Book reviews: Spy the Lie | A Death in the Family | The Heart Broke In

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Our roundup of the latest releases

Spy The Lie

By Philip Houston, Michael Floyd And Susan Carnicero With Don Tennant

(Icon Books, £8.99) ***

Let’s say someone might have committed a crime. You’re asking him questions. Let’s say he’s OJ Simpson. How do you spot signs he might not be telling the truth? What should you ask him? This book, culled from the experience of three former CIA officers, gives you pointers. Guilty people often give odd, evasive answers. They try to find out how much you actually know. Your job is to catch them in the act of fishing for information. So you don’t ask Simpson: “Did you do it?” You say, “What happened at Nicole’s last night?” then watch him think.

A Death In The Family

By Karl Ove Knausgaard

(Vintage, £8.99) ****

In this superb Proustian — and also Nick Hornby-esque — novel, a Norwegian recounts his life in great detail. He manages to tell us about himself in several timescales – as a young boy, a teenager, a father – and pulls off the trick of telling stories inside other stories. That sounds technical. What I mean is, it’s great. He’s a bolshy sort of guy but you really like him. He tells us about trying to be cool, being in an awful band, snogging his girlfriend, hiding beer in the woods, his wife and kids, his parents, and it’s full of little stories about how life can go wrong. Beautifully done.

The Heart Broke In

By James Meek

(Canongate, £8.99) ****

Richie is a sleazy ex-pop star. He runs a reality TV show that’s like a teen version of The X Factor. He’s having an affair with a 15- year-old girl. He realises he’s lost the phone he uses to text her. He knows it’s somewhere in his house or garden where his wife or one of his children might find it. Meanwhile, Richie’s sister, Bec, decides to call off her engagement. She’s a scientist. She has infected herself with a parasite as part of her researches into a cure for malaria. The man she now doesn’t want to marry is a tabloid editor. Can you see what might happen? Lively and compelling.

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