Dangerous Lies is Becca Fitzpatrick’s latest novel, and follows the story of a young teenage girl caught up in the witnessing of a crime. The narrative follows her search for a new identity as she is whisked into witness protection. Stella struggles with her old identity, unable to simply leave it behind her in Philadelphia as she is encouraged to. Along the way, she begins to learn more about herself, and is finally able to notice some hard truths about her old life.
Becca’s latest novel is yet more proof that she can write a winning piece of fiction. It’s clear now, after her Hush, Hush series and Black Ice, that she can write across genres, whether she’s weaving a fantasy tale of darkness and intrigue mixed with a little of the supernatural, or a tale of people and the complexity of human emotion.
In amongst her punchy diction, Becca explores the repercussions of drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, youth, the search for identity, the struggle of self-image, and so much more. I particularly like that she critiques small-town politics through the incident, or should I say, incidents, involving Trigger’s character. She problematises the idea that reporting incidents of abuse just causes more trouble, which is obviously very important. Despite the fact that Trigger’s father is chummy with members of the Sheriff’s department and is therefore likely to get off lightly, Stella and Carmina refuse to quit until they find some sort of justice. They continue to fight for appropriate punishment, showing some much-needed female solidarity. In the end, Trigger ends up getting off lightly with a little community service, and I couldn’t help but read that as corruption of the system.
I love that Becca always has a strong female protagonist at the helm of her narratives; protagonists who don’t need saving because they save themselves. I especially commend the ending of the novel when Carmina ends up being the one to save Stella instead of Chet, her boyfriend. Carmina is the kind of old-school, hard-as-nails softie people can’t help but love, and I found her character to be one of the most interesting with regards to her past. I found her dialogue to be really authentic too, to the point where I could almost hear her speaking through Becca’s words. I also love the way Becca explores the tricky relationship between foster kids and their foster guardians. I found the development of this relationship to be the most gratifying.
All in all, this novel combines everything good about Becca’s writing. All the usual plot twists and surprising reveals that come with Becca’s writing are there, and the setting is about as tangible as if the reader is standing in it, stifled by the heat. This book has some really great action writing, enough to raise the hair on your arms and have your heart racing, but it also has some equally strong drama and genuine emotion. It starts in media res so the reader is gripped from the very beginning, and there’s a really strong message in there about the healing that comes with forgiveness that I personally took to heart.
I sincerely look forward to seeing what Becca has yet in store for her readers in the near future. I may have grown up with Becca’s novels, but I can’t see myself ever growing tired of them, regardless of how old I am.
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