FATHER OF LIES reviews on Amazon, UK, France & Canada...

(5 stars) A creepy and enjoyable read

By Reader45

Format: Paperback

I very much enjoyed this book, so I can only agree with the other positive reviews. Very ‘Jamesian’ in places, with a hint of Ira Levin in the mix, also. The characterisations are strong, and I love the way the supernatural elements are handled. Criticisms? Honestly, not many, though if pressed I’d have to say that I preferred the England-based part of the story more than the Rome-based section. But that’s just me. Good ending, and it deserves a sequel!

(5 stars) Fantastic read!

By MooPa

Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

A thought provoking supernatural thriller that begins in rural England and ends in Rome. I read it in a couple of days as it was an exciting page turner. It is a mixture of history, legend and even some romance is incorporated into the tale. A highly recommended read.

(5 stars) For those who like their horror based on fact

By Maitch

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

A gripping read. I couldn't put it down. For those who like their horror based on fact, this is a great book with lots of twists and turns.


(5 stars) I was surprised to find I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was an easy read

By Gordon Ramel

Format: Paperback

I am not usually a fan of horror, except when it enters SciFi and not much even then. However I was gifted a copy of this and eventually started reading it. I was surprised to find I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was an easy read, what people call a page-turner as it flows quickly and has good internal integrity. I must admit that the lack of huge amounts irrelevant detail common these days in fantasy novels was really very pleasant. All told I am glad I was given a copy.

(5 stars) Father of Lies

By Julia Baker 

Format: Kindle Edition

Father of Lies is a really good read and I am sure a lot of research went into the plot. I can see this book being made into a film or mini tv series.

(5 stars) A clash between the forces of Good & Evil...

By Sasha Roberts

Format: Paperback

I came to this novel when my mate bought it for me as a birthday present, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Despite being a fan of the genre, most of my forays into horror literature haven't been very satisfying. Fortunately this was one of the rare exceptions.

Starting off with an ancient stone sarcophagus being unearthed in England and a dark force of some kind being released with fatal consequences (there's quite a high body count within just the first few chapters - lots of violence but never nasty or gratuitously graphic), three people set out to discover what evil has been unleashed and to uncover a Vatican conspiracy of silence surrounding the seemingly unstoppable sequence of events.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot (what I've described covers just the first couple of chapters) cos I think if you come to this story blind, as I did, you'll enjoy it's twists and turns all the more. All you need to know is that it's a great read and well worth your time.

The story certainly didn't go where I expected it to. It also doesn't outstay its welcome, which I find to be a common problem amongst these kinds of books (I'm looking at you, Stephen King). The characters are interesting and relationships develop in unexpected ways.

This is apparently the first in a planned trilogy. The biggest compliment I can offer is that I can't wait for the next book (Set of Time). I flew through this novel so quickly the pages nearly caught fire. I even paused my current box set to get through to the end!

If you're looking for something that is written by someone who clearly has done their research but never lets it get in the way of a great story that I could easily see being adapted for the screen, then you'd do far worse than to try Father of Lies...

(5 stars) An enthralling mix of 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'Rosemary's Baby'.

By Roxie Reviews (Roxie Prince)

Format: Kindle Edition

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

I read this book as part of my #yearofindiewomen.

This is an excellent book. I was immediately drawn into it and had a hard time putting it down. It's reminiscent of and a mixture between 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'Rosemary's Baby'. That's really a pretty perfect mixture for me.

I am not religious as an adult, and the religious influences I grew up with were mostly either non-denominational or, more often, Southern Baptist, so I only have a peripheral knowledge of Catholicism and even less of a grasp of the Church of England. Still, even with such a limited knowledge of these faiths, I was able to fully understand and enjoy this story. There is enough information to make me feel like I was learning but not too much to make feel like I was stupid or overwhelmed. Cairns handled this with perfect balance.

If you're a die-hard Catholic who can't step back and let fiction take you for a ride (suspend your disbelief, or perhaps belief in this case), this book might rub you a little raw. Like a lot of good fiction does, it challenges truths and shapes new realities out them which might be offensive to some.

The mystery/conspiracy in this novel is extremely well done. If you are disillusioned with organized religion (or a borderline conspiracy theorist, as I jokingly refer to myself) it's actually not that unbelievable. The paranormal element might make it a bit more iffy for some folks, but it didn't for me. If you really think about it, though, there's a lot of paranormal that happens in the Church, so why is this any more far fetched?

