We all know what we we did, the way that slow, sunlit summer unraveled beneath our fingers…
Published: July 25th, 2017
Publisher: Scout Press
Pages: 368 (hardcover)
Series: N/A – Standalone
Part of the Lying Game was always to know when the game was up, when to bail out… But I’m not sure we’ve succeeded this time.
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…
The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).
It appears that I’ve fallen into another trap. I’m affectionately calling it the ‘Ware Trap’, it happens every time I pick up a book that has great reviews and am subsequently disappointed. See, Ruth Ware has four books out at the moment and of those four I have read three. Of those three, only one has struck me as a great thriller. I picked up The Lying Game thinking it was going to be a great psychological thriller, but instead I found it predictable, enjoyable, but predictable where the mystery is involved.
I want to start by saying I enjoyed this book as a piece of fiction; I really like Ware’s writing style and am always drawn into her books in a way that makes me want to devour them on the spot. I always enjoy her characters, from the good to the slightly creepy, and I think she has a wonderful way of building complex characters and intricate relationships. For this book in particular, I enjoyed reading about Isa’s relationship with her daughter. The way she describes that motherly bond stuck me as profoundly beautiful.
The problems I have with this book unwind over time and slowly build until I reach the end and think “wow, what?” First, I thought the plot was interesting and I really liked the way it was building, but in the end the resolution was kind of blah. I had figured it out about half way through, but I was hoping I was wrong because I wanted it to be something crazier and really twisty, but again, as with her first novel, I was disappointed. There were a few points in the book that I thought was creepy, interesting, and made me want to read more, but overall I was underwhelmed.
I have a sort of love-hate relationship with this book because on one hand I enjoyed it and on the other I thought the mystery part was underwhelming and predictable. So, after almost a full day of consideration, I gave it three roses because I can’t lie and say I didn’t like it. Will I read Ware’s newest book? Yes, in time, I will. I have no doubts I’ll enjoy it to the extent that involves the writing, characters, and atmosphere, but I can’t guarantee I’ll enjoy the mystery/thriller aspect to it.
Other Books by Ruth Ware: