Monday, January 5, 2009

Never Tell a Lie by Hallie Ephron

Flap copy from the ARC:
The perfect couple, Ivy and David have been together since high school. David's business is beginning to take off, they're fixing up a wonderful Victorian house, and after several years of trying, Ivy is about to give birth to their first child. Making a clean sweep in preparation for the big event, they hold a yard sale. And who should turn up but Melinda, a woman neither Ivy nor David has seen in years.

To Ivy's surprise, Melinda begins to reminisce about their days in high school, intimating a close friendship between her and David. Unnerved by the woman's odd behavior, Ivy is relieved when David creates a distraction to draw Melinda away.

What Ivy doesn't know is that the strange encounter is only the beginning of a hellish nightmare of deceit and betrayal.

This is a hard review for me to write. On the one hand, I stayed up into the wee hours reading this book; on the other hand, I guessed the big secret (no, no spoiler here) pretty early on which defeated the "mystery" part of the book. Never Tell a Lie is a quick read, though I thought it got off to a bit of a slow start. Ivy is well-drawn and definitely elicited an emotional reaction; David, Tony, and Melinda were all much more hazy and therefore harder to connect with as a reader.

I thought the mystery unfolded well, with drama building appropriately even though I was certain of the climax. Ephron did a masterful job conveying how slightly off kilter everything appeared to Ivy- understandably off kilter as she is trying to split her focus between a murder investigation and the last few weeks of her high risk pregnancy.

A good solid read, I would recommend Never Tell a Lie to other mystery fans. I'm giving it a 3.5 because I did guess the ending, but would have gone to 4 if the mystery had lasted a couple of chapters longer for me because it was so well written.

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