From the acclaimed author of Beautiful Bad comes an explosive new novel of revenge, murder and shocking secrets—where the victims aren’t who you might think. Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Lucy Foley, and Liv Constantine.
Three women. Two bodies. One big lie…
A tangled web of lies draws together three women in this explosive thriller of revenge, murder and shocking secrets.
At an elite private school nestled in the Colorado mountains, Natalie, an office assistant, dreams of having a life like the school moms she deals with every day. Women like Brooke—a gorgeous heiress, ferociously loving mother and serial cheater—and Asha, an overprotective mom who suspects her husband of having an affair. Their fates are bound by the handsome assistant athletic director Nicholas, whom Natalie loves, Brooke wants and Asha needs.
But when two bodies are carried out of the school one morning, it seems the tension between mothers and daughters, rival lovers, and the haves and have-nots has shattered the surface of this isolated, affluent town—where people stop at nothing to get what they want.
The book opens with Natalie Bellman, administrative assistant at a high-dollar, very exclusive private school, confused as to where she is and why she’s there. She stumbles into the school gym, sees someone apparently dead, and wonders what exactly she’s done. Did she commit murder in an altered state? Or is there more to the story?
First off, there wasn’t really a lying club, unless it’s just implied. But there was definitely a whole lotta lying goin’ on. Husbands lying to wives, kids lying to parents, coaches lying to everybody, I don’t know how everybody managed to keep their stories even remotely straight. To me, a lot of that lying seemed unnecessary, but then, I prefer open and direct communication. Apparently many of these characters did not.
And was there a likable character in the bunch? Bitchy moms with too much money and a big entitlement chip on their shoulders (both for themselves and their children). Children who were horrible to parents (although I suspect Mia would have been a normal, sometimes moody teen were it not for Sloane’s influence). Coaches who thought they were a law unto themselves. Natalie could have been a lot more likable, but her tendency to make colossally stupid decisions spoiled that just a little. Her brother Jay and her fellow school admin Yvonne were probably the best characters in the book in terms of likability. And Jackson, the dog. He was cool.
Very twisty and turny. I knew at the outset that somebody was likely dead, but I had no idea who. Ward leads us down a lot of roads, takes detours, and backtracks, and she does all of this to great effect. She tells a heck of an engaging story, and does it with style.
Dark. Very dark. Maybe a little too dark for my taste, and I prefer books where I feel at least some twinge of empathy for the main characters. But still, worth the read. If you like a book that digs into the deep, unseen corners of the human psyche and love a good story regardless of whether you’d actually be able to stand any of the characters in real life, go grab The Lying Club.
Annie Ward is the author of Beautiful Bad. She has a BA in English literature from UCLA and an MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. Her first short screenplay, Strange Habit, starring Adam Scott, was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award winner at the Aspen Film Festival. She has received a Fulbright scholarship and an Escape to Create artist residency. She lives in Kansas with her family.