The Lying Game

Scout: S. & S. Jul. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9781501156007. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501156199. F
Four women, friends since their teen years spent at a boarding school on the English Channel, are thrown together again after nearly 20 years when a body surfaces in the marsh, threatening to destroy all of their carefully constructed lives—and lies. Narrator Isa, a new mom on maternity leave, joins Fatima, a no-nonsense physician who recently reconnected with her Muslim faith; Thea, a beauty who struggles with addiction; and Kate, a troubled artist who never left the small coastal town and lives in a rickety old mill house that's slowly sinking into the surrounding lands. As adolescents, the girls spent many long weekends at the mill house with Ambrose, Kate's artist father, and Luc, her stepbrother. At school, they smoked, drank, snuck out of the dorms at night, and played "the lying game," an ongoing competition to see who could convince their peers and teachers to believe the most outlandish tales. Unlike In a Dark, Dark Wood or The Woman in Cabin 10, Ware's third novel has a more leisurely pacing and values character development over nail-biting suspense. The mystery unfolds slowly and the "big reveal" is likely to be guessed at by observant readers.
VERDICT Though not as chill-inducing as her previous titles, Ware's latest offers nuanced characters, an atmospheric small-town British setting, and a satisfying mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/17.]
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