By: J.T. Ellison
Publication Date: 9/5/2017
My Rating: 4.5 Stars (ARC) Domestic noir at its best. Readers will devour this stunning page-turner about the disintegration of a marriage as grief, jealousy, betrayal and murder destroy the facade of the perfect literary couple. New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison takes her exceptional writing to a new level with this breakout novel. They built a life on lies.
Sutton and Ethan Montclair's idyllic life is not as it appears. They seem made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.
Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.
From No One Knows (2016) to the present with her latest standalone. From the southern town of Franklin, Tennessee to glamorous streets of Paris, and Hemingway’s old haunts, talented storyteller J. T. Ellison delivers a gripping domestic suspense thriller. LIE TO ME – the highly anticipated story of need and desire. Betrayal, secrets, lies, and danger. Reminiscent of Gone Girl (even better), two writers' lives set on a downward course driven by and revenge. Love, the author’s journey, the literary references, and her passion. From the inspiration, the setting, and the final words, which jump off the page. (not sure how the author can crank out so many books, and travel – she is superwoman)! Two ultimately unreliable narrators. The third one is freaky, creepy. Watch your back. Trust no one. “Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.”— George Santayana As the book opens we meet a nameless and faceless demented person. She/he is talking to the reader. This person informs us we are not going to like them. Stealing, killing, manipulating, and leaving a trail of destruction. Everyone is powerless. Next, there is a body in the woods. It has been there for six days before she was found. Who is this body burned and left to decay? Moving along we meet a literary power couple. Ethan and Sutton Montclair. They made a powerful and attractive couple. Looks, brains, and success. However, all is not so perfect behind this façade. Their son, Dashiell had died. SIDS. (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). He was not even six months old. Things were not the same after this. Their marriage and relationship were on the rocks. Presently, Ethan finds a note from Sutton stating she has gone away. She is unhappy. She asks him to forgive her for being a coward and instructs him not to look for her. She was gone. He deserved this. He was selfish. (A narcissist) However, why would she leave without her things? Her laptop, and phone. These things were her lifeline. She was a writer. Frantic, he must call her friends. They would know. Rachel, a yoga teacher. Ellen the head of library sciences at Vanderbilt, Filly (Phyllis), and Ivy. Ivy, a self-employed stock broker- was out of town on business and she was Sutton’s closest friend and confidant for the last three years. Then, of course, the bloody mother, Siobhan. They do not get along but she receives a monthly check from her daughter. We soon learn there were cracks and fissures in this domestic house of bliss. Was Ethan abusing her? There had been multiple domestic calls. What was missing? Ethan thought he was the best writer. However, he had not produced anything since the baby’s death. Sutton had sustained them with her historical romance, which he never gave her the credit or respect. Sutton never wanted children. Ethan knew heirs were simply part of the things that should be expected from someone of his standing. However, he got desperate. He had made a mistake. He loved Sutton. If she did not show up, he would call the police. It was the anniversary of their son’s death. From beauty and the beast. A love and hate relationship. From then to now. Most of his family money was gone now, eaten up by the Victorian house they purchased, the renovations, and no writing. An advance paid back, humiliated in the industry and social media. He relied on Sutton’s income to support them. He simply had not been able to write a word since Dashiell’s death. He resented his wife. She resented him. They blamed one another. He needs a lawyer. The cops always look at the husband first. Their lives had unraveled. The affair, the death of the baby, the book cancellation, and now Sutton’s disappearance. He had not told her the truth. Where could she be? And who is the woman they found dead? What about her friends? Is Sutton dead or alive? What dark secrets does Sutton hold? Money missing. An investigation. Sergeant Roy Moreno and Holly Graham. However, Holly does not seem to think Ethan is the culprit. She has to find out more about the stalker, the friends, and where Sutton could have disappeared to. However, was it really SIDs? Ethan had lost his son, his marriage, his wife. His life. Are the friends reliable? Then there was the horrible review from a blogger. Everything had spiraled out of control. The video. Had his wife snapped, or is there something more sinister going on? All the signs point to foul play; however, who is at the wheel and why? Get ready for the ride of your life! Ellison takes readers from Tennessee to Paris and back. Character-driven (unpredictable) we hear from Ethan’s voice in the first part of the novel. Then Sutton the second part. From the past to present and all the dark juicy evil secrets in between. Skillfully executed, with twists and turns keep you guessing as to the real murderer. The creepy (third narrator) voice, carefully orchestrating a plan, watching the cops and all the puppets. Tick tock. A compelling journey through the darker side of the human psyche. An absorbing complex web of deceit. Ellison withholds the identity of the killer until the end. (the final little twist, was perfect). The note from the author seals the deal making this a “must read” if you love literary, psychological thrillers and domestic suspense. (Holly) was the best character. Otherwise, not a lot of likable characters here. If you enjoyed Gone Girl, The Marriage Lie, Every Last Lie, and Behind Closed Doors, LIE TO ME is for you. Movie-worthy and an ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions. A special thank you to MIRA and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. Also pre-ordered the audiobook. Listen to clip which should be quite entertaining narrated by Matthew Waterson, Saskia Maarleveld, Sarah Naughton, and Julia Whelan (my favorite).
PS Be sure and look for Dead Ends: Stories from the Gothic South, Coming Sept 28, featuring 13 original stories by 13 incredible authors.
"[An] exceptional domestic thriller from bestseller Ellison... this standalone may be Ellison's best work to date."—★ Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Wonderful ... a one-more-chapter, don't-eat-dinner, stay-up-late sensation."—Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of NO MIDDLE NAME"
"Fans of GONE GIRL will gobble up this thriller about a marriage from hell, which moves at a blazing-fast pace and smoothly negotiates more twists and turns than the backroads of Tennessee. J.T. Ellison will keep you guessing every step of the way to the surprise ending!"—Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author of ONE PERFECT LIE
"LIE TO ME twists you up, throws you into nail-biting action and unexpected revelations. Belt yourself in for this roller coaster ride."--Catherine Coulter, #1 New York Times bestselling author of ENIGMA
"LIE TO ME brilliantly combines a domestic noir thriller with a searing portrait of two writers trapped in a web of lies, betrayals, and murder. Sharply written and masterfully plotted, full of hard truths about the creative life and modern marriage, Ellison has written her finest novel- a breakout page-turner certain to win her a wide audience." -Jeff Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of BLAME
"A wickedly good thriller about a picture-perfect marriage that is anything but, LIE TO ME has it all: murder, lies and betrayal. J.T. Ellison will have readers hanging onto the edge of their seats with her latest cunning tale." —Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of EVERY LAST LIE
"Secrets, secrets, who has more secrets? Writers or wives? With more surprises than a kitchen sink casserole, in LIE TO ME, J.T. Ellison lets us in on what goes on behind the closed doors of both." —Helen Ellis, New York Times bestselling author of AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE
"Ellison knows how to deliver gripping psychological suspense... Appearances can be deceiving, but Ellison's writing is not." —Library Journal
"...An astonishing and satisfying ending that makes for a fantastic reading experience." —RT Book Reviews
"[An] immensely readable domestic thriller... lush prose." —Booklist
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes standalone domestic noir and psychological thriller series, the latter starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the international thriller series “A Brit in the FBI" with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the Emmy Award-winning literary television series, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.
Follow J.T. online at Facebook, Twitter @thrillerchick, or Instagram @jt_thrillerchick for more insight into her wicked imagination. Read More