All of the characters are well fleshed out and have their own distinct personalities. Laura, our main protagonist, in particular, is a strong and bold woman who wants to not only carve her own niche in the church but bring women forward. She's a feminist, to the core, but she's also true in her faith. But she's no infallible. She's stubborn and repeatedly refuses help even when she clearly needs it, and her ability to judge the character of those around her is extremely flawed. She's often too headstrong for her own good.

I kind of wish there was a follow-up to this novel, just because I want to know what happens to these characters in the future, but that's selfish of me. I think Cairns ended this novel perfectly. I feared the ending might be disappointing because with a plotline like this novel has, it would be really easy to give this book a rushed, cliched, or anti-climatic ending, but she doesn't. It's nuanced and leaves the reader completely satisfied. This one anyway. 😃

So, if you're into twisting, turning, suspenseful mysteries with a religious and paranormal element, definitely pick this book up. It just might make it into my top ten books this year.

Read this review and more over on my blog at roxiewrites (dot) tumblr (dot) com.


(5 stars) ... go for but I was pointed towards this and loved it. A gripping storyline of the occult

By Amazon Customer (Frank Allen of The Searchers)

Format: Paperback

DaVinci type stories are not usually the thing I go for but I was pointed towards this and loved it. A gripping storyline of the occult, horrors from the past and the fight for power in the upper echelons of the Catholic church. A fascinating and well detailed plot and I didn`t spot the ending which is always a good sign. After reading this it occurred to me that it should either be a movie or a TV miniseries.


(5 stars) For the first few pages I thought that this was ...

By Tina C

Format: Kindle Edition

For the first few pages I thought that this was probably not the book for me.
But I was so wrong. By chapter two I was well and truly hooked.
It's not very often that a story can deliver such a surprising and innovative twist at the end. I certainly didn't expect the ending delivered here.
This story has many more miles to travel and I eagerly await the sequel.


(5 stars) Holiday book

By Linda

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This was my holiday book for two weeks, it was read in one week as I couldn't put it down! From the beginning to end it kept my imagination trapped in the pages. I am so looking forward to Serena Cairns next book.


(5 stars) A Lovely Winding of Serpentine Lore and Legend

By Jo

Format: Kindle Edition

Father of Lies is tastefully written without the need of intense macabre or blood dripping from the ceilings. It is a merging of ideas, and even churches and faiths. I particularly enjoyed that there is a strong female lead too. The author has effortlessly written her into the role as the book progresses.

All the characters have distinct personalities, and are well developed. I must confess that I find Benvenuti to be a fascinating character. He is so unlikeable, and seemingly beyond redemption, and yet, I felt that there was more to him than is revealed.

Father of Lies does not set a pace quite as brutal as with a typical Dan Brown novel, but there is plenty of intrigue, and suspense. The story includes a little of the familiar iconology and is a blending of different faiths, from Christian to Pagan. Being an avid reader of all things Maya, I was pleased to see even just passing reference to both Kukulcan, and Quetzalcoatl. There is a lovely winding of serpentine lore and legend, tightly bound with religion.

There is a chance that some Catholics or Christians might take offence to some of the subject matter. If you have a deep-seated faith, you may not want to read this novel as it will challenge your way of thinking. This is an alternative viewpoint that is not for everyone.

Having said that, and if you are still reading my review, I believe you will thoroughly enjoy this novel with all its twists. There is no cliffhanger, but there is plenty of scope to turn Father of Lies into a compelling series. I see great potential and I look forward to reading more from Serena Cairns.


(5 stars) Lies and Damn Lies!

By T. P. Bragg

Format: Kindle Edition

Father of Lies was sent to me prior to publication, and I regret not having read it until now. Although it begins as a dark supernatural tale, and hints at something evil and pervasive within the very fabric of the church, it is only when the action moves to Rome that we see to what extent it has influenced our beliefs. We follow a C of E female priest, as she locks horns (!) with the Vatican, in a fast-paced thriller to rival Dan Brown. Sit back, fasten your seat belt and prepare for a rollercoaster ride with a surprising twist.


(5 stars) Five Stars

By Shane Briant

Format: Kindle Edition

This is a major page turning thriller.


(5 stars) Don't miss this spine chiller, evil protects its own!

