Sunday, July 22, 2018

Believe Me

Believe Me by JP Delaney
Penguin Random House: 7/24/18
eBook review copy; 352 pages
ISBN-13: 9781101966310

Believe Me by JP Delaney is a highly recommended deceptive psychological thriller.

Claire Wright is a British actor who has come to America to take classes and hopefully find an acting job. Unfortunately she is here without a green card and can't legally work, but she needs money to live so she ends up working for a law firm specializing in divorce. Her job is to act as a high price hooker and catch on film for female clients their suspected unfaithful husbands negotiating for Claire's services. When one of her clients is found murdered in a hotel room, the husband, Patrick, who turned down Claire's proposition, is the main suspect.

Claire ends up working undercover for the police to try and get Patrick to confess to his murder of his wife. She is forced to do this or risk being deported as an illegal immigrant, but she also felt a connection with Patrick when she was trying to entrap him, so she agrees to the plan. The police also suspect that Patrick is a serial killer.

This is a fast-paced thriller packed full of unreliable narrators, especially Claire. I will freely admit that the plot is preposterous and purposefully deceptive - vital information is held back from the reader in order to create suspense. Does Delaney mess with your mind, withhold vital information, and make you wonder what the heck is going on in this novel? Yup.... and it was simultaneously kind of fun and annoying. I didn't see the ending coming at all.

Claire is an over-the-top unreliable narrator obsessed with acting and her roles. Claire (and the novel) approaches almost everything as a role, a part she is performing, which can also make you wonder what is real. The thing is that the story is very compelling and even when you are shaking your head saying "Really?" you will want to keep reading to see what happens next. I need to note that Patrick is a translator for Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal (1857), a book of poetry dealing with evil and eroticism, which plays a major part in the novel and can be off putting.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House via Netgalley.

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