Death Of A Lie is a thriller set mainly in Romania.
The story opens towards the end of World War Two with an aeroplane crash. Andrei and a friend were camping when a plane crashed nearby, and they picked up scattered paperwork from the crash and kept it as treasure. The story then moves forward fifty years; Romania is an unsettled country, with high inflation and riots. Andrei’s son, Lucian, rediscovers the papers from the plane crash in the garden shed. They have codes on them which look complicated, and he takes them to a friend to be deciphered.
Another leap forward in time and Lucian’s daughter has recently made some shocking discoveries about her parentage. While seeking answers, she travels to Romania to meet people who once knew her family, but is quickly entangled in sinister events. Shani must uncover the last days of her father’s life to save herself and those she has begun to care for.
Although this is a stand alone story, much of the narrative that surrounds Shani is connected to her story from a previous book, Cascade, which I haven’t read. I expected it to have a greater significance to this story but the author took the tale in a different direction.
The small number of characters works well, as does most of their dialogue, but on occasions I felt there was too much written in broken English or Romanian which became jarring to read. Just a sprinkling of both would have been preferable.
While there was a plausible twist to the end, which I liked, I felt that there were missed opportunities to make the story a chilling thriller through more layered suspense and tension.
Overall this was an okay read for me, though not quite the spine-chiller that I had hoped for.
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1944, and a Lend-Lease B-25 with its Soviet aircrew falls from the sky above Timişoara, Romania. Andrei Bălcescu, while camping out that night on his father’s smallholding, finds a battered folder amidst the plane’s wreckage.
Fifty years later, Andrei’s adopted son, Lucian, rediscovers the folder and its eight pages of encrypted material in a garden shed. He visits a childhood friend, who makes a start on cracking the code. Barely a week later, Lucian suspects he is being followed by persons unknown.
Present day, and Lucian’s daughter, Shani Bălcescu, a promising Oxford academic, continues to search for information on her family. When she receives a text from an individual claiming to have known her parents, curiosity takes her to Timişoara, where she soon regrets her impulsive nature. Witness to the aftermath of a vicious murder, and hearing that both Oxford and her home city of Prague have been ‘visited’, Shani knows that to leave Romania would prove fatal without first piecing together her father’s movements days before she was born.