Book Title: One Perfect Lie
Author: Lisa Scottoline
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Crime Fiction
Date Read: 04/02/17
Pub Date: 04/11/17
On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.
But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.
Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he’s being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil.
Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Justin’s baseball games. But Justin is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.
Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon’s wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them.
At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?
I’d like to start off by saying how much adoration and respect I have for Lisa Scottoline. She is uber successful, writing multiple books a year with thousands upon thousands of followers and fans, all while being completely approachable and down to earth. She’s also a super huge advocate for animals; I know, she’s perfect, right? When I had just begun to get my baby of a blog off the ground last May, I was struggling with attempts to make connections with authors and publishers, as we all do. Lisa offered to send me a signed arc of her (at the time) latest novel, Damaged; I sent her a private message asking if she was sure it was ok, as I was a VERY new blogger and I thought maybe she had mistaken me for someone else. 😉 She came back stating, yes, she was sure, and how grateful she was for us bloggers and how writers would be lost without our promotion. I was blown away by her humility and candid realness; she didn’t know it at the time, but I kept going back to that small interaction when I was feeling down about my numbers or blog related failures and it kept me pushing on. Long story short, I will always consider it a pleasure and an honor to support Lisa and her books; I know as readers we like to support writers who stay true to themselves and don’t get puffed up by success, so support her folks. She’s the real deal!
“Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.”
When I first opened this in the mail, I noticed the appealing cover and realized how much I like that there is a theme of sorts to all of Scottoline’s standalone novels. The jacket blurb immediately had me curious; I love a good thriller with multiple storylines that tie together in the conclusion. Something I do everytime I get a book in the mail is briefly flip through the pages; I don’t read ahead but I like to get a feel for the formatting and flow of the book. I really enjoyed how this book seemed to take the “James Patterson” approach; while the plot wasn’t similar per say, it did have those short, addicting chapters that keep you wanting to read “just one more”. This, along with the various parts broken up as “Steps” kept the tension ramped up from beginning to end and made this the type of book you simply can’t put down.
“Chris Brennan was applying for a teaching job at Central Valley High School, but he was a fraud.”
From the very first sentence we learn that this book is full of questions and lies, so this isn’t a surprise. It tells you right in the summary that Chris isn’t who he claims to be. The idea behind us reading is figuring out the why, which then blends into us asking more questions until we roll far enough down the rabbit hole to uncover all the secrets and the master plan, if you will. I won’t touch further on the plot, because the less you know going in the better, but suffice it to say there are many twists and turns, some coming when you least expect it. This is where it gets tricky to review; I was able to pick out most of the surprises planted throughout pretty far in advance. That doesn’t mean this wasn’t an enjoyable read; it was fast paced and my attention was captured, I think it just gets difficult to be taken aback by most mysteries after you’ve read so many. This was a well-written book, and I think it’s a 5 star read for many folks, especially those who do not tend to spend most of their time reading in the mystery/thriller genre by having a well balanced palate. In fact, if you are someone who usually passes over mysteries and thrillers because you tend to like more characterization and depth in your novels, I highly recommend you pick this (and really any) of the author’s novels up. She truly has a way with words and an ability to write different sub-genres to reach varied readers with apparent ease. I personally LOVE her Rosato & DiNunzio series the best because I love legal thrillers and police procedurals, but she truly has a book to offer every reader.
At the risk of rambling on forever, this was a great read; while it wasn’t my favorite Scottoline book to date, it was still highly entertaining and I would recommend it to those looking for more characterization and meat in their thriller. This was a super fast read; I can easily see women (& men!) lining up to purchase this and bring it to the beach over the next few months.
*Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to produce my honest thoughts here on the blog.