book blog · book review

Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

34064624Liza Jones has thirty days to write the thriller that could put her back on the bestseller list. In the meantime, she’s struggling to start a family with her husband, who is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. With stresses weighing down in both her professional and her personal life, Liza escapes into writing her latest heroine.

Beth is a new mother who suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home alone providing for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, Beth sets out to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes it, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the river.

Then the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the Hudson and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including herself. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.

*Synopsis and photo from Goodreads

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*I would like to thank the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley for the copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

I know, I know, another missing person in the story. What can I do, I just can’t get enough of them. Don’t worry, it will be the last one. For this month, at least. Anyway, this time, I’ll talk about a book by Cate Holahan, Lies She Told. The novel tells the story of Liza Cole, a mystery novel writer who’s been pressured by her publisher to write a new bestseller instead of the so-so’s she’s been writing lately. As if that’s not enough to give her stress, she’s been spending a lot of money for an experimental fertility treatment. But her husband, David, is so preoccupied with work and sick with worry about his missing best friend, Nick, that he doesn’t have time for his wife anymore. David has been distant for the past few months but Nick’s disappearance just added distance to the already strained relationship. Liza then decided to just focus on her novel about Beth, a wife who has just given birth and discover that her husband is cheating on her. Filled with anger coupled with the need to have revenge, she finds herself one night dumping the body of her husband’s lover down the river. Just as Liza is starting to feel confident about her new novel, Nick’s body was finally found – on the river. What’s curious is how his death is so much similar from the mistress’ death from Liza’s novel. How could she possibly know about it? Is it just a mere coincidence? Whatever it is, Liza is determined to know the truth.

First, I love the lovely book cover. Second, great mystery stories. Yep, stories. Which lead to third, the clever concept: a novel within a novel! That’s 2 gripping stories in a book. Sounds good, right? One is the story about Liza, the author, and the other one is about the new novel she’s writing. A novel that unconscious to Liza is so close to what’s happening in her life. The book was told in two alternating storylines between Liza and Beth which can be confusing at the first few chapters but as soon as I get used to the switching of stories, I am beyond hooked. At first, there is not much evident connection between Liza and Beth, the latter is an imagined character, anyway, as far as Liza is concerned. But as the story of both women progressed, it is clear that Beth is so much more than just a product of Liza’s imagination. The way how fictional story intertwined with Liza’s world is just brilliant.

Both protagonists are unreliable in their own way that it took me a while to warm to them. Despite that, the interesting premise is enough for me to keep on reading, knowing there will be some exciting things ahead. It didn’t disappoint. Liza’s story is engaging enough to keep my interest, but add Beth’s and it doubled the excitement and the thrill. I am left wondering which story is real and which one is not. It is not short of mystery and suspense, either. Well, at least for Liza’s part. Just when you thought you had things figured out, a new information will surface that’s bound to surprise and shock the reader, and eventually take the story into a new turn. I may have some reservation about how Beth’s story ended, but given how it’s not really the main story, then I guess that’s okay. On the other hand, I think Liza’s story ended, well…great. I specifically like the intense confrontation between Liza and David. I believe the author did a good job in writing a convenient conclusion but still somewhat believable.

Overall, Lies She Told is a cleverly written mystery thriller novel that’s a sure treat for mystery lovers out there. It may be predictable at some point but it is full of surprising twists and turns that make this one definitely worth a read. It is my first Cate Holahan novel, but I wouldn’t mind a reading second, and third…

RATING: 4.5/5

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