Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger

It’s often said that a picture paints a thousand words… but what if every single one is a lie?

In 1987, 36-year-old Sheila Shand was given a suspended sentence for killing her father. At her trial, it emerged that she and her mother and sister had been forced to shield brutal sadist Leslie Shand while he subjected them to a reign of terror, daily beatings and sexual abuse. Years later, journalist Amy Vaughan discovers a newspaper cutting about the Shand case while clearing out her dead mother’s flat. Concluding that they are related, she decides to visit Sheila’s mother Iris, who is in a care home.

Amy is curious about the elderly woman who pores endlessly over an album of family snaps because she has known, from an early age, that photographs tell lies. Her own mother, who suffered from Munchausen’s Syndrome By Proxy, used snaps of the daughter she’d made sick to try and keep the affections of Amy’s father, a charismatic but elusive conman. When she begins to investigate the Shand case, Amy realises that there is more to the murder of Leslie than the police ever unearthed, including two long-buried skeletons in woods near the family’s home…


‘Wilson handles a painful and difficult theme with sensitivity, courage and tact… triumphantly worthwhile.’
Literary Review

Laura Wilson’s psychological thrillers get better and better.’
The Times

‘A mean, compulsive thriller, where violence, child abuse, murder, incest, cruelty and long hidden family secrets mix together in a stew of passion and guilt.’
Independent on Sunday

‘Wilson is expert at turning the screws slowly and malevolently, and her uncomfortable stories of families in turmoil hit all the right buttons.’

‘Wilson is the equal of Rendell and Walters in exploring the dark depths of the twisted psyche. But she’s just as good at laying bare the emotions of damaged victims. A Thousand Lies is superb – creepy, moving and surprising.’

‘Brilliant psychological thriller… The suspense is exquisitely drawn out and the characters become completely alive on the page.’
Good Book Guide

‘Secures her place near the top of the crime writing Premiership.’
Birmingham Post

‘…takes no prisoners in its uncompromising force.’
Daily Express

‘Wilson writes with feeling and deep understanding about the secret violence that occurs at the heart of families and the dark shadows that lurk in the corners of the human mind.’