By Brian Braund

Format: Kindle Edition

As a fan of Serena's amazing short stories I awaited her first novel enthusiastically, I was not disappointed. Father of Lies is a spell binding tale of good versus evil. The tension chills from the beginning in rural England to the hallowed corridors of the Vatican. Deftly defined characters and atmospheric plot development left my skin crawling. i await the sequel with relish.


(5 stars) Buy this book!

By Carol Round

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

Great read, with an unusual plot line. Recommend!


(5 stars) Extraordinary . . . indelible . . .

By Claire P Gillon

Format: Paperback

Serena Cairns weaves a troubled and suspenseful tale in, Father of Lies. The beautifully written prose masks a malevolence just below the surface that gains in momentum until you find yourself hesitating to turn the page and learn the awful truth. If you think you’ve got it figured out – you’re wrong.
Unpredictable and absorbing from the outset, the storyline follows, Laura Coatman the female vicar of a rural parish where she becomes embroiled in a plot that can easily consume her.
Cairns has an exceptional talent for lulling the reader into following her mental signposts (the quaint village in Norfolk, the bright and determined vicar) – until you discover you’re off the beaten literary track and nothing looks familiar. With a supernatural element that leaves you unsettled, you’ll find yourself praying for absolution.
A MUST read for people who are willing to question their reality and aren’t afraid of the dark!


(5 stars) Take the plunge...

By David J E Newton

Format: Paperback

I first became aware of the author's published work in the fabulous anthology, 'Between Stops'. Serena Cairns’ style is, I suspect, honed from a thoughtful, passionate, detailed and fully self-honest approach to writing. In Father of Lies, she has managed to produce a wonderful read; full of classic, yet fresh and up-to-date characters that would not be out of place in anyone’s pantheon of favourite heroes and baddies. I enjoy stories that start off in rural settings (Norfolk, England is perfect, of course) and then expand to, well, that would be a plot-spoiler. I heartily recommend this book – be prepared for old memories to be re-stirred, for, who knows, we are all touched in some dark way by this book’s storyline and excellent twists and turns.

(5 stars) Brilliant!

By Becky P.

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I couldn't put this book down. Serena creates characters that you identify with. Everyone at some point has felt a shiver down their spine, heard unseen footsteps behind them, or felt invisible eyes watching... And Serena weaves a story that pulls you in, and awakens these feelings. I was hooked from the first page. This novel tells of horror like Graham Masterton, suspense like James Herbert and takes you on a magical mystery tour like Dan Brown. I can't wait to read more!


(5 stars) By Peter

Format: Paperback

Neat plot with great twist. Well paced page turner with a light touch on time, place and circumstance.


(5 stars) Thoroughly enjoyed it! Can't wait for the sequal,

By John Bass

Verified Purchase

This review is from: Father of Lies (Paperback)

Well done! Thoroughly enjoyed it! Can't wait for the sequal !!

(5 stars) RosariesBaby.

By Andy B "'Oh behave!'" (Manchester) 

Verified Purchase

This review is from: Father of Lies (Kindle Edition)

Not since Father Ted had money 'resting' in his bank account has the Catholic Church been quite so devious and dastardly. What begins as a creepy English ghost story ends in the Vatican in this exciting page turning theological fantasy. I am not a fan of Dan Brown's writing, I always found his stories so ludicrous and too fantastic. Serena Caines sensibly goes for the supernatural and the whole incredible story works a treat. Characterisation is good, especially the baddies. The horror and suspense is well written but it's her powers of description that stand out. Her Rome especially is painted in such beautiful colours. A first novel? Oh I'm impressed.

(5 stars) A thriller that reads like the love child of The Omen and The Da Vinci Code. By S Cornish

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

The Father of Lies is a thriller that reads like the love child of The Omen and The Da Vinci Code. The story starts out with a setting like a good old English horror tale: a medieval church, a hidden crypt, a couple of mysterious deaths. The main protagonist, female vicar Laura Coatman, though, hints at something a little different and the arrival of the sinister Monsignor Benvenuti kicks off a plot that grows into something much bigger than anything so parochial. Almost by stealth the reader realises things have turned through ninety degrees as the story romps from rural England to London and on to Rome, leading to the uncovering of a secret evil within the Holy Roman Church itself.



