There Will Be Lies
Written by Nick Lake
Contemporary, Diversity, Magic Realism
Published January 8th 2015
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia
Shelby Jane Cooper is seventeen, pretty and quiet. It's just Shelby and her mom, Shaylene, a court stenographer who wears pyjama jeans, stitches tapestry, eats ice-cream for dinner and likes to keep Shelby safe. So safe she barely goes out. So safe she doesn't go to school. Because anything could happen, to a girl like Shelby. Anything.
When Shelby gets knocked down by a car, it's not just her leg that's broken. Shelby's world is shattered. Her mom turns up to collect her and drives off into the night, like it's the beginning of a road trip, like two criminals on the run, like Thelma and Louise or Bonnie and Clyde. And somehow, everywhere she looks, there's a coyote watching her, talking to her, telling her not to believe.
Who is Shelby Jane Cooper? If the person who keeps you safe also tells you lies, who can you trust?
Seventeen year old Shelby doesn't know what it's like to be an ordinary teen. She's been home schooled and warned of the danger of strangers, especially men who she's learnt to fear. Her only respite comes in the form of each Friday, where Shelby spends the afternoon in the safety of the library, with Mark. Mark is the only person Shelby has ever conversed with, besides her mother. Every day is the same, until a life altering accident almost takes Shelby's life and lands her in hospital, but not before seeing the coyote who warns her of what's to come.
There will be two lies, it says. Then there will be the truth. And that will be the hardest of all.Her mother is frantic, paying cash for her treatment, whisking Shelby away shortly after an operation to mend her leg and claims to taking Shelby on an impromptu adventure. But the two are on the run from a man her mother claims may just kill them both. The once shy woman is always thinking two steps ahead, vowing to keep Shelby safe while going against the very values she's instilled in her only daughter. Each night Shelby drifts into the Dreaming, where she joins Mark in her unconscious state. He speaks in riddles, while sharing the Native American history through the vivid dream world. But his warning remains the same, and Shelby is left to wonder who she can trust.
So where does the truth lie?
There Will Be Lies was a fusion of contemporary, Native American mythology and a thriller which despite it's issues, I found impossible to put down. Shelby has lived an incredibly sheltered life, under the guise that people are generally not to be trusted and want to take advantage of her, relying on her mother to not only home school her but also keep her free from harm. She loves her mother for being protective, but wavers between wanting more freedom and loathing her mother for not allowing her to spread her wings. She's indecisive, critical, yet is almost fearful of asking why her mother lives both of their lives in secrecy. It isn't until Shelby is hit by a car in the one outing she is allowed per week, and the suspense begins.
Throughout the storyline, Shelby experiences vivid dreams of a dying arid world, where her narrator is the only person she's ever spoken to besides her mother, Mark. He speaks in riddles and claims his dying world can only be saved by Shelby rescuing the crying child and killing the Crone that has desolated the land. The dreamscapes were frustrating, I wasn't sure if they were considered as magical realism, as aspects of the dreams crossed over into her waking world, or her subconscious and offered little information about the storyline that was occurring in Shelby's waking hours. It was the contemporary thriller aspect of the storyline that completely engulfed me, it was absolutely brilliant. A mild mannered turned psychotic mother on the run, a skeptical daughter who is beginning to question her mother's motives and a Coyote who randomly appears to issue ominous warnings that she is being lied to. My biggest issue is why would a seemingly Caucasian girl dream of Native American mythology? I can imagine it would be akin to a white Australian and the indigenous Dreaming, which I'm sure would offend native Australians.
But as many issues as I had with the dreamscape world, I simply couldn't put it down. The main storyline was phenomenal and kept me on the edge of my seat. The lies, the intrigue, the thrill of the chase as readers will demand answers and the truth. This would have been a clear favourite, if not for the seemingly misguided mythology.