Once Upon a Lie

  • Author Lisa Ballantyne
  • Narrator Sarah Barron
  • Publisher Little, Brown Book Group
  • Run Time 9 hours and 42 minutes
  • Format Audio
  • Genre Crime and mystery fiction.

Listen to a sample

What to expect





Clare and Lorraine have been friends since college and trust each other with their lives. So when Lorraine, a single mother, needs a much-needed night away without her children, she calls on Clare and her husband Sam to look after them. They’re godparents – what could go wrong?

While Clare and Sam believe the children to be asleep, the unimaginable happens and Clare finds baby Theo lifeless in his room. The police are called. Statements are taken. But the biggest nightmare for any parent is about to spiral out of control.

Because a lie has been told. An enormous and terrible one.

Out of Clare, Sam and Lorraine, one of them isn’t telling the truth . . .

A thrilling, emotional page-turner about the lies we tell to keep the ones we love safe, from the Richard & Judy Book Club bestselling author.

What everyone is saying about Lisa Ballantyne’s thrillers:

‘Gripping’ Clare Mackintosh

‘Sophisticated, suspensefu’ Lee Child

‘Tense’ Sunday Times

‘Unsettling and compulsive’ Rosamund Lupton

‘Moving’ Guardian

‘Emotionally intense’ Richard & Judy Book Club

‘Grips like a vice’ Daily Mail

‘Thought-provoking’ Gilly Macmillan

‘Tense’ Rachel Abbott

‘A page-turner’ Daily Express

‘I couldn’t get this book out of my head’ Jenny Colgan

‘Outstanding’ Daily Record

Critics Review

  • Gripping, tense and moving

    Claire McGowan
  • A tense and shocking thriller that has the added treat of Lisa Ballantyne’s deft prose. I loved it

    Renee Knight
  • A powerful, rich read: it’s a page-turner of a thriller, raising urgent moral questions, and yet at the same time, at its heart it’s a tender, emotional exploration of friendship and love. I couldn’t put this beautifully crafted, beautifully written book down; and the complex, flawed characters stayed with me for a long time. I loved it.

    Saskia Sarginson
  • As compelling as it is heart-breaking, a beautifully crafted story of unspeakable tragedy that tests the characters’ relationships to their limits. I was absolutely gripped from the first page to the last. Highly recommended!

    Karen Dionne
  • Thrilling . . . so tense

    Crime Monthly
  • Praise for Lisa Ballantyne:

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