Blog tour: Where The Truth Lies by M.J. Lee
Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Where The Truth Lies blog tour. I’ve teamed up with Canelo quite a few times this year, and I’m glad I was invited to participate in the blog tour for this book, because it’s a corker. It’s the first of M.J. Lee’s novels that I’ve read, but I certainly think I might have discovered a new favourite author in this one, as his writing style is highly absorbing.
More on that later, though. First of all I want to tell you a little bit more about When The Truth Lies, and share an excerpt which introduces Ridpath’s character beautifully and will have you running to add the book to your basket.
The case was closed. Until people started dying… The unputdownable first DI Ridpath crime thriller from bestseller M.J. Lee.
A killer in total control. A detective on the edge. A mystery that HAS to be solved.
DI Thomas Ridpath was on the up in the Manchester CID: a promising young detective whose first case involved capturing a notorious serial killer. But ten years later he’s recovering from a serious illness and on the brink of being forced out of the police. Then people start dying: tortured, murdered, in an uncanny echo of Ridpath’s first case.
As the investigation intensifies, old bodies go missing, records can’t be found and the murder count grows. Caught in a turf war between the police and the coroner’s office, digging up skeletons some would rather forget, Ridpath is caught in a race against time: a race to save his career, his marriage… And lives.
When a detective goes missing everything is on the line. Can Ridpath close the case and save his colleague?
Here’s that excerpt I promised:
“How’d it go?” His wife was taking off her coat in the hallway, shouting through to the living room.
He was reading the blue file given to him by Margaret Challinor. She was right. A coroner’s officer did everything and anything: from informing families about the death of loved ones to attending crime scenes, investigating cases to chasing down witnesses, visiting mortuaries to liaising with doctors. The job was a glorified social worker cum private investigator cum general dogsbody.
She appeared in the doorway, her straight black Chinese hair still damp from the rain. “Didn’t you hear me? How’d it go?”
He looked up from the blue file. “Charlie Whitworth and John Gorman are looking out for me, but the deputy chief has ‘reservations’.” He formed his fingers into sarcastic quote marks.
“What does that mean?”
“It means they want me to be the coroner’s officer for three months.”
“What does one of them do?”
He held up the blue file. “I’m just finding out. But it should be a less stressful job, with regular hours. An easier life.”
“You’re not getting a desk job at headquarters? The least they owe you is a desk job.”
Ridpath shook his head. “I asked for one but there are none available. The cutbacks…” He looked away from her and back to his job description, hoping she would forgive him for the fib.
She sat down on the couch opposite. “You didn’t ask, did you? You asked to go back to work as a detective.”
How did Polly always know when he was lying? She would have made a great copper.
“Tom, you promised me.” She reached out to touch his hand. “Your health, it-”
He shrugged the hand off his arm. “The doctors said I was fit to work. I’ve been prodded and poked like the last buttie in the chip shop for the last nine months, Poll. I’ve been running and working out for the last three. Feel that.” He flexed his biceps. “Strongest I’ve ever been.” His voice softened. “I’ve got to get back to work. Can’t stand doing nothing anymore.”
“Can’t stand being around me, you mean?”
“It’s not about you. I can’t stand being treated like a child.”
“I’m just worried about you. The doctor said if you get a cold or flu, it could be dangerous.”
“He also said I was fit for work.”
She raised her voice. “Fit to go back to work. Not fit to run around Manchester chasing bloody nutters.”
A silence like a shroud of fog settled between them. Outside the window, the soft patter of pain on the cobblestones of the patio he had laid last week. Inside, the clock on the mantelpiece ticked loudly. Upstairs, the dull thud of his daughter’s music shook the ceiling.
Ridpath finally broke the silence. “I went into Eve’s bedroom this evening. She’s got pictures of half-naked Chinese men on her walls.”
“They’re not pictures of half-naked men. They’re pictures of half-naked boys. Korean boys.”
He looked at her, as if to say give me a break.
“It’s BTS, the latest Korean boy band. The craze is going around all the schools at the moment. Half my class wants to go to Korea. The other half haven’t got a clue where it is. At least it helps me teach geography.”
“I don’t like it. She’s only ten, for God’s sake.”
“She’s ten going on twenty-three. Girls grow up quicker these days.”
“I still don’t like it.”
“Well, if you want her to take them down, you can ask her yourself. I’m not going anywhere near that minefield.” She stood up. “Fancy a cup of tea?”
He put down the file. “Nah, I’m going to walk the dog.”
“We don’t have a dog.”
“He’s going to get walked anyway.”
She leant over and kissed him on the cheek. “Quiz night at the Horse and Jockey?”
“I thought you’d had enough of coming second?”
“Those bloody students can’t win every week. Anyway we’ve got a new team member, appeared on University Challenge a few years back.”
“So you and your mates have brought in a ringer?”
“Not a ringer. A buzzer. Could beat them tonight.”
“Can you drop in the offie on your way back from the pub, get some milk?”
He looked around for his coat. “I still don’t like those posters.”
“Well, if you want to start World War Three…” She left the rest of the sentence unfinished.
“What is it with girls today?”
“Oh, Mr. “Girls’ should know their place and it’s behind the sink” is showing his face, is he?”
“It’s not that, she’s only ten. They’re supposed to be into Barbie and stuff.”
“You’re treading on thin ice…”
He opened the door. “I’d better tread on it on the way to the pub. And it’s the naked men I worry about…”
“Naked boys, actually.” There followed a long sigh. “If you want, I’ll have a chat with her and see if she can’t find some different posters.”
“And wrap up before you go out. Wear the wool fleece with your coat over the top. And don’t forget to wear a scarf, the thick blue one…”
He made a face at her.
There was another long silence between them. This time it was Polly who broke it. “I don’t want to lose you, Ridpath. Eve doesn’t want to lose you. I don’t know what I’d do if…”
He reached over and held her tight. “I know, Poll, I know.”
If you’re interested in reading more about Where The Truth Lies, click on the cover above to check it out on Goodreads.
About the author:
M.J. Lee has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a university researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, TV commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.
He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the north of England, in London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning advertising awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and the United Nations.
While working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarters of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in the 1920s.
When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practising downhill ironing, single-handedly solved the problem of the French wine lake, and wishing he were George Clooney.
Thank you so much for visiting my blog today, and I hope you enjoyed this stop on the Where The Truth Lies blog tour. Another huge thank you to Ellie at Canelo for inviting me to participate, and make sure to check out some of the other bloggers who have posted recently – there have been some great posts in the past week, and I’m sure there will be during the rest of the tour too.
Have you read any of M.J. Lee’s other novels, and if so where would you recommend I start?