By Miles Synamagik

Format: Paperback

This a nicely written and skillfully paced book from Serena Cairns. I don't read a huge amount of fiction, but FATHER OF LIES held my interest.
I thought it would conclude a certain way and then I was pleasantly surprised when it ended in a manner that was no less satisfying.
Well done and recommended!

(5 stars) A masterclass in fantasy.

By Eleanor

Format:Kindle Edition

A supernatural story that reels you in gently and has you hooked from the start. Serena Cairns is a master of fantasy fiction, and I look forward to reading the second book in the series. As one of the proofreaders I have been through this book multiple times, and the story still keeps me enthralled. Brilliant first novel!


(5 stars) ... read this book in an earlier draft and thoroughly enjoyed it, terming it a "real page turner"

By Weaverman

Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

I was lucky enough to read this book in an earlier draft and thoroughly enjoyed it, terming it a "real page turner". Now, having read the finished product I can endorse my earlier opinion 100%. Serena Cairns totally fulfils the promise of her earlier short stories with this gripping tale of something nasty lurking beneath the church (with both a small and a capital "c"). The characters ring true and in the true tradition of the masters and mistresses of macabre fiction the unlikely and the unbelievable is made believable. I'm a seasoned reader of fantastic fiction and I am happy to admit that this book really delivers the goods - and made me squirm! I hope a sequel is planned. Highly recommended.


(5 stars) A powerful page-turner of a book

By Ms Vivien E Payne


This is a powerful page-turner of a book with a strong female central character. The supernatural element is wonderfully interwoven with the narrative, giving the whole story a dark and unsettling tone. If you like your spine well and truly chilled, then you'll love this book - I certainly did.



(5 stars) If you enjoy Dan Brown's books

By S. Christopoulou


If you enjoy Dan Brown's books, but can do without the travel guide descriptions, this is it. A real page- turner


(5 stars) I think it's excellent. I bought my copy from Heffers Bookshop in ...


Format:Kindle Edition

Having just finished the book Father of Lies, well, what can I say? I think it's excellent. I bought my copy from Heffers Bookshop in Cambridge . At first I was not sure about the story but, after reading the first few pages, I was totally hooked.
Having read quite a few books, it was one I found I did not want to put down because I was anxious to see how it ended.
I enjoyed the many twists and turns, and felt that you never knew what was round the corner.
The description of the places had been well-researched, and the way it was set out makes you feel that you want to visit those places.
The end of the story surprised me, but I knew it made sense, and I think it could become a source of discussion about the Catholic Church.

To sum it up: Serena Cairns is a great author, and the ideas that she comes up with are well thought out, and I cannot wait for her next book to be published. If it is as good as the one I have just read, I will be well satisfied.


(5 stars) i gave this book to a friend who also thought it a good read.

By christina


supernatural story,well worth reading.i gave this book to a friend who also thought it a good read.


(5 stars) Typical Serena Cairns. Your spine will tingle and your ...

By Shaun Jackson


Typical Serena Cairns. Your spine will tingle and your blood turn to ice. Be warned.


(5 stars) Five Stars

By Mr. P. J. Holbrook

Format:Kindle Edition

Suggesting this to all my friends as a great read, just wish I had more friends!     


(4 stars) The pace of the story is excellent, even a little too fast moving in places

By Skylark

Verified Purchase

This review is from: Father of Lies (Paperback)

It really was hard to put this down. The pace of the story is excellent, even a little too fast moving in places! Very reminiscent of old horror movies, with fantastic atmosphere and the chilly feeling of something evil approaching. I would have liked the action to linger longer in the church and village setting before moving to Rome, and there were certain scenes that may have been more effective had they been more descriptive. However, I'd recommend this to anyone.


Sandra White Reading your book in the bath at 1.30 in the morning because I just can’t put it down ! Fantastic!

Ian Jennings Serena Cairns, a damned good author, deserves to be recognized in the US, as much as she is in the UK.
Her thriller, 'Father of Lies', grips from the start, and poses questions in need of urgent answers.
Check out 'Father of Lies'; a good read from start to finish.


