One Perfect Lie, Lisa Scottoline: Book Review

one perfect lie lisa scottoline book reviewSt. Martin's Press/ Michael Cavacini
One Perfect Lie Book Cover One Perfect Lie
Lisa Scottoline
St. Martin's Press
April 11, 2017

On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He's applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he's ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.

But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.

Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he's being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Justin's baseball games. But Justin is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.

Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon's wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them.

At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?

Enthralling and suspenseful, One Perfect Lie is an emotional thriller and a suburban crime story that will have readers riveted up to the shocking end, with killer twists and characters you won’t soon forget.

This is an ARC review of Lisa Scottoline’s One Perfect Lie, which releases April 11, 2017.
*Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press for allowing us to review ahead of publication.

This contains spoilers and quotes from the book

I desperately needed a book to distract me from the daily grind of college. So the fact that I was able to find time to pick up a book that is not only by the crazy-talented Lisa Scottoline but also a thriller, is exactly what I needed right now.

“The other teachers liked him, though everything they knew about him was a lie. They didn’t even know his real name, which was Curt Abbott. In a week, when it was all over and he was gone, they’d wonder how he’d duped them. There would be shock and resentment. Some would want closure, others would want blood.”

— excerpt from Lisa Scottoline’s One Perfect Lie

In the beginning, Scottoline makes readers believe that her narrator, Chris Brennan, is the one conspiring to blow up a small Pennsylvanian town. However, it is not until about halfway through the novel do we realize that Chris is, in fact, an undercover agent who is trying to keep the bombing from happening.

I’ll be honest: I was skeptical and nervous about reading from the perspective of a potential murder. It’s hardly an angle we see explored in murder mysteries such as these. In all actuality, I cannot say that I have ever read a book where I am inside the head of someone suspected to be the criminal, the murder in the book. With that twist in mind, Scottoline’s storyline gets an interesting tang of excitement.

But why? Why does Chris Brennan, of all detectives, suspect something awful to happen in Central Valley, Pennsylvania? Perhaps it has something to do with the imminent anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombings, a catastrophe that shook another small town just like Central Valley. If anything, this makes Chris all the more anxious to keep the denizens of the town safe.

Another interesting aspect of One Perfect Lie that Scottoline expertly merges into her book: there are three additional narrators, baseball moms, whose accounts help layer the overall story and whom Chris investigates.There’s Evan Kostis’ mother, Mindy, whose problems with her husband’s infidelity becomes more or less apparent as the story advances; Susan, Raz Sematov’s mom, who laments over her husband’s death and the residual consequences afflicting her boys; and lastly, Heather, a single mother left to raise Jordan Larkin alone.

In his pursuit, Chris taps the reliable Jordan to help uncover exactly who is behind the bombing. And as the two spend more time with another, Chris eventually falls for Heather, which only muddles the already tangled up mission as it is.

But if there’s anything One Perfect Lie does well to exemplify, it’s the notion that no one can be trusted. Or can they? Scottoline’s latest novel is rife with doubt and suspicion, and even more suspicious behavior. And having firsthand access to each character’s mind makes matters no clearer, no better.

Scottoline does an excellent job of joining you to Chris’ investigation–it made me feel like I was in on the action, too! There’s so much emotional energy flushing through these pages: From Mindy’s pain as she tried to estimate whether her husband was involved in yet another affair, to Heather’s love and protectiveness over Jordan, to Susan’s revisited pain following her husband’s death. It takes a special kind of writer, one as bright as Scottoline’s, to make you feel so connected to the characters in a story.

Nonetheless, one thing I thought Scottoline’s story could have benefited from was giving more insight into the boy’s perspectives, especially Jordan’s. Especially since he was the one involved, whether he knew it or not. Still, if you want a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then I’d certainly recommend One Perfect Lie when it releases this month!

Will there be a massive bombing in Central Valley or will Chris Brennan save the day just in time? You’ll have to check it out to see for yourself. Though you can take my word for it when I say Scottoline’s latest novel will not mislead; it’s ending does not disappoint.
Jessica Duffield
the authorJessica Duffield
Contributing Writer
I am a junior in college. Books are my passion and I hope to work in book publishing once I graduate from journalism school.