Friday, 5 March 2010

CRIME FICTION REVIEW: Beautiful Lies, Silver of Truth, Black Out, Die for You - Lisa Unger

BOOK BLURB: Beautiful Lies
If Ridley Jones had slept ten minutes later or had taken the subway instead of waiting for a cab, she would still be living the beautiful lie she used to call her life. She would still be the privileged daughter of a doting father and a loving mother. Her life would still be perfect—with only the tiny cracks of an angry junkie for a brother and a charming drunk with shady underworld connections for an uncle to mar the otherwise flawless whole.

But that's not what happened. Instead, those inconsequential decisions lead her to perform a good deed that puts her in the right place at the right time to unleash a chain of events that brings a mysterious package to her door—a package which informs her that her entire world is a lie.

Suddenly forced to question everything she knows about herself and her family, Ridley wanders into dark territory she never knew existed, where everyone in her life seems like a stranger. She has no idea who's on her side and who has something to hide—even, and maybe especially, her new lover, Jake, who appears to have secrets of his own.

Sexy and fast-paced, Beautiful Lies is a true literary thriller with one of the freshest voices and heroines to arrive in years. Lisa Unger takes us on a breathtaking ride in which every choice Ridley makes creates a whirlwind of consequences that are impossible to imagine . . . .


The first thing that I’m going to say is a general statement for the first two novels by Lisa Unger, do not try to start anywhere else other than book one as otherwise you’ll end up getting not only confused but miss out on a whole lot of background.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, lets tackle this series one book at a time. Here in the original outing for Ridley Jones we get to see that a life that has the feel of something close to perfect is not all that she’s been led to believe. As after saving a child from a speeding car see’s her whole life turned upside down as revelations about her past lead her to question her whole background.

It’s different to the usual crime thrillers out there. It’s extremely well written and above all it’s a tale that gave me an immense sense of satisfaction upon its completion, not that it was a struggle but it was a real pleasure to read and whilst knowing that I had another three books ahead of me, made me glad that I’d finally been turned onto this authors writing.

BOOK BLURB: Sliver of Truth
Recently, Ridley Jones stepped off a street corner and into an abyss of violence, deception, and fear. She is being a lot more careful about where she steps and trying to get on with her life when another seemingly mundane act- picking up a few envelopes of prints at a photo lab- puts Ridley at the nexus of a global network of crime. A shadowy figure of a man appears in almost every picture she's taken in the last year, lurking just far enough away to make identification impossible. Everyone from the federal government to the criminal underworld wants to know who the man is- and where he is- and some people are willing to kill to find out.

Now the FBI is at her door, some serious bad guys are following her every move, and the family she once loved and relied on is more distant than ever. Ridley has never felt so confused or alone in her life. Everyone she loves has turned out to be a stranger- she even feels like a stranger to herself. Is she a product of nature or nurture?

At once hunting down a ghost and running for her life, Ridley doesn't know if she ever had the power to shape her own destiny or if love exists anywhere beyond her imagination. The only thing Ridley knows for sure is that she has to get to the truth about herself and her past if she's ever going to find her way home.

Charged with relentless intensity and kinetic action, playing out with unnerving suspense on the streets of New York and London, and seen through the terrified but determined eyes of a young woman whose body and heart are pushed to the point of shattering, Sliver of Truth is another triumph from the New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Lies.


The second novel by Lisa and one that I really hoped would live up to the expectations that I’d garnered since reading the first one. Would Lisa keep the reader glued with this her second, and in most authors opinions, the harder novel to write or would everything fall apart?

As with the first novel, its the principle heroine who really keeps the reader glued as her tale is told in a personal voice that makes you relax and want to know more about her. After the events of the first novel, here Ridley has to deal with a lot of the fallout from the end of the first novel along with dealing with having to reinterpret past relationships as well as a possible deception. Finally, add to this great dialogue as well as a fast moving plot and it’s a series that I am hooked upon.

When my mother named me Ophelia, she thought she was being literary. She didn't realize she was being tragic.

On the surface, Annie Powers's life in a wealthy Floridian suburb is happy and idyllic. Her husband, Gray, loves her fiercely; together, they dote on their beautiful young daughter, Victory. But the bubble surrounding Annie is pricked when she senses that the demons of her past have resurfaced and, to her horror, are now creeping up on her. These are demons she can't fully recall because of a highly dissociative state that allowed her to forget the tragic and violent episodes of her earlier life as Ophelia March and to start over, under the loving and protective eye of Gray, as Annie Powers. Disturbing events—the appearance of a familiar dark figure on the beach, the mysterious murder of her psychologist—trigger strange and confusing memories for Annie, who realizes she has to quickly piece them together before her past comes to claim her future and her daughter.


As with the previous two novels its beautifully written and whilst the author has changed principle protagonista its one that works extremely well also allowing them to grow. A change allows the series to stay fresh and its something that I really can’t recommend more to the reader than you have to read it. It’s a great blend of Fiction and Thriller and something that I really can’t praise higher than that. Definitely an author who has not only survived her baptism of fire, but came out stronger and with more talent with each successive novel as more twists and turns conflict the protagonista so she doesn’t quite know which way is up.

BOOK BLURB: Die for You
Isabel and Marcus Raines are the perfect couple. She is a well known novelist; he is a brilliant inventor of high-tech games. They've been married for five years and still enjoy a loving romance.

But one morning, Marcus says he loves her, leaves for work, and disappears into thin air.

Isabel relentlessly tried to reach him when he doesn't return home. But when his call finally comes, she hears only aman's terrified scream. The police are of no use. The screams she heardmay be a television show, a prank, they tell her.Men leave. They leave all the time.

Isabel races to Marcus's office, trying to find some answers. Instead she finds herself in the middle of an FBI raid, and she is knocked unconscious.When she awakes in a hospital, she learns that everyone Marcus worked with is dead.

She returns home to find their apartment ransacked, and the police are there. They urge her to check her bank accounts. Her money - their money - is gone.

Then the police discover that Marcus Raines is a dead man. Long dead. Years dead. Isabel has been married to a stranger.

And now the chase is on, because Isabel will not rest until she finds the truth about the man she loved, who he was, where he's gone, and how he was able to deceive her so completely.


As with book three we get a new heroine to follow who after her husband’s disappearance seeks to solve the crime herself. What Lisa Unger does well is create a character that the reader can care about blending it with a cracking plot outline and ties it all up with some top notch twists and turns that will keep the reader on tender hooks. Lisa continues to grow from strength to strength with each successive novel and as such is fast becoming an author to set the standard by. A real gem of a novel which leaves me wondering exactly what Lisa will come up with next., the sky is no limit it seems to this author.


Diane Girard said...

I will lookd for her books, starting with the first one.

Have you reviewed any of Peter May's chinese series. I read the third one and am searching for the others now. I love the details about modern China and the detective, Li, is a fascinating character.

Michelle said...

I'll have to check Lisa's books out.