Wednesday, May 3, 2017

One Perfect Lie

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline
St. Martin's Press: 4/11/17
eBook review copy; 368 pages
ISBN-13: 9781250099563

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline is a highly recommended thriller.
When Chris Brennan moves to Central Valley, a small town in Pennsylvania, he lets us know right from the start that he's not who he says he is. His name is not really "Chris Brennan." His impressive credentials as he applies to teach at the high school are fake. He's an assistant coach in baseball, although he's never coached before, so he can find the perfect teenage boy. Chris has some kind of secret plan that involves a making a bomb with ammonium chloride fertilizer and it looks like he wants to find a teenage boy to help him pull his plans together. He's only planning to be in Central Valley for a week and he is looking at a boy from the baseball team to assist him.

There are three boys Chris is looking at, and Scottoline follows the point of view of the mothers of these boys and Chris in their alternating narratives.
Susan Sematov's son, Raz, is a member of the team. Her whole family is suffering because their father died a few months ago. Is Raz vulnerable enough to be the one Chris is looking for?
Heather Larkin is a single mother raising her only son Jordan, who is a rookie on the team. Jordan is reserved, but growing up without a father might make him susceptible for Chris's plan.
Mindy Kostis's son Evan is the star catcher of the team. They are a wealthy family. Her husband is a surgeon, Mindy leads the baseball boosters. Evan has grown up without need, was recently given a new BMW, and has a sense of entitlement. Could boredom lead him to look for something more dangerous?

The opening chapters of One Perfect Lie are pretty grim and there is an ominous, dire feeling as you read them wondering what are Chris's real plans and what boy is he going to pick to use to accomplish what must be some nefarious activity. Meeting the mothers of the boys adds to the tension and the backstory of the boys and their home life. Just before the half way point of the novel, the narrative does a huge double flip twist that will shock and surprise you. After the twist, things take off at a break-neck pace to the exciting conclusion.

The characters are all well-developed and finely drawn with a depth of emotion and reality that is nice to see in a thriller. We know Chris's inner thoughts and those of the three mothers. The family life of the boys is explored and depicted in a realistic manner. Scottoline captures the difficulties of raising teenagers today and the realistic struggles many families go through.

The writing is excellent. Scottoline will really throw readers for a loop in this one, especially with one of the twists. Some of the others were easier to predict. This is a thoroughly enjoyable thriller and is a perfect stuck-overnight-at -the-airport book which will keep you entertained for hours.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

1 comment:

Audra said...

Nice review -- not sure I could read this one as domestic thrillers are sometimes too stressful for me!