Ever told a lie to get out of trouble or to avoid the truth? Ever tell that lie so much that you’ve come to believe it yourself? When do dreams end and reality begins? Is there a distinct line between fiction and non-fiction? One never really knows except the story teller as the truth normally dies with them……
“Lies She Told” is a mind-boggling, line blurring, cross over of fiction versus non-fiction suspenseful murder/mystery novel in which the author, Cate Holahan engulfs the reader into the similarly complex lives of Liza and Beth. This makes the reader ponder which is the lie and which is the truth. Our main character, Liza is a thirty something female author living in NYC who undergoes intense hormonal treatment in hopes of achieving a baby with her attorney husband David. While Liza’s first book, “Drowned Secrets” was a best seller her most recent novels have flopped. Her handsome British accented, black editor Trevor permits her an extension (of one month) on her new novel encouraging her to write more of a romantic suspense story sprinkled with hints of sociopaths. With the pressure mounting, Liza embarks on this new novel and creates the character Beth. Beth, also happens to be married and living in NYC, but already has a new born baby girl (something Liza hopes for). Like Liza’s husband David, Beth’s husband Jake works long hours, isn’t home that much and doesn’t engage in great lengthy conversations. As Liza progresses with her writing, both Liza and Beth deal with their husbands who are hiding secrets.
In Liza’s life, David’s business partner Nick has disappeared and it is ripping him apart from the insides as though Nick was more than just a friend. David obsesses over Nick’s disappearance and goes on for a month of non-stop attempting to solve the case and find his friend. Nick was also the best man at Liza and David’s wedding and has never approved of David marrying Liza, causing some waves amongst their marital bliss. Conveniently in Liza’s story Beth begins to notice that there is something disturbing her marriage with Jake. That disturbance is non other than police officer Colleen who has mesmerized Jake with her curvaceous pre-baby body and her skillful maneuvers in the bedroom. While Beth’s insides shake like a wild animal caged at the zoo, she goes to confront Jake about the affair, but gets manipulated by her blue eyed dreamy husband and is persuaded to see a therapist (Jake believes her issues are due to being cooped up inside the apartment with the baby and postpartum depression). Similarly, Beth’s new therapist Taylor, is also a muscular, smooth skinned British accented black male just like Liza’s editor Trevor.
Needless to say the similarities of Liza’s and Beth’s lives are very close and it doesn’t stop there. Next thing you know Liza’s gun (which she keeps in her closet) is missing and Beth is heaving Colleen’s body into the East River. Turn a few pages, and the police knock on Liza’s door claiming Nick’s body has been seen and pulled up out of the East River, all while the police knock at Beth’s door stating that Colleen is missing. (Cue the Law and Order scene change noise aka dum dum).
Questions and words of plea on all ends fly from each character to another like daggers in sword fight. Phrases of “How could you?” and “Why?”and “How could you do it?” and “I don’t remember!” and “But it was only a story!” are screamed. Despair, infidelity, loss, murder, rage and revenge are the icing on this cake of suppressed psychological and physical trauma. The reader believes the question of “how far will one go to achieve the so called perfect life?”, but towards the end we realize something more. We discover how beautiful and dangerous is the human mind in creating a web of fabricated lies to protect the individual’s soul from the memories of anguish and torment. For Liza who is also known as Beth, her story ends with the truth, but begins a new with lies.
A must read for anyone who enjoys character manipulation, suspense, murder/mystery, psychological drama and mind games. I highly recommend this novel as a must read for Fall as I haven’t read a story like this before.