review: The Lies We Tell by Meg Carter

thelieswetell {Source: GoodReads.com}

Thank you to NetGalley and Canelo for providing me with an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. As always, it’s appreciated!

Official Synopsis

Can we ever escape our past?

The last time Katy saw Jude was on a school trip, when Jude was attacked by a stranger and Katy ran away. Twenty years later, Jude is back, and her reappearance coincides with a series of unsettling incidents: a stranger appears in the downstairs flat; one night Katy’s house is vandalised; her mother is mugged and her home ransacked. And Jude seems to know an uncomfortable amount about Katy’s current life…

For fans of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, THE LIES WE TELL is an addictive, complex and completely gripping psychological thriller in which present and past intertwine to devastating effect. Forced to revisit the same rocky waters of friendship and power they inhabited when they were fifteen, as the story reaches its explosive climax, Jude and Katy realise that when it comes to memory, truth and family – nothing and no-one are what they seem.

I’m going to come right out and say that I am heartily sick of publishers comparing every.single.book.ever to “Gone Girl”. It wasn’t even that splendid of a read and the fifteen minutes are over and done with. Gillian Flynn is obviously very talented, but I have to believe that even SHE is swigging red wine somewhere and ruing the day she ever opened up her laptop and typed the literary world’s equivalent of skinny jeans. It was fun, it was a thing, and please to Jesus just let it die already. Books CAN be popular and readable without echoing the latest bestseller.

With that off my chest, I’ll say now that I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t as engrossing as it seems from the summary. However, it’s a very entertaining read, and it kept me guessing for the first half – I just couldn’t figure out where it was going.

The Lies We Tell begins on a sunbaked day, with two friends – Kat and Jude – skiving off from summer camp to walk through a wooded copse. In a split second, their world is shattered – Jude is kidnapped in front of Kat, and the terrified girl runs away, leaving her friend to her fate.

In the present day, Kat (now Katy) is a successful creative designer, with a fiance and a baby on the way. When Jude unexpectedly reenters her life, strange things begin to happen… sinister things, that lead Katy to believe Jude – or someone else – is trying to mess with her mind, terrorize her – or perhaps settle a score?

The book switches rapidly between past and present, peeling back the lives of the two girls and tracing the steps that brought them to where they end up – Katy, memoryless, Jude, a liar. It’s a riveting path, and I really enjoyed the glimpses into Jude’s past. She’s much more enjoyable as a teenager than as an adult.

The denouement is a little convoluted, and Michael – though charming in the beginning – strikes me as a creep in the end (the app? Really?), but all in all, I really enjoyed this debut from Meg Carter. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work. She has a deft hand with the dark quagmire of the mind, and I really loved how she explored the tangled web of female friendships. Recommended to anyone who likes emotional and unputdownable psychological thrillers.

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