LIE TO ME by JT Ellison
Mira Books; 9/5/17
CBTB Rating: 4.5/5
The Verdict: twisty plotting & pure entertainment
There’s no better description for J.T. Ellison’s forthcoming LIE TO ME than the term “popcorn reading.” Addictive and binge-worthy, LIE TO ME is a psychological thriller that begs to be devoured in one sitting, and is practically built for the big-screen. In turns cinematic, edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, and occasionally just a touch outrageous, LIE TO ME is purely entertaining and fun crime fiction reading material—if your idea of fun involves death, deceit, and betrayal, that is. Twisty, chilling, and utterly unputdownable, this domestic thriller will be an excellent choice for readers who loved BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B.A. Paris.
They built a life on lies.
Sutton and Ethan Montclair's idyllic life is not as it appears. They seem made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.
Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.
As always, I’ll be perfectly honest: I was a bit skeptical of this book at first. Even within the world of domestic thrillers, where liberties with reality can sometimes be taken for dramatic effect, LIE TO ME is a bit more over-the-top than its peers. I’ll be the first to admit, I tend to be cautious when picking up crime books that seem too far-fetched. Typically, my favorite crime books are those that can take very ordinary, relatable people and push them to their limits. I am always fascinated by the ability of crime authors to show us readers something true about ourselves - maybe something we don't even want to acknowledge - in the fiction they write. For this exact reason, I tend to shy away from crime books that seem too dramatic—I'm never quite sure if they'll resonate with me the way I'd like them to. Well, come to find out, I can't relate to much about LIE TO ME by J.T. Ellison (which is probably a good thing), and I loved it nonetheless.
What at first appeared to me to be “far-fetched” I quickly came to consider better qualified as “cinematic.” Author Ellison has a knack for taking an all-too common situation - a marriage that has suffered tragedies and splintered as a result - and turning it into a larger-than-life story that is really just so entertaining. Yes, this book places readers inside a marriage that is a bit extreme: husband and wife are both very good-looking, and they have a grandiose lifestyle that takes readers around the world and into the very glamorous life of two highly successful authors. But all extremities aside, this book achieves what it sets out to do in spades: it hooks you from page one and doesn’t let go. From dark marital secrets to conspiracies and betrayals, LIE TO ME is every bit a page turner and a deliciously extravagant psychological thriller.
To heighten the cinematic drama of this book, Ellison weaves in a fantastic - and genuinely creepy - touch: an unnamed individual who narrates short chapters interspersed throughout the novel. This individual is spiteful and unlikable, and tells the reader as much right off the bat. Filled with bitter anger, he or she guides readers through the downfall of Sutton and Ethan’s perfect life—and may have orchestrated the downfall themselves. This little touch does so much to add to the tension and darkness of LIE TO ME, and I found myself on the edge of my seat as I worked to figure out who this narrator might be.
The sharp-eyed reader will also be thrilled to discover that LIE TO ME isn’t just a twisty-turny thriller, although it’s most definitely that as well. It’s also a puzzle. Ellison has done a fantastic job dropping breadcrumbs for readers to follow—a very subtle map that will lead readers to the truth at the heart of Sutton and Ethan’s marriage. I never could have predicted the twists and turns that this story would take, but I was hooked on the way Ellison leads readers expertly towards the truth. LIE TO ME has a fantastic balance of unpredictable plot twists and clues that readers can piece together in pursuit of the truth—a pairing that is difficult to achieve, and makes for an addictive and engaging reading experience when done right, as it is here.
All in all, I loved LIE TO ME. This book has that something that keeps you desperate for more. When I wasn’t reading LIE TO ME, I was counting down the minutes until I could pick it back up again. As I shared on Instagram, I was also busy coming up with a fairly elaborate theory to explain the crimes at the heart of this book—and my theory turned out to be (mostly) correct! This psychological thriller is pure, addictive fun—readers looking for a completely absorbing and cinematic domestic thriller will find a perfect match in LIE TO ME.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions my own.
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: MIRA (September 5, 2017)
Find LIE TO ME on Amazon.