Book review: Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera

Sunday, March 17, 2024 Permalink

I love it when a book takes me by surprise. One minute I’m opening it, expecting something that will entertain me for a few hours, and the next I find I don’t want to put it down and am seriously invested in the plot as if the whole thing is unfolding in front of me in real life. Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera was that kind of book. We’re not necessarily meant to like the prickly Lucy Chase – who most assumed killed her best friend five years earlier. Yet, she’s incredibly disarming and I was most certainly on her side… particularly when those who should give her the benefit of the doubt, aren’t.

Book review: Listen for the Lie by Amy TinteraListen for the Lie
by Amy Tintera
Published by Bantam Press
on 05/03/2024
Source: Penguin Random House Australia
Genres: Crime Fiction, Humour
ISBN: 0857505718
Pages: 352
four-half-stars
Goodreads

After Lucy is found wandering the streets, covered in her best friend Savvy’s blood, everyone thinks she is a murderer. Lucy and Savvy were the golden girls of their small Texas town: pretty, smart, and enviable. Lucy married a dream guy with a big ring and an even bigger new home. Savvy was the social butterfly loved by all, and if you believe the rumors, especially popular with the men in town. It’s been years since that horrible night, a night Lucy can’t remember anything about, and she has since moved to LA and started a new life.

But now the phenomenally huge hit true crime podcast "Listen for the Lie," and its too-good looking host Ben Owens, have decided to investigate Savvy’s murder for the show’s second season. Lucy is forced to return to the place she vowed never to set foot in again to solve her friend’s murder, even if she is the one that did it.

I know I’ve said this before but podcasts and true crime documentaries are excellent fodder for novels or fiction. You’ve got an unlikely detective who doesn’t really need to worry about rules and procedures and also not bound to offer up two sides of a story. Kind of like a TikTok version of old-skool radio talk-show hosts.

Thankfully our podcaster here, Ben, is a nice guy. He’s had some success in unveiling the truth in the past and has managed to charm Lucy’s feisty grandmother Beverly. It’s interesting that Beverly is Lucy’s only ally in her hometown, seemingly the only one who believes she didn’t kill her best friend Savvy.

We learn Lucy doesn’t remember the night of her friend’s murder and has been reluctant to revisit it, worried about what she’ll learn. She’s smart, snarky and funny and seemingly cares little about how others perceive her. In fact she constantly makes things worse by saying what others are thinking about her. And then there’s the voice in her own head… filled with suggestions of how she should kill those she comes across.

Despite all of that she’s tired of the game-playing so teams up with Ben to find out what happened that night. Tintera does a great job at unpicking Savvy and Lucy’s pasts. Nothing being as it seemed of course. Secrets are revealed and lies uncovered.

Tintera revisits many of the support cast several times so – though there are a few players – we become familiar with them. Some more important than others, including Lucy’s ex-husband who threw her out of the house straight after the murder… so strong was his suspicion of her guilt. And then there are Lucy’s parents and her grandmother.

I loved this book and, though I wanted closure (for Lucy as much as myself!), I enjoyed the banter and storytelling so much I didn’t want it to end. Tintera’s written young adult novels, but this is her debut adult novel. I loved Lucy’s voice which is droll and witty, and the chapters are short so it’s easily digestible and maintains a page-turning pace. Highly-recommended!

Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera was published in Australia by Bantam (Penguin) and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.

four-half-stars

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