Book Review: The Better Liar


Tanen Jones

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

published: 6th February 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

How well do you know your family?

Estranged for a decade, sisters Leslie and Robin must reunite if they are to claim the fortune their father left them. Leslie desperately needs that money, but when she arrives at her sister’s apartment, she finds her body instead. Leslie needs another plan. Without Robin, she won’t see a penny.

Mary, an aspiring actress, spends her nights slinging beers at a seedy restaurant. She’d do anything to start her life over. When Leslie offers her a huge sum of money and the chance to be someone else – to be Robin – she takes it.

But Robin’s life isn’t as straightforward as Mary thought it would be. And Leslie seems to have secrets and a past of her own . . .

Told from three perspectives: Leslie, Mary, Robin.

The question is: who is the better liar?

If you’ve got poison in you, the art will show it, eventually.

Galley provided by publisher

CWs: mentions of suicide, suicidal thoughts

The Better Liar is an odd one for me. For the majority of the book, I was engrossed, totally wrapped up in the story. And then, the last 10-15% or so… didn’t disappoint me, but definitely didn’t leave me feeling satisfied.

The Better Liar follows Leslie, her sister Robin, and Mary. Leslie arrives in Las Vegas believing her estranged sister to have died, before she can claim the inheritance left for them by her father, an inheritance that happens to require both of them to be in the room to sign the documents. Desperate, Leslie forges a plan, whereby Mary, a waitress she meets in Las Vegas, will pretend to be Robin, and walk away with Robin’s half of the inheritance. But Leslie is hiding something and Mary is determined to find out what.

The book is primarily character-driven, alternating between POVs from Leslie, Robin (in the past), and Mary. But despite not a whole lot happening until the last part, you’re kept on the edge of your seat, wanting to find out what Leslie is hiding. And it’s full of unreliable narrators so, really, you can’t believe anything from any POV, and that’s probably the best thing about it. How can you really predict the twists and turns when no one is telling the truth?

Which brings me to exactly that: the twists and turns. Like I said, they’re unpredictable (in a good way, because I feel like if I specifically looked out for them I would see hints) and they’ll leave you wanting to continue reading to find out more. Especially that big one about 70% in. I think I may have gasped out loud at that.

And after that, I was really excited about the end. But something about it just didn’t click for me. Like it made total sense in context, but still left me with a feeling of dissatisfaction. Which is why my rating went down by half a star, but I’m well aware this is probably an entirely personal thing, probably to do with which character I preferred. But yeah.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend this book despite that. Especially if you want a tense thriller with twists you don’t see coming.

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