Review: The Better Liar by Tanen Jones

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

When a woman conceals her sister’s death to claim their joint inheritance, her deception exposes a web of dangerous secrets in this addictive new thriller for fans of Megan Abbott, Gillian Flynn, and Paula Hawkins.

“Like most of the dead, I want to be remembered.”

Robin Voigt is dead. If Leslie had arrived at her sister’s cramped Las Vegas apartment just hours earlier, this would have been their first reunion in a decade. In the years since Robin ran away from home as a teenager, Leslie has stayed in New Mexico, taking care of their dying father even as she began building a family of her own. But when their father passed away, Leslie received a rude awakening: She and Robin would receive the inheritance he left them together—or not at all. Now her half of the money may be beyond her grasp. And unbeknownst to anyone, even her husband, Leslie needs it desperately.

When she meets a charismatic young woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Robin—and has every reason to leave her past behind—the two make a reckless bargain: Mary will impersonate Robin for a week in exchange for Robin’s half of the cash. But neither realizes how high the stakes will become when Mary takes a dead woman’s name. Even as Mary begins to suspect Leslie is hiding something, and Leslie realizes the stranger living in her house, babysitting her newborn son, and charming her husband has secrets of her own, Robin’s wild, troubled legacy threatens to eclipse them both.

An electric, twisted portrait of sisterhood and the ties that bind, The Better Liar is a stunning debut with a heart-stopping, twist-after-twist finale that will beg the question: How far would you go to get what’s yours?

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Better Liar will be available January 14, 2020. 

I had really high hopes for The Better Liar. It sounded intriguing and suspenseful and multiple twists are promised in the synopsis. Unfortunately, none of those things ended up being true for me. Instead of the psychological suspense I was expecting, this book read much more like a Women’s Fiction story, focusing on two sisters with a dysfunctional childhood who turned into two dysfunctional adults. It’s also supposed to shine a light on postpartum depression, but I don’t think that was done all that effectively, even with the condescending Author’s Note about it at the end of the book.

The story is told from three points of view: Leslie, Robin, and Mary. I liked the multiple perspectives, even if they all sounded basically the same. The premise definitely had promise, but I found myself pretty bored for most of the book. I disliked all of the characters and found a lot of their actions a little unrealistic. I kept waiting for the multiple twists and when they finally happened I thought they were kind lackluster. I expected a really explosive, twisted ending and was left pretty disappointed.

Overall, The Better Liar was just not for me. While it had promise, it failed to live up to it. I think if this had been packaged as Women’s Fiction rather than Mystery/Thriller, I could have adjusted my expectations and enjoyed it more. However, I have seen many more favorable reviews on this than mine, so it may still be worth picking up for some.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

8 thoughts on “Review: The Better Liar by Tanen Jones

  1. Ugh. Women’s fiction? What is with it popping up in EVERYTHING lately? I mean, I love a good WF book, but I feel like it’s taking over too much. First with romance, now in psychological suspense? I mean, do they just not know how to market books anymore in the right categories? Sorry for the rant, but it’s been bugging me. I wish this had been better because I love that cover and was intrigued by all the mention of twists. Thanks for setting us straight on it!

    • Completely agree! I feel like they need to rebrand things like how there’s “Romantic Suspense”, there should be “Women’s Fiction Suspense” and etc. If I’m in the right mood for it, I enjoy it, but I hate when I pick up a book that I think is going to be something else and it ends up being more Women’s Fiction than anything else.

  2. The synopsis DEFINITELY sounds like a thriller. I guess the “A Novel” on the front is supposed to be the clue that it’s thinly disguised Women’s Fiction! *eye roll* Part of the problem is definitely marketing, and I think part of it is authors trying to cash in on more popular genres, like suspense, but not really having any idea how to actually write a suspenseful story. When a book literally says that it is an “addictive new thriller,” one expects to find some thrills…

    • Yes, this was definitely not marketed properly. And I used to really like Women’s Fiction, but over the last year or so, they just don’t do it for me. And they especially don’t, when I’m expecting something else!

  3. Pingback: January 2020 Recap | Stephanie's Book Reviews

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