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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Lying Club

ISBN: 978-0778333180

Publisher: Park Row

Publication Date: 03/22/2022

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 3.5 Stars (ARC)

"If you loved Big Little Lies and Little Fires Everywhere, allow me to introduce you to your next obsession. —Kim Liggett, New York Times bestselling author of The Grace Year

A tangled web of lies draws together three women in this explosive thriller of revenge, murder and shocking secrets

At an elite private school nestled in the Colorado mountains, Natalie, an office assistant, dreams of having a life like the school moms she deals with every day. Women like Brooke—a gorgeous heiress, ferociously loving mother and serial cheater—and Asha, an overprotective mom who suspects her husband of having an affair. Their fates are bound by the handsome assistant athletic director Nicholas, whom Natalie loves, Brooke wants and Asha needs.

But when two bodies are carried out of the school one morning, it seems the tension between mothers and daughters, rival lovers, and the haves and have-nots has shattered the surface of this isolated, affluent town—where people stop at nothing to get what they want.

Don't miss Annie Ward's other twisty and utterly original thriller, Beautiful Bad!


"If you loved Big Little Lies and Little Fires Everywhere, allow me to introduce you to your next obsession. Wildly addictive, smart, and chilling, The Lying Club will have you on the edge of your seat, guessing until the very last page.

—Kim Liggett, New York Times bestselling author of The Grace Year

"Layers of deceit and intrigue explosively unravel at an elite private school in this dark and compelling must-read. A master of misdirection, Ward takes the reader on a continual roller coaster ride with one shocking twist after another."

—Liv Constantine, International bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

“The Lying Club is a stunning whodunnit that will keep readers captivated until its final page. Ward has created characters so real you’ll feel like you’re a member of their dark and twisted world where everyone is a suspect, and everyone has a motive. The Lying Club is an edgy, addictive read about the lengths people go to in the name of love, no matter the consequences. Fans of Big Little Lies will revel in this dark, pacey page-turner.”

—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of Before She Was Found

"Annie Ward ratchets up the tension in this tantalizing story of jealousy, privilege, lies and murder. With breakneck pacing and one shocking revelation after the next, The Lying Club will absolutely wow readers of domestic suspense."

—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Local Woman Missing

"Annie Ward's The Lying Club paints a frightening picture of a toxic prep school shrouded in layers of manipulation and secrecy. Her novel gives the reader a window into a world of privilege gone horribly awry. You will not be able to put it down."

—Mary Dixie Carter, author of The Photographer

“Dark and disturbing…This book will likely appeal to readers who enjoy stories ripped from current headlines as well as to fans of Megan Abbott, Layne Fargo, Elizabeth Thomas, and Christopher Yates.”


My Review

Deceit. Lies. Secrets. Gaslighting. Manipulation.

Annie Ward returns from Beautiful Bad with a drama-filled, scandalous domestic thriller —THE LYING GAME. The haves and the have nots.

Meet the protagonist, Natalie Bellman, an administrative assistant at the elite Falcon Academy private school in the beautiful Colorado Mountains. She has a crush on Nick and would love to have the money and beauty of the moms whose girls attend the school. She has lots of problems.

Handsome Nick Maguire, the athletic director at the academy and the girl's soccer team coach, is at the center of all the trouble and attention. Is he as charming as he seems? Can he be trusted?

Then there are the privileged moms and daughters of the school.

Brooke, the gorgeous heiress, mother, and cheater.

Asha, a helicopter mom overachiever, suspects her hubby is having an affair.

Everyone seems to want a piece of Nick.

Natalie and Brook want him.

Asha needs him to assist her daughter's future at UCLA.

There are lies, jealousy, infidelity, and now it looks like murder when two bodies are carried out of the school. Sloane (mom Brook) and Mia (mom Ash) are daughters and friends. They both play on the soccer team.

The first part of the book deals with the background and character development.

Natalie is completely crazy and makes terrible choices.

She thinks Nick likes her.

She self-medicates and stalks.

All the while trying to develop a relationship with the two moms who have hired Nick to give private soccer lessons to their daughters.

None of the characters are likable and toxic. Of course, these moms are privileged and wealthy. But they soon realize maybe Nick may not be what he appears to be.

Natalie wakes up in her car in the school's parking lot and sees footsteps in the snow leading to the gym and back to her car. She does not remember, but she sees the body lying in a pool of blood. Does all this sound a little crazy? It is.

A slow-burn, dark, and disturbing domestic thriller. However, the book speeds up about 70% when all the action starts. A school scandalized. An entire town obsessed with wealth, prestige, and winning has been an obsession.

Fans of Big Little Lies will enjoy this dark and twisty thriller of manipulation, backstabbing, entitlement, revenge, and murder. If you like a lot of drama, it has plenty.

Thank you to @parkrowbooks and @netgalley for an ARC to read, review and enjoy.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Pub Date: March 22, 2022

About the Author

Annie’s third novel and second psychological thriller THE LYING CLUB will be released by Harper Collins/Park Row books in March 2022.​

Her previous novel BEAUTIFUL BAD was published in seventeen foreign territories, nominated for best debut mystery novel at the Strand Magazine Critics Awards in 2019 and optioned by Warner Brothers for feature film development.​

Annie received a BA in English Lit with an emphasis in Creative Writing from UCLA and an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. While studying at AFI, she sold her first short screenplay to MTV/ BFCS Productions. Starring Adam Scott and Joey Lauren Adams, STRANGE HABIT became a Grand Jury Award Winner at the Aspen Film Festival and a Sundance Festival Official Selection.

After film school, Annie moved to Eastern Europe to work for Fodor Travel Guides, covering regions of Spain and Bulgaria. She remained in Bulgaria for five years spanning a civilian uprising and government overthrow. Her first novel THE MAKING OF JUNE, which Annie wrote with the Bulgarian revolution and Balkan crisis as its backdrop was sold to Penguin Putnam and published to critical acclaim in 2002.

Don't miss Annie Ward's other twisty and utterly original thriller, Beautiful Bad!

During Annie’s five years in the Balkans she received a Fulbright Scholarship, taught at the University of Sofia, and script doctored eight screenplays for Nu-Image, an Israeli/American film company that produced a number of projects in Bulgaria for the SyFy Channel. She was later the recipient of an Escape to Create artist residency.​

In addition to writing, she has worked as a cocktail server, tutor, PE teacher, soccer and gymnastics coach, and publicity assistant in a major publishing house.​

Home base is Kansas City. Website



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