By: J.T. Ellison
Publication Date: 9/5/2017
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
From No One Knows (2016) to the present with her latest standalone.
From the southern town of Franklin, Tennessee to glamorous streets of Paris, and Hemingway’s old haunts, talented storyteller J. T. Ellison delivers a gripping domestic suspense thriller. LIE TO ME – the highly anticipated story of need and desire. Of betrayal, secrets, lies, and danger.
Reminiscent of Gone Girl (even better), two writers' lives set on a downward course driven by lies, secrets, evil, and revenge.
Love, the author’s journey, the literary references, and her passion. From the inspiration, the setting, and the final words, which jump off the page. (not sure how the author can crank out so many books, and travel – she is superwoman)!
Two ultimately unreliable narrators. The third one is freaky, creepy. Watch your back. Trust no one.
“Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.”— George Santayana
As the book opens we meet a nameless and faceless demented person. She/he is talking to the reader. This person informs us we are not going to like them. Stealing, killing, manipulating, and leaving a trail of destruction.
Everyone is powerless.
Next, there is a body in the woods. It has been there for six days before she was found. Who is this body burned and left to decay?
Moving along we meet a literary power couple. Ethan and Sutton Montclair. They made a powerful and attractive couple. Looks, brains, and success. However, all is not so perfect behind this façade.
Their son, Dashiell had died. SIDS. (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). He was not even six months old. Things were not the same after this. Their marriage and relationship were on the rocks.
Presently, Ethan finds a note from Sutton stating she has gone away. She is unhappy. She asks him to forgive her for being a coward and instructs him not to look for her.
She was gone.
He deserved this. He was selfish. (A narcissist) However, why would she leave without her things? Her laptop, and phone. These things were her lifeline. She was a writer.
Frantic, he must call her friends. They would know. Rachel, a yoga teacher. Ellen the head of library sciences at Vanderbilt, Filly (Phyllis), and Ivy. Ivy, a self-employed stock broker- was out of town on business and she was Sutton’s closest friend and confidant for the last three years.
Then, of course, the bloody mother, Siobhan. They do not get along but she receives a monthly check from her daughter.
We soon learn there were cracks and fissures in this domestic house of bliss. Was Ethan abusing her? There had been multiple domestic calls. What was missing?
Ethan thought he was the best writer. However, he had not produced anything since the baby’s death. Sutton had sustained them with her historical romance, which he never gave her the credit or respect.
Sutton never wanted children. Ethan knew heirs were simply part of the things that should be expected from someone of his standing.
However, he got desperate. He had made a mistake.
He loved Sutton. If she did not show up, he would call the police. It was the anniversary of their son’s death.
From beauty and the beast. A love and hate relationship. From then to now.
Most of his family money was gone now, eaten up by the Victorian house they purchased, the renovations, and no writing. An advance paid back, humiliated in the industry and social media. He relied on Sutton’s income to support them. He simply had not been able to write a word since Dashiell’s death. He resented his wife. She resented him. They blamed one another.
He needs a lawyer. The cops always look at the husband first.
Their lives had unraveled. The affair, the death of the baby, the book cancellation, and now Sutton’s disappearance.
He had not told her the truth.
Where could she be? And who is the woman they found dead? What about her friends? Is Sutton dead or alive?
What dark secrets does Sutton hold? Money missing. An investigation.
Sergeant Roy Moreno and Holly Graham. However, Holly does not seem to think Ethan is the culprit. She has to find out more about the stalker, the friends, and where Sutton could have disappeared to.
However, was it really SIDs? Ethan had lost his son, his marriage, his wife. His life. Are the friends reliable? Then there was the horrible review from a blogger. Everything had spiraled out of control. The video.
Had his wife snapped, or is there something more sinister going on? All the signs point to foul play; however, who is at the wheel and why?
Get ready for the ride of your life! Ellison takes readers from Tennessee to Paris and back. Character-driven (unpredictable) we hear from Ethan’s voice in the first part of the novel. Then Sutton the second part. From the past to present and all the dark juicy evil secrets in between.
Skillfully executed, with twists and turns keep you guessing as to the real murderer. The creepy (third narrator) voice, carefully orchestrating a plan, watching the cops and all the puppets. Tick tock.
A compelling journey through the darker side of the human psyche. An absorbing complex web of deceit.
Ellison withholds the identity of the killer until the end. (the final little twist, was perfect). The note from the author seals the deal making this a “must read” if you love literary, psychological thrillers and domestic suspense. (Holly) was the best character. Otherwise, not a lot of likable characters here.
If you enjoyed Gone Girl, The Marriage Lie, Every Last Lie, and Behind Closed Doors, LIE TO ME is for you. Movie-worthy and an ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions.
4.5 Stars. A special thank you to MIRA and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.
Also pre-ordered the audiobook. Listen to clip which should be quite entertaining narrated by Matthew Waterson, Saskia Maarleveld, Sarah Naughton, and Julia Whelan (my favorite).
PS Be sure and look for Dead Ends: Stories from the Gothic South Coming Sept 28, featuring 13 original stories by 13 incredible authors.