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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

A Lovely Lie

Narrator: Hillary Huber

HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

ISBN: 9781613165188

Publisher: Penzler Publishers, Scarlet

Publication Date: 05/28/2024

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

Is it better to believe a lovely lie or to know the horrible truth?

1999: The night of their senior picnic, Scarlett Russo and her best friend Pepper were involved in a car accident that left two of their classmates dead. Afterward, they lied to the police, protecting each other from the consequences. Then Pepper left town and Scarlett never heard from her again…

Now: Twenty-two years later, Scarlett has buried that deadly incident deep in her mind and built a comfortable life for herself, working in a hotel on the west coast of Florida and raising her teenage son with her husband Vince. Her peace is disrupted, however, when Pepper’s daughter shows up with news of Pepper’s death. Zoey is twenty-one and studying to be an investigative journalist. She has a cryptic letter from Pepper addressed to Scarlett that alludes to the events of that fateful night and Pepper’s initial intentions to get an abortion. Now Zoey wants answers about her mother’s past. Who is Zoey’s father? And what really happened after the senior picnic? As Zoey continues to dig into the past, all of Scarlett’s buried secrets threaten to rise to the surface.

Jaime Lynn Hendricks, “the queen of the page-turner” (Ashley Winstead), will have you questioning who you can trust in this intricately twisted thriller.

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My Review

Jaime Lynn Hendricks's latest, A LOVELY LIE, is a multi-layered twisty domestic thriller as the past and present collide— dark secrets, betrayal, manipulation, and murder are unraveled with jaw-dropping twists. #Covercrush

Is it better to believe a lovely lie or know the horrible truth?


I read the book and listened to the audiobook narrated by one of my favorites, Hillary Huber, delivering an outstanding and entertaining performance for all voices. Unputdownable!


With dual timelines, we visit the past/present.

PAST: 1999: Scarlett and her best friend Pepper, teens drunk after a party, are involved in a deadly car accident, leaving two of their classmates dead. Both lied to the cops, and no one was held accountable. Pepper moved on to New York to explore her acting career, and Scarlett in Florida, married to Pepper's old boyfriend. Now they have a son, Luke.

PRESENT: 22 years later

Scarlett is a hotel concierge. She is married to Vince and has a son, Luke. They reside in Florida, and she and her husband are not all that happy together. He still pines for his old flame, Pepper.


When Zoey, a young girl, shows up at the hotel with news that her mother, Pepper, is dead and she is looking for her biological father, things go a little crazy. Nothing or no one is as they appear.

She has a cryptic letter from Pepper addressed to Scarlett that refers to the events long ago and their secret. Pepper was pregnant back then but planned on having an abortion. Did she keep the baby? Is Vince the father?

Zoey starts digging into the past, and all the secrets start unraveling. What really happened that night years ago? Who was the real murderer?

My thoughts...

The past refuses to stay buried. A LOVELY LIE is INTENSE, twisty, and full of characters you will love to hate. (Pepper is the worst) and those she controls and manipulates from past to present. The author keeps you guessing as to the identity of the killer and the biological father of Zoey. Adults and teens behaving badly with a YA vibe.

A fast-paced psychological drama! From lies, secrets, and unlikable characters the author keeps you glued to the pages to see how all will unravel. I enjoyed the ending! My first book by the author, and I look forward to reading more.


A LOVELY LIE is for fans of Megan Miranda, Wendy Walker, Stephen Amidon, Christina McDonald, and Michele Campbell.

Thanks to Penzler Publishers, Highbridge Audio, and NetGalley for gifting an ARC and ALC in exchange for an honest review.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars


"Hendricks knows how to keep the pages turning in her latest mystery about a decades old murder and the lie that’s kept the truth buried. Totally addictive!"

― Wendy Walker, bestselling author of What Remains

"Juicy, beguiling, and utterly delightful! With ratcheting tension and a clever, compelling plot, you’ll love this fantastic twistfest about how the repercussions of the past reverberate into the present. An irresistibly gripping thriller."

― Christina McDonald, USA Today and Amazon charts bestselling author

"Deliciously wicked and briskly paced, A LOVELY LIE simmers with deadly secrets, whiplash twists, and a whole lot of attitude. An irresistible page-turner."

― Heather Chavez, author of Before She Finds Me

"Expertly plotted, full of head-snapping twists, suspenseful and funny, authentic and full of heart, A Lovely Lie is everything a thriller should be. I read my eyes out and loved every minute. A must read!"

― Michele Campbell, internationally bestselling author of The Intern

"What happens when the mistakes of youth threaten to destroy the life you now live? The latest from Jaime Lynn Hendricks pulls back the curtain on a friend group with a deadly secret, and the new generation of teens desperate to know the truth. Full of tension and hairpin turns, A Lovely Lie is a no-holds-barred thriller guaranteed to make you gasp."

― Tessa Wegert, author of Devils at the Door

"My favorite kind of thriller: a crime at the edge of the millennium, buried teenage secrets coming back to haunt, and twist after twist. A Lovely Lie is a lovely and clever story, and might just be Jaime Lynn Hendricks’s best yet!"

― Alex Finlay, bestselling author of The Night Shift

"Jaime Lynn Hendricks kicks the family thriller up ten notches in A LOVELY LIE, making me gasp out loud multiple times as the twists kept coming. Immersive, compelling, and utterly binge-worthy, it's a wild ride from start to finish. Highly recommended!"

― Hannah Mary McKinnon, internationally bestselling author of The Revenge List

"A Jaime Lynn Hendricks book is always the perfect escape. A Lovely Lie is yet another wildly entertaining, delectably twisty, edge-of-your-seat thriller. Told in multiple POVs from a cast of captivating characters, this sensational suspense takes the reader on a journey from a tragic party in senior year of high school to a nail-biting showdown years later. With her signature wit and addictive voice, Hendricks has written another magnificent novel that is impossible to put down."

― Samantha M. Bailey, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of A Friend in the Dark

"When you read a Hendricks book, you can expect to be hooked by one twist after another, a relentless pace, and smart writing. In A Lovely Lie, Hendricks combines wit, plotting and pace into an irresistible, fresh, tangy cocktail of high-wire tension and engaging characterization. Unmissable."

― Damyanti Biswas, bestselling author of the Blue Mumbai series


― Kirkus

About the Author

Jaime Lynn Hendricks’s debut novel, Finding Tessa, was called “an anxiety fueled ride rife with unexpected left turns” by Publishers Weekly, and won a “Best of 2021” in the debut category from Suspense Magazine. It is also available in UK & Commonwealth under the title His Missing Wife. It Could Be Anyone, published 2022, was described as “Riveting from its opening scene” by bestselling author Robyn Harding. NYT Bestselling author Mary Kubica said it “starts with a bang and never lets up.” Publisher’s Weekly says, “Hendricks maximizes the suspense of her Clue-style premise, smoothly manipulating and misdirecting readers… Those who want the voyeuristic fun of crashing an over-the-top wedding—without any of the hangover—will be rewarded.” It is also available in UK & Commonwealth under the title Her Husband’s Murder.

Before writing thrillers, Jaime spent two decades in print media and marketing. She lives with her husband in Florida. READ MORE

Author photo by Kristin Anderson (@kristinandersonstudios).







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