Disclosure: This book was provided to me by Edelweiss free of charge in return for an honest and unbiased review. This book is scheduled to be released on December 11, 2018 by Margaret K. McElderry Books.
I have a confession to make. I am a complete sucker for shows like “Pretty Little Liars” and “Harper’s Island”. You know, the genre of show where I can yell, “Bitch, try locking your door!” and for one hour feel slightly superior that I would survive the wrath of a maniacal killer on a (twinkie induced, maybe?) rampage. Let’s be real, though. If I were in a similar situation, I would totally die. I mean, I’m the comic relief. I’d be the second person bumped off – hell, FIRST if all my Asian friends decided to stay home that evening. Plus, I can’t even really run and power-walking away from a killer just isn’t going to get you very far even if it does prevent me from contracting a debilitating case of the tripsies. That being said, I just can’t say no to a cheesy, teenybopper revenge thriller.
Yeah. I need to learn to say no. Wait, where are my manners?! No, thank you.
“This Lie Will Kill You” is not good – in fact it’s borderline terrible. And it really is hard for me to write those words because I so wanted it to be good. Maybe it should have been a glaring red flag to me when the synopsis reads that it’s “Clue” meets “Riverdale”. Really? I love both of those things! Where do I sign up?
Except this book is neither of those things. Even if you stripped “Clue” of it’s brilliant mystery and memorable characters, “This Lie Will Kill You” wouldn’t even come close.
Let’s begin with the writing. I realize that I read an uncorrected proof, however, it kind of reads like a “Dick and Jane” picture book with a serious comma problem. We’re talking very basic words and sentences. You could always tell when the author got really excited about certain words or phrases, though, because they would be repeated extensively throughout the book (a la Stephanie Meyer and “chagrin”). Variations of the word “heart” are used 81 times – 82 if you include the dedication. It is mostly descriptions about Ruby’s heart – how her heart feels, what her heart is made of and, my personal favorite, hopes that her heart would “soften to red”. Whatever the fuck that means. “Cheshire grin” is used 3 times which is definitely 3 times too many. There are various other examples of word/phrasing over-usage but I’ve grown bored.
Pitcher also does something which I wish authors would avoid and that is mentioning other contemporary works within their writing. Hear me out. If you mention “Harry Potter” and your book is kind of crap then guess what? I’m just going to be thinking about how I’d rather be reading Harry Potter. Please, just STOP.
Given the type of novel that “This Lie Will Kill You” is, if the writing were its only issue it could pass with a 2.5/5 star review for me. A solid “meh”. It’s fine. It served its purpose. Unfortunately, the rest of the book is kind of a mess as well.
Let’s begin with the characters. We have a group of teenagers with ridiculous names (Ruby Valentine, Gavin Moon, Juniper Torres, Brett Carmichael, Parker Addison, Shane Ferrick, Brianna Ferrick) and while their names are unique, they’re basically The Breakfast Club.
Ruby Valentine – the most beautiful girl in school, dates the rich guy, has an abusive father
Juniper Torres – good girl who is academically inclined.
Gavin Moon – the outsider.
Brett Carmichael – jock, the muscle.
Parker Addison – controlling rich guy
Shane Ferrick – mysterious newcomer, he’s basically Edward from “Twilight”.
Anyway, they are invited to an eerie mansion for a Murder Mystery Party where the winner will receive a $50,000 scholarship. So of course they all go because money. Very basic plot, which isn’t necessarily a complete dealbreaker. For me, however, the creep factor just wasn’t there and any incidents that were meant to be scary just sort of fell flat. I was promised the intrigue of “Clue” and I got an episode of “Pretty Little Liars” – during the writer’s strike. Ultimately, “This Lie Will Kill You” is lacking any real suspense. Most of the plot consists of flashbacks to an incident that happened the previous summer (sound familiar?). It’s not a real deep mystery either and you basically know where the book is headed from the beginning. It’s too bad the ride along the way just isn’t enjoyable enough to be worth your time.