Review: Tell Me Lies, by Ed James


Megan Holliday opens her eyes and finds herself slumped on her doorstep. The last thing she remembers is being in the car with her two kids. She sees a handwritten note on her lap – Don’t call the police. It’s then that she realises her car is missing, and her children are gone…

Leading the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team, FBI agent Max Carter will stop at nothing to find children taken from their families. After all, he was once one of those taken children, so he knows exactly what’s at stake. When he hears that a young senator’s two children have been abducted and their mother left for dead, he races to the Holliday family home in Washington State.

Facing a wall of police cruisers and blacked-out SUVs, Carter quickly uncovers the facts. Megan Holliday was ambushed by a man with a gun as she returned home from taking her kids out for ice cream. Bound and drugged, the attacker left her unconscious on the doorstep with the sinister note on her lap.

As Senator Christopher Holliday walks through the halls of the US Federal Building in Seattle, his phone beeps with an alert. Frustrated by the interruption, he takes a cursory glance and is horrified by the image on the screen – his two children, Brandon and Avery, unconscious. The message he gets simply reads Meet me or they die. When Agent Carter tries to make contact with the busy senator, it seems the politician has gone missing, fleeing from the Federal Building and abandoning his distraught wife. If Carter knows one thing, it’s that Holliday has something to hide. And he just became Carter’s prime suspect.


There seems to be a recent spate of authors from this side of the pond who are writing USA based thrillers in what (to me) sounds like a very authentic American voice. Take Steve Cavanagh and Adrian McKinty – both from Northern Ireland (although McKinty resides in the US). And now we have Scottish author, Ed James with the first in a new series.

I listened to this novel on audio, and it was excellently narrated by Jared Hendrickson.  I liked that the story is largely told from three different viewpoints, our protagonist, Max Carter’s, the kidnapper’s, and Senator Holliday’s.  It was fast-paced, and whilst the prologue gave some clue to the kidnapper’s motivations, it really was the tiniest of clues, and the author did well to reveal things only very gradually.

The story unfolds with all the twists and turns you’d expect from a novelist as experienced as Ed James, and I was surprised by the length of time that still seemed to be remaining when the story was apparently drawing to a close.  It turned out that there was still plenty more story to tell.

A confident start to a new series, and I’m looking forward to the next.





About djpaterson

Reader, Writer, Arithmeticer. Not always in that order.
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