The Truth-Teller's Lie, by Sophie Hannah.
The sharp wind on my skin feels like total exposure. This can't be happening. After three years of meticulous secrecy, I am about to tear down the barrier I've built between me and the world. I am going to blow my own cover. - from The Truth-Teller's Lie, page 52 -
Naomi Jenkins is having an affair with a married man and harboring a dark secret she has not shared with anyone, including her moody lover, Robert. But when Robert inexplicably disappears, Naomi begins to feel a bit desperate. Her desperation escalates when she goes to Robert's home and peers through one of the windows -- something she sees causes her to have a full blown panic attack, and then Robert's bitter wife Juliet confronts her. Fearing the worst and certain the police are doing nothing to find Robert, Naomi decides to reveal her secret but hide it within a lie -- she tells the police that Robert is a sick psychopath who raped her. What Naomi doesn't know is that Robert also is hiding something -- and the truth is darker and more frightening then anyone could imagine.
Sophie Hannah's novel is a twisty, dark, psychological thriller that kept me reading long into the night. Naomi Jenkins is a damaged, obsessed woman. Naomi's path crosses that of Police Sergeant Charlie Zailer, a woman whose bad luck with men has made her cynical about relationships and the two of them begin to unravel the truth as the novel moves forward. Nothing about this story is predictable -- even when I thought I knew where the plot was going, it would suddenly take a sharp turn and go somewhere else. Hannah gives her readers just enough information to make them think they understand the characters, and then takes them in another direction. The effect is unsettling.
If the book has a weakness it is the voice of the male characters who come off a bit stunted and stereotypical. I did not particularly like any of them. Luckily, it is Naomi and Charlie who carry the novel, and it is their female perspectives which give the story its strength.
This was my first Sophie Hannah book and it has made me curious about her previous work. Her writing is shocking and suspenseful. She dares to go to the darkest corners of the human psyche and explore the unthinkable. Many readers may be put off by the graphic nature of The Truth-Teller's Lie, but mystery and thriller buffs will find it hard to put down.
Recommended for readers who like their thrillers dark, scary and unpredictable.
Four stars out of five.
Catch all of Wendy Robard's reviews in her fabulous blog, "Caribousmom".