The Lies They Tell by Gillian French (304 pages)
Overview: The tiny, country club town was rocked by the murder of the Garrison's, the club's first family. Only their college aged son Tristan survived, and now he's the black sheep of the summer town. Pearl, a server at the club, gets sucked into the world of the rich kids when Bridges and Akil and Tristan take an interest in her. Though she sacrifices her relationship with her best friend and fellow server, Reese, she gets close to the boys for the chance to solve the Garrison cold case and clear her father's name. Overall: 4.5
Characters: 5 Each of the characters had their own layers of complexity. Told in a close third person to Pearl, we see how she struggles with her love for her father and her anger with his drinking problem. We also see her lose out on the boy she's had a crush on forever to another server at the restaurant. The country club boys also get interwound into their own dramas and we see new shades of their colors with every chapter.
Plot: 5 I love how French mixes a mystery/thriller theme with the idea of a summer town and the divide between the club kids and the locals who work there as servers. The social dynamics between the groups made for an interesting extra layer of fascination surrounding the story. The mystery aspects certainly walk the line close enough to a regular contemporary to be accessible to people who don't read in the genre, and it is something that I could still read before bed, but French definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Writing: 5 The strongest aspect of the story for me was the writing. I'd loved French's previous book Grit (Review Here), so I jumped at the chance to read her next book early. This novel shows the same remarkable strength in building the setting with elements beyond just place. The tone and mood of this novel are on point. You can feel the weight and shroud of grief and mystery from page one. To Buy Now: Click Here
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