Author: Jo Spain
Published: May 2021 by Quercus
Category: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Book Review
He jumped to his death in front of witnesses. Now his wife is charged with murder.
Five years ago, Erin Kennedy moved to New York following a family tragedy. She now lives happily with her detective husband in the scenic seaside town of Newport, Long Island. When Erin answers the door to Danny’s police colleagues one morning, it’s the start of an ordinary day. But behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.
Eighteen months later, Erin is in court, charged with her husband’s murder. Over that year and a half, Erin has learned things about Danny she could never have imagined. She thought he was perfect. She thought their life was perfect.
But it was all built on the perfect lie.
Opening with an intense and dramatic scene, The Perfect Lie tells the story of Erin Kennedy who moved to New York from her home in Ireland after a devastating family tragedy. She met and married homicide detective Danny Ryan two years previously.
The day that changed everything and turned Erin’s life upside down began as normal…until the knock on the door. Erin saw it was Danny’s partner, Ben Mitchell, claiming he was bringing bad news. An utterly defeated look appeared on Danny’s face, he walked to the balcony outside the French windows, climbed over the rail and disappeared before Erin realised what was happening. Their apartment was on the fourth floor.
Danny doesn’t look like Danny at all.
His expression is indescribable. A mixture of pain and apology. He opens his mouth as if to say something, but instead, just swallows. He looks away, like just the sight of me is causing him pain.
He lifts one leg over the balcony.
The narrative is told in three timelines – Erin then as she deals with life after Danny’s suicide. Harvard, with two women coping with the aftermath of an attack on one of them, and Erin now, as she is being tried for the murder of her husband. The plot initially is slightly confusing. I didn’t see where the Harvard timeline fitted in and honestly felt that could have been condensed somewhat, but it does all tie together as the story progresses and information is drip fed slowly.
The more Erin digs, the more she realised the Danny she thought she knew didn’t really exist. He had so many secrets and also, it seems, demons. Swamped by confusion and intense sadness, Erin was determined to find out the truth even as it lead her down paths she didn’t want to travel, throwing up things about Danny she could hardly credit. She didn’t know who to trust or what to believe, finding herself blocked at every turn.
I always look forward to a new Jo Spain novel and this one didn’t disappoint. It’s quite a study in how people present themselves, the face they put on for others. The Perfect Lie is plot driven, complex and multi layered, as are the great cast of characters whether you love them or not, sending the reader in one and then another direction, only to find they lead nowhere. The plot and writing are wonderful as always. It’s an unpredictable and intriguing guessing game with some unexpected reveals as things unfold, which fleshed out the characters and brought emotions to the surface—anger, guilt and revenge among others. A very enjoyable read.
Book links ~ Bookshop.org | Hive Books | Amazon |
Jo Spain is the author of the bestselling Inspector Tom Reynolds series and several international No. 1 bestselling standalone novels. Her first book, With Our Blessing, was a finalist in the 2015 Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller.
Jo, a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, writes TV screenplays full-time. Her first crime series was broadcast on RTE in 2018 and she’s currently involved in a number of TV developments including adaptations of her own novels. In 2021, she co-wrote Harry Wild, starring Jane Seymour, with the Emmy award-winning David Logan (airing 2022).
Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and four young children. In her spare time (she has four children, there is no spare time really) she likes to read. Her favourite authors include Pierre Lemaitre, Jo Nesbo, Liane Moriarty, Fred Vargas and Jodi Picoult. She also watches TV obsessively.
Jo thinks up her plots on long runs in the woods. Her husband sleeps with one eye open.