The Better Liar, by Tanen Jones: Book Review📚

book cover

4.5/5

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

Description

Leslie Flores is a woman like many others living in a nice suburban neighborhood, with her husband and one year-old little boy. She has spent the past year working, taking care of her family and caring for her dying father. Her sister, Robin, has long since exited the family. But, upon her father’s passing, she learns that her inheritance is dependent on finding and reuniting with her lost sister. Leslie has to find Robin to get the money she desperately needs to secure her future, but when she tracks down Robin, it’s too late. Robin is dead from a heroin overdose. No one has seen Robin for 10 years, so when Leslie has a random encounter with a young woman, with a strong resemblance to her lost sister, she strikes a bargain with this stranger. Pretend to be Robin for a week and receive half the money, it’s that easy.

It doesn’t take long for both women to realize that that other is not what they seem. Each has secrets that will alter the future, and the past.

 

The Better Liar is the debut novel from Tanen Jones, and I was shocked when I realized this fact. Jones is masterful in her ability to draw the reader into the character’s stories.  I actually felt like I was in the room with these women, could smell the smoke from the cigarettes, and could not put the book down. Jones writes as if this was her fiftieth novel, not her first! I was genuinely surprised by the ending, and I love it when an author can do that😊

I highly recommend The Better Liar, by Tanen Jones

Advertisements

Netgalley Book Review: The Wife Between Us, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Book Review: Netgalley

the wife between us

The Wife Between Us

Greer Hendicks, Sarah Pekkanen

4.5/5 stars

 

When Netgalley suggested that I would like The Wife Between Us based on my preferences and past reviews in the Mystery & Thrillers genre, I thought how predictable. Another novel about cheating, lying and infidelity, haven’t I read this so many times before? Then I took a look at their description that read

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.

You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.

You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.

You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.

You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.

 

Assume nothing.

I was intrigued so I dove into the story of Vanessa, the wife who had been cast aside, Emma, her replacement and Richard, the man at the center of it all. The first third of the story moved along well and I was definitely interested in these characters but I felt that all my prior assumptions were well in place and had yet to be challenged. For all practical purposes this appeared to be the story of a jealous wife. Still the authors expertly conveyed Vanessa’s pain, which was so palpable and relatable, that I wanted to know more about how her marriage fell apart. I was sure that my review would have to contain a warning to those who have suffered the deep ache and torment of infidelity in their own lives to, perhaps, steel oneself in order to read this intensely accurate portrait of betrayal that Vanessa had to endure. But, as the description above promised, the narrative takes a dramatic and unexpected twist in Part II of the novel. Although I felt this was slightly clumsy and a tad awkward in execution (perhaps that was the intention of the authors?) it was nonetheless extremely effective and totally unexpected.

As Part II progressed and morphed into Part III of the story the twists kept coming, right up to the final page and I found myself altering my initial proclamation. Whereas I previously had concern for survivors of adultery and may have warned them to wait for the pain to lessen before reading The Wife Between Us, I now realize, if you have been at the loosing end of an affair, then you should, and need to read this book! I love the ending and the feeling I was left with as I imagine how the lives of all three characters would unfold as they move forward.

I absolutely recommend this book and hope to watch the movie someday, as I believe it would make a great suspense story, akin to Gone Girl. This story will take you places you had not thought of and will leave you thinking, “What just happened”? That is the most I can ask of a good book!

Netgalley Book Review: Enigma, by Catherine Coulter

It has been quite awhile since I did a book review, and this is not the normal self-help, midlife crisis tome I usually post in this category. However, I did read Enigma from my Netgalley shelf and felt like it was worth sharing the review with you good people. Please let me know if this is something you would, or would not like to see, in the future as I will be penning more reviews for Netgalley in the Mystery & Suspense genre. Thanks!

enigma

 

Book Review Netgalley

 

Catherine Coulter

Enigma (21st in the Savich & Sherlock series)

3.5/5

 

I have been reading the Mystery & Suspense genre for 30+ years and it is still by far my favorite category. I enjoy the puzzle that is laid out by the author, tempting the reader to figure out what information is important and how the story will unfold. The downside to having read such a large sample size of this sector is that very little surprises me anymore. The plot twists are generally anticipated, the foreshadowing is upfront and fairly blatant and common themes are oft repeated. All the above applies to my experience with Catherine Coulter’s latest installment of her FBI Thriller series, Enigma. I was drawn to this novel for two main reasons. First, I have read Coulter’s previous works and found them to be entertaining and secondly, any cover with a DNA molecule grabs my attention. I am a molecular biologist and am often curious as to how the author will handle some of the more complicated and nuanced details with respect to genetics and disease.

Enigma opens with a hostage situation where an apparent mad man has entered the home of a pregnant woman, Kara Moody, and holds her against her will. While engaged in a stand off with the local police, FBI Special Agent Dillion Savich manages to single handedly save Ms. Moody setting up the first of the common themes I mentioned earlier. The audience learns that Agent Savich is not just merely an agent but a super hero with extraordinary skills, and of course the head of the local police department feels threatened by his innate talents and they do not get along in the face of Savich’s incredible negotiating skills and expert marksmanship. The old feds vs local cops, is the first of our common themes shared by most of the novels in this genre. The abduction appears to be just a peripheral event but the savvy reader knows that this will be woven into a larger storyline as the novel unfolds.

In parallel to this occurrence a high profile inmate has orchestrated an escape during a prison transfer. He is, of course, exceptionally cunning, manipulative, violent and attractive. This sets up the need for a special team of brilliant, and attractive agents to track this monster, forming the basis of the next common theme: everyone is exceptionally smart and beautiful. Of course two agents are selected to work together for the first time to track the madman in the heavily wooded and remote forest. The agents are about the same age, both have a strong and complementary skill set, are single and one is male and the other a female. Convientlty setting up the next common theme: Will they or won’t they?

Quickly we learn that Kara Moody and this young man are pawns of, you guessed it, a grander more sinister game. Which is orchestrated by a brilliant, yet evil genius with apparent unlimited wealth. Common theme number four: the bad guy always has unlimited liquid assets at his evil genius disposal.

Both story lines are compelling and Coulter weaves them together brilliantly. The cliffhangers from one chapter to the next are expertly crafted, and I enjoyed learning the fate of each beautiful, talented, brilliant character. One such transition occurred in chapter 11 which took me by surprise. An unexpected plot twist that I did not see on the horizon! Another area that Coulter excels at is constructing strong female roles in high-ranking positions, which I do appreciate. I was particularly fond of Kim, the teenager as she was a pleasant change of pace in the storyline.

As for the human genetics component, it was hit and miss for me. Yes HLA genes are contained on the human chromosome number 6, but a single inversion event would not explain the toxic tolerance by the systemic response. More importantly, it would most likely not be inherited in the offspring, which is why a parent is often not a suitable organ donor for their own child. There is no amount of evil genius, or disposable income that could make this happen! And, I don’t believe that hardened experienced FBI agents would be sitting around, after what they had just endured, and have a politically correct discussion on the merits of DNA testing like the one that occurred in the novel.

Common, predictable themes and nitpicky genetics aside I do recommend this book! I was entertained and surprised once. That means it was well worth my time and money.