One teeny little fib. It’s no big deal, right? You pick up a hitchhiker during a torrential downpour, and even though he doesn’t say anything threatening and even though he doesn’t do anything threatening, you still just want to get him out of your car. So you lie. You say you’re getting off at the next exit, 30 miles from your true destination.
No big deal, right?
Oh, it most certainly is a big deal in Jeremy Bates’ White Lies, in which Katrina Burton’s little white lie snowballs into a web of disaster and near total destruction.
On her way to a new teaching job at Cascade High School in a community about an hour away from Seattle, Katrina spots what appears to be a young man hitchhiking amidst rain and lightning. She gives in to a feeling of guilt and pulls over. Zach, the hitcher, makes Katrina uncomfortable, and he’s clearly drunk. So when he asks where she’s going, she lies.
And then on Katrina’s first day of work, she sees Zach. He is a teacher at the same school, and, in a fit of pique, he calls her on her lie. Meanwhile, Katrina meets a hot, seductive stranger, and before she knows it, one lie has led to another and to another, and we readers are in for quite the ride.
Part of Katrina’s problem is that she cares about making a good impression on her fellow faculty members.
She showered, ate an apple, then drove to Cascade High School. No who-the-hell-are-you? looks today. Most of the students had likely seen her around the hallways yesterday. Even if they hadn’t, students talk, and she would have been the subject. As she approached the English Department, she had a prickling feeling she was going to walk in to all the teachers gossiping about her party, asking for directions, what they should bring, spreading the word until soon the whole school would know about it. That didn’t happen. In fact, no one mentioned anything from Ducks & Drakes at all. At noon in the faculty lounge – a Spartan place dominated by Formica tables and chairs – she was sure Monica or Big Bob or even Helen, the art teacher, a chatterbox without a lid, was going to light a conversation that would ignite a discussion. No one did … Regardless, it seemed what happened outside of school, stayed outside of school. Katrina was fine with that. Just fine indeed.
It is this need of Katrina’s to fit in – to leave a good impression and to create a new home for herself, two years after her fiance died and over a decade after the death of her parents. In trying to protect herself, she makes a mistake. She tells a little lie.
Jeremy Bates writes a very suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat story in White Lies. And it is very action packed, despite a peaceful, nearly amiable start. I thought this book would be about something it is not; Bates surprised me with the direction this took. I had suspicions about the bad guy, but I had no idea he would turn out to be as bad as he was.
I enjoy a good mystery and suspense, and White Lies gives you both, almost to the point of exhaustion.
Published by Oceanview Publishing and available on Amazon.com.
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview.