Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear is a police procedural that overlaps with the psychological thriller genre. This story follows Met detective Cat Kinsella who is investigating why and how Alice’s
body is found close to her father’s pub.
Cat’s troubled past comes into play as it becomes obvious that Alice was murdered
and it is related to another woman vanishing eighteen years earlier. She wonders if her dad had something to do with Maryanne’s disappearance? Memories flood Cat, as a child of eight on a vacation in Ireland, she had to deal with why Maryanne had gone
missing and her dad’s denial of ever knowing the seventeen-year-old girl, creating tension between Cat and her father. She is wondering if her father could have murdered both Maryanne and Alice. Through her investigation she confronts secrets about
the women, her father, and her family life.
This debut novel delves into dark family secrets full of lies and revelations. It is interesting
how Frear combines the two genres to write a gripping story.
Elise Cooper: Why this genre?
Caz Frear: I loving reading police procedurals. I wanted to write one from the perspective of a young female detective. Then there was this huge story in the news about young girls needing to come to the
UK from Ireland. I thought how friends and family would not know where they were and they would not know the huge city of London.
Did you have any police experience?
CF: No - never! However, a friend put me in touch with a great police officer who has been invaluable. He keeps me on the straight
and narrow when it comes to procedure. I wouldn’t say I’m an absolute slave to accuracy when it comes to procedure, but when writing a page-turner, I simply can’t wait a week to get a DNA test result back. But it does need to feel authentic.
EC: Surrounding Cat is a team of detectives?
I hope they come to life. I did not want to write the team as dysfunctional, either having sexism, competition, or inappropriate behavior. I wanted to show them as a family of sorts where the only arguments are who makes the tea or steals someone’s
biscuits. Cat has them fulfill her needs because her family never has.
EC: How would you describe Cat?
CF: I hope readers are invested in her. I know I am attached to her. Cat is flawed, a bit overweight, and down on herself. I do not consider her a Superhero, but just a detective
trying to do her job. I’d describe Cat as an everywoman. She has some really big issues that she’s dealing with but she tries to get along with people and she wants to be liked as well as respected. There’s an element of her that
is still that eight-year-old girl in Ireland who has just found out that the world isn't a safe place.
EC: Did the setting
play a role in the book?
CF: London is a huge, busy, self-absorbed city where everybody goes about doing their own thing. Nobody is really looking at what the person
next to them is doing. A person can easily lose themselves.
EC: How would describe the supervising officer, Steele?
CF: I think she has a maternal feeling for Cat. She is level-headed. Being in her sixties she has chosen her job as her life.
EC: Did you base her on Supervisor Jane Tennison played by Helen Mirren in the show “Prime Suspect?”
No, not directly. Her personality is actually based on someone I used to work for years ago who was tiny, very dainty and feminine, but the toughest boss I ever had. Everyone loved her but they were slightly terrified of her. That said, Tennison is my all-time
favorite detective and there are definitely elements of her in Steele: the toughness, the ease with which she manages within a predominantly male environment. I would say Steele is a bit softer than Tennison though, less prickly, not as obsessed with
her proving herself. Steele knows she’s earned her stripes and doesn’t need to prove herself to anyone whereas I think Tennison thrived on confrontation and competition.
EC: You have the food of choice, Pop Tarts?
CF: I think that might have been in my sub-conscious. They
made their way to our shores when I was nine or ten. We weren’t allowed them that often, but considered it a treat when we ate them.
EC: Why the Tinkerbell pendent?
CF: I wanted to have a Disney item that a girl could be fixated on. I bought myself one when I got the book deal
and now think of it as a good omen.
EC: Your next book?
Book two still doesn’t have a name and I’m not quite sure on publication dates yet (2019 probably). It’s the same team of detectives investigating a brand-new case but the events of Sweet Little Lies are still casting their shadow
over Cat’s life. The plot focuses on a husband and wife. The husband is arrested for the murder of a young woman but he claims he is being framed and suspicion falls heavily on his wife. Who is telling the truth?