The Five Year Lie
May 6, 2024

Book Review

The Five Year Lie

reviewed by Sandra Hoover


Goodreads | Crossmyheartbookreviews

When I first heard Author Sarina Bowen was releasing a domestic thriller, I knew I had to read it as I’ve enjoyed several of her contemporary romance titles, especially the True North series.

The Five Year Lie kicks off with a captivating, heart stopping prologue designed to grab readers’ attention while enticing them into shutting off their phones, setting aside all snacks and drinks and settling in for the duration so plan accordingly. You don’t want any distractions once starting this mysterious story.

Ariel Cafferty is a single mother living in her mother’s guesthouse while pursuing her passion of glassmaking and putting in required appearances at the family business, the Chime Co. Five years prior, the man Ariel loved ghosted her – disappearing without a trace unaware she was carrying his child. Years later, she reads his obituary in a newspaper, effectively closing that chapter of her life. Drew was a programmer with her family’s cybersecurity company, secretly exploring suspicions of fraudulent activity when he left. In the present, Ariel is sitting in a business meeting when a disturbing text pings her phone – a text that rocks her to the core. A text from a dead man asking her to meet him immediately.  Is this a cruel hoax or is Drew alive? Needing answers, Ariel goes to the meeting spot, but no one shows. Confused and unsettled, Ariel begins digging into the past, looking for answers about what really happened to Drew. What she uncovers alarms her, leaving her wondering if she ever really knew the man she loved at all and quite certain that someone has been lying to her all along. Pushing ahead, it’s soon obvious someone doesn’t want the truth to surface.  Can Ariel solve the mystery of what happened to Drew before the same danger claims her and her son?

Through concise, alternating chapters of past and present, a chilling story of deceit, secrets, and family drama emerges in The Five Year Lie. The past becomes known via Drew’s point of view, and readers are apprised of present events through Ariel’s point of view. The transition is seamless and highly engaging.  A sinister tone drives the plot forward at a steadily increasing pace with mini shockers keeping characters and readers on their toes as they work to unravel a mystery. Bowen does an excellent job of incorporating the dangers posed to careless, unsuspecting victims of technology and cyber security schemes into a riveting plot line that’s relevant today. Long time readers of her work will appreciate the well-developed, relatable characters like those everyone loves from her contemporary romance stories. 

The Five Year Lie is a riveting, thought provoking suspense thriller that blends an engaging mystery with a light side of romance. Readers and characters are challenged with solving a mystery while considering the many ramifications and ethical questions involving technology in today’s world. Author Sarina Bowen successfully makes the transition to suspense with an immersive, chilling thriller that will keep readers on alert from start to finish. Highly recommended to fans of good mysteries and engaging romance suspense. 


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