What Lies Within by Annabelle Thorpe

Gentle thriller set in Marrakech

My Rating:    3 out of 5

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They met at Cambridge University.  3 friends with shared times, but very different life experiences.  Years later they are all together in Morocco, and what seems a perfect opportunity to be together again, soon turns out differently.

what lies withinPaul and Freya hope that a project in Marrakech might help mend their frayed relationship, and spending more time with their university friend Hamad can only be good.  However very soon secrets they are hiding from each other start causing rifts, the ex-pat life in Morocco is not as fun as it appears, and local family feuds are even more problematic than the unhappy house spirits.  Add to this a murder or two, and the frenetic pace of Marrakech is soon reflected in the lives of the characters in the book.

This book starts off with a dramatic first chapter, then the pace slows down, with the emphasis being on the characters, and what is going on in their worlds, rather than action.  Indeed there were times when I found the book a little slow going, but by the end I was racing to find out what happens. 

Set mainly in Marrakech, the book contains a mix of genuine and fictional settings (at least I couldn’t find them on the Internet!).  I suspect the latter are very much based on real places.  There is plenty of walking around Marrakech, which gives the reader a fantastic feel of the city, its vivacity, and architecture.  As well as the sights and sounds of Marrakech the story includes visits out to genuine places such as Taroudant and Volubilis. 

3*s from me as it was an enjoyable read, but a little too slow for me.  Other readers, I imagine, will love the attention to detail, and the building up of the various relationships culminating in an exciting end.  There are certainly plenty of surprises, and this novel has certainly left me with a feel for everyday life in Marrakech. 

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