Lies colour the air orange, guilt changes it to brown, then violence turns it black… the starting point for a gripping story of obsession, jealousy and a missing girl.
The Colour Of Lies comes from Lezanne Clannachan, from Fernhurst – published at £14.99 by Orion.
Anna knows what lies look like. She can see untruths spill from heads and colour the air. Only her sister knows about Anna’s synaesthesia and how she can read a person’s emotions – even when they’re trying to hide them.
When Anna gets a job as a mother’s help to a family whose niece Lily is missing, Anna is given the lost girl’s room and the mystery around Lily begins to haunt her.
As rumours and gossip surround the family, Anna becomes obsessed with the missing girl. But the more she learns, the fewer people she dares trust and the one the fingers are pointing at is the one person Anna knows to be innocent. She can see his colours. She just has to find a way to prove it...
“I had been interested in synaesthesia for a long time,” says Lezanne. “It is just one of those things that crop up, but to start with, I was thinking about a book about someone who is quite isolated, who doesn’t feel that she fits in or belongs.
“She is almost like a cuckoo and goes from family to family and becomes part of that family. She can dip in and dip out but never really becomes part of anything.
“But I knew there was something missing from the story. It took me a while, and then I realised that she was going to have synaesthesia. I just find it fascinating. It adds an extra layer to it. As a writer, it just allows me to have a bit of fun, this idea of a blurring of the senses, this idea of people who, say, hear a piece of music and have a taste experience or they might assign a colour to it, this idea that you listen to a violin and taste chocolate or whatever.
“They say that it is about one in 2,000 people that has synaesthesia, but some experts believe that it is actually a lot less rare than that, that it might be something like one in 300… because people just don’t know that they have got it. They just think it is normal to think of Tuesday and see a certain colour or a certain shape in the air.”
And so Lezanne gave synaesthesia to Anna.
“She has joined this family and the niece of the family has gone missing, a 17-year-old girl. She really gets drawn into the mystery. She even ends up being put in the girl’s bedroom, and she becomes fascinated by the father of the family.
“Everything is pointing in his direction. People are saying that he is not quite right. But with her synaesthesia, it is like she is better able to read body language.
“She can tell when someone is lying. She sees the colour orange, but she does not see that colour with him…”