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April 2021

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The Better Liar by Tanen Jones

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Four Stars

Best for:
Those who like stories told from multiple perspectives; those who relish a good, feasible but not totally telescoped twist.

In a nutshell:
Leslie’s dad has died, and the only way she can get her inheritance is to show up with her sister at the executor’s office. But Leslie has just visited her sister for the first time in ten years, finding her dead. How can she get the inheritance? Perhaps with the help of Mary, a woman who is willing to play a role for a certain amount of money.

Worth quoting:
“But liars are always specific. People who are telling the truth don’t bother to try to convince you.”

Why I chose it:
Part of an Easter paperback sale at Foyles. Plus, I’m trying to read more fiction.

Review:
Hoo boy. While I read the first 20 pages yesterday, I basically spent all of today reading the final 280, because I wanted to know what was going to happen.

The book alternates between the perspectives of Leslie, Robin’s ghost (Leslie’s dead sister), and Mary, the waitress Leslie meets in Vegas after she sees her sister Robin’s body. Leslie is desperate for her $50,000 inheritance, and tells Mary it’s because she’s lost her job and going to lose her house. But Mary learns Leslie still has her job, house is fine. Leslie has a one-year-old baby, and her husband Dave might be cheating on her, so Mary become very curious about why Leslie lied to her, and what she is hiding.

This is a well-told story. There are some moments that slightly beggar belief, but they soon make sense in the broader context of the story. There are twists, there are cringe-worthy moments, and there are moment when the reader genuinely feels for Leslie while also perhaps judging her a bit for her choices.

I won’t spoil the book, but I think it’s important to share a broader content note around mental health issues; the author provides more exploration of the specific mental health issue addressed in the book at the end in a way I haven’t seen before, and appreciated.

Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Pass to a friend.

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