The Perfect Lie
reviewed by Carolyn Scott
This novel has one of the most dramatic openings I have ever read. Following the early morning arrival of his police colleagues at his apartment door, Detective Danny Ryan runs to his balcony and jumps to his death in front of his wife. After that compelling scene, I was immediately pulled in to needing to find out why that happened.
Erin Kennedy arrived in New York five years ago after a family tragedy. She was only going to stay for a year, but fell in love with handsome police detective Danny. Now happily married and living the perfect life on Long Island, Erin has no idea of what is about to hit her. In one moment, her life as she knows it will be destroyed, following that fateful act one normal morning, and she will question everything she thought she knew about the man she loved. And eighteen months later she will find herself on trial for murdering her husband.
After the dramatic start, the plot builds gradually to a gripping level of suspense as Jo Spain weaves between the time leading up to that fateful morning and the time that followed, through unexpected twists and shocking revelations. And just when you think you know where the plot is going, she throws in a rapid turn to spin you off track. Also weaving through Danny and Erin’s story is an older thread, involving two female college students and it’s not until later that the significance of this is revealed.
Erin is a great character. She’s so totally in the dark about what’s going on at first, but she’s smart and stronger than she thinks and never gives up trying to find out the truth about her husband. It’s easy to feel sympathy for her having to deal with everything on her own. With Danny’s police colleagues being cold and distant, her family in Ireland and Danny’s mother in Florida, she is very much alone in a country she doesn’t know well. She also doesn’t trust what the police are saying about Danny, but knows there’s something he hasn’t told her.
With its idyllic lifestyle, Long Island is a great location for this mystery. Although Erin loves the relaxed atmosphere and vacation lifestyle, the shadowy undertones of class and privilege will ensure that an outsider like her will never feel welcome.
The Perfect Lie is a highly addictive page turner and another excellent psychological thriller from Jo Spain. One that will keep you guessing right up to the suspenseful end.
With thanks to Quercus and NetGalley for a copy to read. Publication expected May 13, 2021.