Title: The Lie by C.L. Taylor
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Jane Hughes has a great boyfriend, a job in an animal shelter, and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been…but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.
Five years earlier, Jane and her best friends set off on what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, but it rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of her friends. Ever since, Jane has tried to put the past behind her and lead a normal life. But someone out there knows the truth about what happened-and they won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves.
Weaving seamlessly between past and present, The Lie by C.L. Taylor is a riveting mystery about a vacation gone horribly wrong.
Five years earlier, Emma Woolfe, Daisy Hamilton, Al Gideon and Leanne Cooper go on an extended in Nepal. The four women have been friends for years and although there is some tension between them, their friendship seems to be fairly solid. Hoping to take Al’s mind off her recent breakup, Leanne proposes the women spend three weeks in Nepal and they soon set off on their journey. Initially, the trip goes off without a hitch; however, once they arrive at the Ekanta Yatra mountain top retreat, tension builds as jealousy and lies take their toll on their friendship. As their vacation takes a dark and sinister turn, Emma does not know who to trust and after a series of harrowing events, only two of the four women return home.
While the four friends initially enjoy some aspects of the retreat, Emma and Al are not as enthralled by Ekanta Yatra as Leanne and Daisy. Isaac, the charismatic leader, is charming and sexy. The first cracks in the women’s friendship appear after Daisy makes it very clear that she interested in Isaac and she becomes jealous when he pays attention to her friends. The friends are soon divided and Emma is essentially ostracized as Leanne, Daisy and Al close ranks. As the situation worsens at the retreat, she uncovers some very unsettling secrets about one of her friends. After one of her frenemies begins a concerted campaign to turn everyone against her, Emma begins to fear for her life. Conditions at the retreat continue to deteriorate but her loyalty to her friends soon puts her in grave danger.
In the present, Emma, having changed her name to Jane Hughes, is living a peaceful life in Wales where she works at an animal rescue. Having recently entered into a relationship with Will Smart, she has finally achieved a measure of peace that is shattered once she begins receiving eerie messages that make it very clear someone knows who she is. Jane is also very troubled by the realization this person has inside information about what happened at Ekanta Yatra. Shaken and frightened, Jane/Emma grows increasingly alarmed as the situation escalates and once again, she does not know who to trust.
With the chapters alternating between past and present, the horrifying events from Nepal are slowly revealed as Jane tries to figure out who could be stalking her. The tension slowly mounts as Jane reflects back on the events that occurred at Ekanta Yatra as her stalker continues sending her threatening messages. Knowing she must turn to someone for help, Jane takes Will into her confidence but his reaction to her story is unnerving. With every passing day, she grows more and more fearful until finally, she is forced to go to the police, who eventually uncover stunning information that shocks and terrifies Jane.
Full of deceit and treachery, The Lie is an intriguing thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. C.L. Taylor does an absolutely brilliant job building the suspense as the events from Nepal are slowly revealed while the situation in the present gradually becomes more dangerous. A dark and gritty tale about a toxic friendship that goes horribly wrong, I highly recommend this spellbinding mystery to anyone fans of the genre.