Title: The Lying Game
Expected publication: available now!
"It's not a game," she said. "It's the game. It's the Lying Game."
There is no friendship as intense as when you’re fifteen. Isa, Thea, Fatima and Kate were inseparable at boarding school, a tight unit, invincible in the company of each other. At first their game seemed like innocent fun – the Lying Game, invented by Kate and Thea to prove that they could get away with anything, make people believe what they wanted them to. Until it went too far and it was no longer a game. Seventeen years later, one lie is still haunting them, threatening to destroy their lives ....
Netgalley has come through for me again, with another fantastic read – The Lying Game, by Ruth Ware. After really enjoying The Woman in Cabin 10, this book has been on my wishlist ever since I spotted it on Goodreads. I’m glad to say my little happy dance on receiving an ARC was fully warranted! Within the first two pages, the author had set a scene so vivid, and so compelling, that I was hooked instantly. I love mysteries which take you on armchair travel trips to mysterious locations, and although the small fishing village of Salten is not on any “real” maps, I could picture it so clearly that I feel I have been there: an old tidal mill house on a deserted sand spit, crumbling away into a hungry sea. Delicious!
Apart from the location, the premise of the story holds its own unique pull. Four women, who had been inseparable friends when they were fifteen, reunite after seventeen years. What has kept them apart for so long? And what is the terrible secret that still holds such power over them after all this time that they will drop everything and rush to a friend’s aid when she asks them to? I was duly intrigued, loving the main protagonist Isa’s flashbacks to the time the four girls attended boarding school together. And if you haven’t had enough classic British scenery yet, the boarding school, Salten House, is like a mixture of Hogwarts and Malory Towers. My inner child was delighted – who can resist a good boarding school story, even as an adult? I felt a certain sense of longing reading about the teenagers’ friendship – you never quite feel the same intensity of loyalty again that consumed you at fifteen, when your friends were your whole universe.
To cut a long ramble short, the book had all the elements to make for a riveting, irresistible mystery. And Ruth Ware does it so well! With her ability to create a tense atmospheric setting and highly strung, somewhat neurotic characters who drive the story with an urgency lacking in other protagonists, the book had me enthralled from beginning to end. Each women brings with her a unique and diverse element that makes this bunch of friends very interesting indeed – and even though this book did not need a “twist you will never see coming” to make it memorable, it had a few surprises in store. Whilst this is a slow-burning, heavily character driven story, there is a constant undercurrent of tension and melancholic longing running through the storyline that made this an extremely compelling read. If anything, I would have loved to find out more about that endless happy summer the four girls spent at Salten, and their individual lives. I was sad when it ended!
The Lying Game is a slow, character driven mystery in an atmospheric setting that had me hooked from start to finish. I loved it! With her ability to present interesting characters in a tense and atmospheric setting, Ruth Ware is quickly making her way onto my favourite authors list, and I will be eagerly looking out for future mysteries from this talented writer.
A huge thank you to Netgalley and Random House UK - Vintage Publishing for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.