BETWEEN STOPS reviews on &


Bite-sized chunks, very edible (4 stars)

By Graham Higson on 29 July 2014

Format: Kindle Edition

Review policy: if I can't award 3 or more stars then I don't post a review. I mark on technical considerations; I will not slate a book just because I don't like a genre or a story, unlike many people who post so-called "honest" reviews. If I feel there's an issue then I will try to contact the author for clarification. Fairness, not vindictive point-scoring, is how I work.
The book:
I was given a copy of Between Stops for review purposes. This is a collection of over three dozen short stories, each tending to have sinister and wryly comedic undertones, some with an unexpected twist ending. I see it as easy reading at bedtime or for a little escapism such as, well, when between travel stops.
I particularly liked the following examples:
Always Like a Stranger by Viv Laine, which is a twist on the ubiquitous child abuse tales.
A Taste of Night by Serena Cairns, with its wonderfully-evocative descriptions such as "Colours played beneath her lids, changing, swirling, dancing to the hum of insects, the music of summer."
The Legend of the Lone Ranger by Alastair Keen, a writer with a sense of humour.
The Many Deaths of Emily Fitzherbert by Simon Cornish.
Getting Out by Eleanor Piper.
It's difficult to judge any anthology unless the stories are linked in some way or are about one character, or at least written by the same author, whereby the reader may witness some degree of character development or catharsis by the end. Because Between Stops comprises different stories by different writers, each with their own individual style, my score of 4 stars is merely an average and one which should be seen as a very high ranking for this genre.


Wonderfully created. (5 stars)

By Shane Briant "ShaneBriant"on September 28, 2014

Format: Paperback

I loved this book. Each and every short story was a delight. Think of them as a delicious entree - easing consumed on short journeyes. Hence 'Between Stops.' I was reminded of Graham Greene's short stories


An excellent anthology of short horror tales, required reading for afficianados. (5 stars)

By Bruce G. Hallenbeckon August 26, 2014

Format: Paperback

BETWEEN STOPS is a first-rate horror anthology specializing in very short stories with a sting in their "tale," ala O Henry. My favorites include "Footsteps" and "A Taste of Night," both by Serena Cairns, whose mastery of the language informs all of her stories and makes them the most compelling in the book. Simon Cornish and all the authors contribute fine work and I especially enjoyed Cornish's "The Death of Emily Fitzherbert." But Cairns can create an atmosphere like very few authors writing today, with hints of Lovecraft, Machen, Benson, Crawford and other classical horror writers dripping from her bloodied pen. This book belongs on the shelf of every fan of the short horror tale, and it's a great introduction to those who are not (yet.).


A touch of the "Tales of the Unexpected" (4 stars)

By Netty18 on 2 July 2014

Format: Kindle Edition

Between Stops is a collection of 37 little stories. Some should be classed as short and some very short. They are great to read on the bus/train – literally between stops. The book is well presented and offers a variety of themes from the gruesome/macabre to whimsical humour. Each of the 5 authors put their own style on their offerings. It may be unfair to choose a favourite but I really liked Alastair Keen's stories. The Fireman dealt with the still sensitive issue of the holocaust but Swan Lake and The Legend of the Lone Ranger add that necessary touch of humour.
It's a veritable pot pourri of shorts that you can dip into when you don't have time to give to a full length novel. Bite size chunks of fiction that you can enjoy anywhere – anytime. But beware, some may be better not read before you go out alone walking the dog in the dark!


Well written and interesting. Lots of different concepts and interesting short stories. A good read! (5 stars)

By John on 16 July 2014

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Great book of short stories. Beautifully written stories and also with some off the wall concepts and views on the world (and other worlds) to make you think and want to keep reading. And because they are short stories you can pick it up and read a bit at any time you want. And each time is interestingly different. I will certainly check out these writer's other works!


A very well written book (5 stars)

By M A W GOOD on 2 July 2014

Format: Paperback

A very well written book, especially if you are a person who likes short stories. When I saw it on Amazon, I was in two minds about buying it, but decided to give it a go. Once I received the book, and began to read it, I found it was a book you could not put down and reading the short stories was more relaxing. It is an ideal book if you are travelling and you want to finish a story before you reach your destination. Some stories I enjoyed more than others, but, in my opinion, they are all good stories to suit different tastes. I would recommend this book.


Five Stars (5 stars)

By Carol Round on August 10, 2014

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Wonderful tales with a twist!




WYRD STORIES review on


Great book (5 stars)

By hairyforester on 23 Aug. 2013

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Great book, lots of interesting, innovative fantasy stories from some good authors. Well worth a look at this price, certainly!