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My Sister and Other Liars

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Original Language: English | 357 pp. | May 2017

2 Seas Represents: Dutch and Nordic Rights.

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER | SUSPENSE

What happens if you forget your own secrets?

Sam is 17, starving herself and longing for oblivion; Jena is 30, left brain-damaged and desperate to remember. This is the story of two sisters and the secrets and lies at the heart of their world.

Piecing Jena’s fragmented words together, sneaking looks into police evidence, Sam resolves to find her sister’s attacker. At any cost.  

A chocolate box full of old photos forces her to speak and to remember.  But this journey of discovery also means a loss of innocence for Sam, with devastating consequences.  

GIRL, INTERRUPTED (Susanna Kaysen) meets WE WERE LIARS (E. Lockhart) in this  domestic noir crime novel, told from the unusual perspective of a teenage anorexic, where layers are pulled away until the family home is revealed as the most dangerous place of all.

It will appeal to readers of Elizabeth Haynes, Sharon Bolton, Lucy Whitehouse and Louise Doughty.

It is New Year’s Eve and Samantha Hoollihan is dying. She lives on a hospital ward and is in the advanced stages of anorexia, like her fellow sufferers, she thinks of ‘Ana Unit’ as her best friend. She just wants to forget and disappear.

But oblivion is not what Clive, the hospital director, has in mind. He has decided on an unusual form of therapy: Sam must talk for a set time, or she will be force-fed through a naso-gastric tube. It is a brutal tactic, and also Sam’s last chance for survival.

If only she wanted that.

But something changes. Sam’s mother dies and her personal effects are brought to the hospital, including a chocolate box full of photos. Clive gives Sam the box, and asks her to talk about a photo, any photo for 15 minutes. Or be force-fed. She has to choose.

As Sam gazes at the images and memories come flooding in, she finally begins to talk about the day everything changed; her sixteenth birthday. On that day, eighteen months ago, Sam’s beautiful sister Jena was attacked and left brain damaged. The police had no leads and the case was cold. Jena’s broken brain meant she was unable to say who had attacked her, though is her memory really as unreliable and fragmented as it seems?

The novel is  told through two timelines: the first at Bartlet hospital, now. Sam, in the final stages of anorexia, begins controversial therapy in a final bid to save her life.

The second, on a council estate in Ipswich, 18 months before. Sam becomes an amateur detective, and enters a dangerous world, where everything she thinks she knows turns out to be a lie.

Praise for Ruth Dugdall and NOWHERE GIRL:

‘Ruth Dugdall’s novels are intelligent and gripping, with a sophisticated psychological sensibility. She is a huge talent.’ – Sophie Hannah

‘An absolute tour de force that left me thinking for days’ – Alex Marwood

‘a chilling psychological thriller with a shocking twist. I read it one day and couldn’t put it down’. – Louise Millar

‘The menace is skilfully intensified by Dugdall… a twisting labyrinth of child-trafficking and police cover ups.’  – The Sunday Times Newsletter

‘A gripping read of every parent’s nightmare.’ – Lisa Cutts

‘Doesn’t so much prod the seedy underbelly of Europe as rip it wide open.’ – Mike Craven

‘Timely and beautifully-written… Highly recommended.’ – Mark Edwards