The Good Lie
reviewed by Fiona Cook
What could be more welcome than a kidnapped teen escaping and making his way home? Scott Harden was taken by the Bloody Heart Killer, and when he stumbles up his family driveway, they’re too relieved to see him to question the miracle.
Gwen Moore, however, a psychiatrist specialising in the most violent clients, is about to be contacted by someone who wants to do just that – the father of another victim. When another of her patients turns up dead, she has to wonder if she really knew what she was letting herself in for.
The Good Lie has a lot going on, and initially I was worried there was just no way to wrap everything into one cohesive storyline. A.R. Torre does it, though – each of the many elements introduced at the start has a part to play, somehow all managing to come together into a didn’t-see-it-coming ending that delighted me as much as it took me by surprise.
Gwen herself is an excellent main character, intelligent, confident, and unapologetically independent. True, she may not be making all the best decisions, but that just adds another layer of realism to an already believable protagonist. Though the book does focus on the central mystery, the reader is allowed to see her having a personal life – friends, a pet, the occasional bar night. It’s quite the tangle she finds herself in at the start of the book, and it all had me rooting for her right from the start.
The mystery itself – the less said, the better for future readers, of course – sneaks up on you. The stakes are high, certainly, the victims suffering horrible fates. But the reader comes in at the tail end of the series of kidnappings, and it initially reduces the tension, before the revelations start coming to crank it right back up to 11. It lent everything a much different pace than we normally see in books of this genre – and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. It makes the book more reliant on the author’s skill to keep the reader engaged, rather than pulling us through the pages just to find out what happened.
An excellent read with a deadly sting in the tail – The Good Lie certainly lives up to the name.
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