n the dark around the lake as they are ignorant of a fight, a murder, and violent arguments going on around them seem like scenes lifted from a ‘B’ movie. And Katrina’s love interest seems totally out of character as she learns more and more about her lovers dark past, which is somewhat fantastical in itself.

Still, the scenery and sense of place make for a darkly drawn story and the action moves right along. The climax finally gives pause to answer the question of when a “white lie” turns bad, what do good people do?


Article first published as Book Review : White Lies by Jeremy Bates on Blogcritics.


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