Author: Sarah Scott

Publisher: Krill Press

ISBN: 978-0-9846524-3-3

How many times have you felt like telling the boss what you think about your job and how much better life would be if he wasn’t such an unprofessional incompetent dingbat? You don’t do it because if you do payday becomes just another weekday.  Jolie Marston, a TV news reporter and the lead character in Sarah Scott’s debut mystery, Lies At Six, does do it and what’s more she shares her insights with the viewers of WTNW's 6.00 pm newscast. Good for Jolie’s job angst but really bad for her financial situation. Fired, quicker than it takes your eye to flicker, Jolie is labeled a loose cannon and her chances of another job in a Memphis newsroom (or anywhere really) don’t look good.

Lies At Six starts well; I felt empathy with Jolie’s frustrated need to present real news not re-hashed headlines embellished with attention catching lies. Being unemployed isn't great for your love life and it isn’t long before Jolie and boyfriend Nick experience problems. Both afraid of commitment, they have been close but Jolie’s impulsive action and loss of financial security puts a strain on their relationship.

Sarah Scott’s writing style suits the mystery/crime genre but I’m not sure about the efficacy of presenting the reader with a prologue. I always like a body at the end of the first chapter (could just be a personal preference) and while the characterizations were well done the action was a little slow starting. That said, Lies At Six is a well told, unusual story set in America’s South with a recurring theme of memory and more particularly, how two players in life’s drama can with the passage of time, recollect the same events in quite different ways. This premise is woven throughout the text and it gives an interesting ‘literary’ touch to the plot.

Memphis’s former Mayor, Ellis Standifer, a mentor to Jolie, is found murdered. Her job in the newsroom over, Jolie is locked out of the investigation. Calling in favours, she battles to get a lead on Standifer’s killer but meets with little success. Her romance with Nick and bank account, both on a downward spiral, Jolie heads back to her East Tennessee hometown of Singleton to see her parents and work out what to do next. A video business seems like a good idea – a way to make money and be her own boss. Ellis Standifer’s unsolved murder, always at the back of her mind, Jolie figures that as Singleton was also his hometown it’s as good a place as any to find out why he was killed and whodunit.

Jolie enlists the help of another Singleton resident, Martin, a wealthy gay guy. Together they piece together a mystery which spans generations – was Ellis Standifer the decent caring man he appeared to be and what of the story his mother, Violet, tells? Is it the truth or like the headlines Jolie used to report on the 6.00 pm newscast, re-hashed lies that reflect what might have happened not what did. The story moves on to an exciting climax; there’s another murder and the plot twists and turns in an intriguing manner.

It’s always good to spend time with a new writing talent - Sarah Scott and Jolie Marston are welcome additions to the mystery crime genre and I’m looking forward to meeting them again in the next Jolie Marston Mystery.          

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