Entertainingly twisty. 4/5 stars.
Thank you to Quercus and NetGalley for giving me an e-copy of this book.
The blurb: A British drama student, in New York without a green card, Claire takes the only job she can get: working for a firm of divorce lawyers, posing as an easy pick-up in hotel bars to entrap straying husbands.
When one of her targets becomes the subject of a murder investigation, the police ask Claire to use her acting skills to help lure their suspect into a confession. But right from the start, she has doubts about the part she’s being asked to play. Is Patrick Fogler really a killer… Or the only decent husband she’s ever met? And is there more to this set-up than she’s being told?
And that’s when Claire realises she’s playing the deadliest role of her life…
This review will be short and spoiler-free.
Last year I enjoyed JP Delaney’s debut: The Girl Before. It was creepy, well-paced and entertaining, and Believe Me is even better. This is a smooth, quick read which is so engrossing you won’t want to put it down.
And if you’ve been searching for a book with a complex main character who has more layers than an onion, this is the one for you. Claire has so many levels to her personality there are times even she doesn’t seem to know or understand herself!
As you would expect, there are plenty of twists and turns throughout the story, although for me it was the shock half way through the book which had most impact. That said, the final reveal was good, it just wasn’t quite on a par with the “what the heck?!?!” moment earlier on.
Claire is an actress and likes to imagine herself living in a film so often parts of the story are written as if they’re a film or theatre script. This worked well for me because I love reading dialogue and all the chat keeps the narrative moving forward.
The Bauldelaire theme was well-handled and provided a nice through-line for the reader to follow as the plot became increasingly convoluted.
Overall: if you enjoyed The Girl Before prepare yourself for a treat. Believe Me provides plenty more twists, turns and suspense. I look forward to seeing what JP Delaney comes up with next.
Claire Huston / Art and Soul