Disclaimer: I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I wouldn't have guessed it, but fiction is a new world to author Rebecca Reid. Reid is a freelance journalist, having written for the Telegraph's Women's section, Metro Online, Marie Claire, and the Independent, among others. Her debut novel, Perfect Liars, shows that she has a real talent for both fiction and non-fiction.
Perfect Liars begins with intrigue. The novel opens on a funeral, leaving the reader questioning - who is it for? There are three likely candidates: Georgia, Nancy, and Lila. The women are long-term friends, their friendship forged by years spent in a prestigious UK boarding school.
Both still in the UK, Georgia and Lila have retained some semblance of friendship. This friendship is what's led to Georgia contacting Nancy, now in the USA. She's concerned about Lila's drinking. We quickly learn her concern is not just that of a friend. There's more to it. Lila's ready to let the truth slip out; the truth about an incident involving the three women during their final year of school. Something that could destroy them all.
Georgia, Nancy, and Lila's secret is slowly revealed through creative use of structure. Chapters alternate between each woman's point of view and follow two threads - then and now. The "now" chapters focus on Georgia and Nancy's investigation into how close Lila is to spilling their secret. The "then" chapters follow the trio's final year of school, leading to the devastating secret that they are still all trying desperately to keep. What are they hiding, what happened all those years ago, and what will they do to make sure nobody ever finds out?
"They were like three strands of a vine which had been trained into one, bound together first with wire but then with nothing but time."
- Rebecca Reid, Perfect Liars
Perfect Liars is not a novel for the faint of heart. It's not for readers who dislike stories with unlikable characters. Almost every character is unlikable, even irredeemable. They are manipulative, secretive, emotionally destructive, alcoholic, dependent, and sometimes greedy, sly, and immoral. Reid has done a remarkable job of writing these characters as fully-fleshed human beings. They may be unlikable, but they are also very compelling.
Every scene, particularly those that take place at the school, were full of a vivid cast of characters. Each were easy to imagine, completely different from each other. Reid's writing truly brings Perfect Liars to life.
The dark overtones and focus on women and teenage girls elevate Reid's novel to the same class as Megan Abbott's similarly focused stories. Perhaps even to the same class as Gillian Flynn.
It's an exciting time to be a reader in the female crime genre, and Reid has made it even more enjoyable. Perfect Liars is a sly look into volatile female friendships. This debut is fantastic; a dark, twisted, and foreboding novel that introduces Rebecca Reid to the scene with a bang. Or a particularly benevolent, slow-burning flame. Reid will certainly be an author to watch.
Why Read this Book?
- Compelling and Unconventional Characters
- Female author
- Debut Novel
- Female Characters
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Three schoolgirls, one dark secret. How far will they go to prevent anybody from uncovering the truth?