An Honest Lie
An Honest Lie is a suspense book by Tarryn Fisher published on 2022-04-26.
Lorraine "Rainy" is a New York sculptor who has recently moved from New York to Washington to be with her new boyfriend, but she's having a difficult time being around the women in his circle of friends. Actually, she has a difficult time being around people in general, but she's afraid to tell anyone why: she grew up in an oppressive abusive cult. Though she escaped the cult when she was a teen, years later, the cult wants her back, and they're willing to do anything to get her.
A friend of mine had finished this book and said, though it had a slow start, it got really good near the end. She loaned her copy to me, but I ended up getting the audiobook of it in order to read it more easily. I finished it on 2022-06-08.
I don't own this book, but I've listened to the audio book read by Lauren Fortgang.
- The author does a good job presenting a cult survivor without being explicit. Rainy is never sure of herself and constantly second guessing the motives of even her closets friends.
- There are several scenes in the book that are quite suspenseful like Lorraine and Summer trying to escape the prison and Rainy foolishly following the instructions to meet "Paul." Likewise, there are several mystery elements that had me mulling over possible outcomes, which is always a good sign.
- The scene where a bunch of male government agents ignore a teen girl who is clearly being abused was very aggravating because it all-too-accurately describes the state of child trafficking in the USA.
- The author does a great job of showing just what Christianity is capable of when run by a charismatic sociopath.
- The author leaves a handful of hints as to the past and current motives of the characters throughout the book. For example, Summer is pretty sure she was never alone with Taured in his room, but still has occasional strange memories of being there, why?
- Rainy tricking Taured into saving her was a great choice.
- Naming one of the cult members John Wycliffe was a nice nod to people who study biblical history.
- I don't like it when authors change their narration style mid-story. Fisher starts with third person narration and describes everything Summer/Rainy experiences immediately as she experiences it, but, when Summer sees a photo which causes her distress, the author waits two-and-a-half chapters before describing it. This is a cheap way to add suspense and there are several other examples like this throughout the story.
- When Summer befriends Sarah at the commune, you assume she's going to be a significant character, but she's forgotten for about a dozen chapters. When she next appears, she's only there for a little bit to help Summer escape, and is then ignored again only to be killed off behind the scenes. This is true with most of the other secondary characters as well, they all end up being used like prop. If more time was spent on making each character important to Summer, their inclusion (and deaths) would have been meaningful. As it was, I didn't really care about any of them.
- The game where the women have to each answer a personal question doesn't work. As Rainy says before it starts, the women are all longtime friends, so they should already know everything about each other. So, why are their answers presented as surprises to the others? Also, having Mackenzie describe being raped at the age of 15 is a very serious thing, but then it doesn't go anywhere. It felt like a cheap grab for an emotional response.
- When Rainy and Braithe are both tied up and about to be murdered, it sure seems like Rainy's priority should be escaping, but she instead decides to interrogate Braithe about her boyfriend. This wasn't very believable.
- The kitchen was supposed to be under major renovations, so it's unlikely the gas would have been hooked up. Also, because smoke is so common within them, I'm pretty sure large kitchens use heat detectors instead of smoke alarms, so it probably wouldn't go off from a burning steak.
- Not a major thing since most people get it wrong, but "anti-social" doesn't mean avoiding social gatherings. I point this out because Rainy supposedly attended a lot of therapy, so she should have known the correct usage.
- In the book, the flashback of how Summer got her nose broke was followed by Tara saying she should get it fixed. I felt like this should have been reversed, with her prying friend triggering the flashback instead.
- The author often writes something along the lines of "oh yeah, I failed to mention that Rainy did something in the past that helps her out now." For example, when Rainy gets the note from the buffet about which hotel room she has to go to, there is no mention of her doing anything else, but several chapters later, the reader is told that she left an envelope of evidence for the police while there. Likewise, there is no indication of it in the whole book, but, just before Rainy confronts Taured at the very end, we discover Rainy took intense self-defense classes which explains why she's able to successfully fight a larger man. I know this style isn't entirely uncommon in the mystery and suspense genre, but, to me, it sounds more like the author wrote herself into a corner, then had to come up with a way to solve her predicament at the last minute without wanting to rewrite earlier parts of the book. Planned or not, it doesn't feel organic, and it irked me every time.
- Taured kidnapping a Lorraine and Summer from the airport with a gun wasn't at all believable. Even in the 1990s, airport security was so high that all Lorraine had to do was scream "he has a gun!" and Taured would be arrested, and she and her daughter would be away from him. The author should have included a very explicit reason for why Lorraine couldn't call for help.