Thursday, March 7, 2024

Review: Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera

by Amy Tintera
Release Date: March 5, 2024
2024 Celadon Books
Paperback ARC: 352 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250880314
Audiobook: B0C3PCKQGX
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3.75 / 5 Stars

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.
My Thoughts
Listen for the Lie features a women who has returned to her hometown five years after a scandal hoping to discover some answers as to who killed her best friend. Because she is the main suspect, she is skeptical about coming home, and I was hoping to see the sparks fly when she did, but it was a lot tamer than I would have expected.  I enjoyed the podcast slant to this story, even if it is no longer original, but I am not necessarily a fan of the amnesia trope, especially when memories start to come back at convenient times.
Lucy at first was too sarcastic and cynical for my liking, especially in the first half of the book. I am a sarcastic girlie myself, but even this was over-the-top cynicism and it didn't endear her to a lot of people, including her family. I understand that sarcasm can sometimes hide a host of feelings and sentiments as I do that myself, but it can also go too far and make a person downright unlikable. Luckily it did subside halfway through and you got to see a more vulnerable side to Lucy. Although I understand the author's intentions, using sarcasm and snarkiness as a character trait as a red herring doesn't really work, in my opinion.  
Except for Ben and Grandma, the other characters kind of all blend together into one harmonious whole as they didn't really have their own personality traits other than everyone was sleeping around.  I guess fidelity isn't a thing in this town.
I rather enjoyed the plot and didn't figure out who actually committed the crime until about two-thirds of the way in. I don't mind a slower burn, but then I am a huge fan of police procedurals and those are not known for their quick plots, so I like the slower burn and the tension the author created in this book. Don't get me wrong however, I was definitely not turning pages like a maniac, just enjoying the ride.  And there were a couple of surprises in this book, ones that I liked, because it makes you realize that you never really know someone or what they are capable of or what their situation is.  Lucy points that out to her mother when she says that she lived just down the road and her mother had no idea what was happening behind closed doors, partly because she didn't want to see.  I don't feel the use of the amnesia trope was a strong part of this book however, as it can be used too conveniently, which is exactly how it was used. Conveniences are not appealing for readers. 

Listen to the Lie had a lot going for it and I think the author is very talented.  The voice in Lucy's head, while at first entertaining, got rather annoying as it didn't really go anywhere, so I would have liked that device to be used a bit more to build up tension in the story. I would be lying if I said I wasn't invested in the story as it was immensely readable, but I do think having some likable characters and maybe easing up on the cynicism would be helpful in the future.  And I am still not sure what I think about that ending. I do look forward to reading another book by this author.


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