Review: Where They Lie (Nora McTavish #1) by Joe Hart


Print Length: 234 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (May 1, 2023)

From Family is content for Kaylee Volk. Her vlogs celebrate a happy home with her husband and their three foster children, Bethany, Mason, and Andrea. Everything is perfect until the day the family’s private plane plummets into the ocean. Only Kaylee manages to survive—with a shocking revelation: Andrea did it.

This is particularly devastating for Nora McTavish, a child protective services agent who is already familiar with Andrea’s troubled history. Given Nora’s own traumatic childhood, how could she not have sensed the profound darkness festering within the girl? What did she miss? Could she have stopped Andrea?

As Kaylee struggles to cope with the crushing loss, Nora’s investigation begins. But her guilt soon turns to unease. Secret by secret, Nora pieces together a Volk family puzzle that’s more twisted than anyone saw—one far from the picture-perfect life Kaylee sold to the public. And the closer Nora looks, the more disturbing it gets.


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I tried really hard to get into this one, having to pick it up and set it aside multiple times before I was finally able to get through it. The premise of this one is interesting; however, the execution just falls flat. 

To begin with, a lot about Nora doesn't make sense at all. Sure, she has a tragic backstory, and it's her motivation for going into social services, but aside from that, I didn't feel a connection to her. She has a boyfriend, who, from all appearances, cares about her, but all she can think about is how much she doesn't like him. She doesn't like him doing her dishes, but she doesn't like him touching her unless, of course, they are sleeping together, but then she doesn't like him spending the night either. She consistently says she needs to talk to him about this or that but never actually follows through. She also drinks a lot, which on its own wouldn't be a huge deal, but she rarely takes the time to sober up before getting behind the wheel of her car, which is a huge issue for me. 

Then there is her habit of investigating what happened to Kaylee and her family despite the fact that she is not a member of law enforcement and therefore has no reason for doing so other than to fulfill her own curiosity. Seriously. She questions people, she visits crime scenes, she takes things that could be considered evidence, and no one cares? No one stops her? But she's also supposedly an overworked social worker, right? So what is going on with all of her other cases? Are those families being ignored so she can appease her curiosity? 

But still, I suffered through hoping for something, anything to boost the star rating on this one, but then it ended in a way that still has me shaking my head. However, even though this one didn't work for me, it may work for others so if it appeals to you, give it a chance. You may enjoy it more than I did. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                          Where They Lie is available on
                                         (for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)

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