I’ve had trouble breaking my unintentional book reviewing hiatus, but I’m irritated enough that I stayed up too late finishing this book to sit down and write a post.

LIES intrigued me at the beginning: “I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t seen her car that day.” Joe, a happily married teacher who takes care of his four-year-old son while his ambitious wife, Mel, focuses on her career, makes a fateful U-turn when William says, “Mommy car!” as they are driving home. They decide to surprise Mommy, who has parked at a hotel. Joe witnesses a tense discussion between Mel and their sort-of friend Ben, a high-powered app developer. He has a run-in with Ben in the parking garage, and shortly after that, Ben disappears and Joe’s Facebook account is hacked. Other strange technological things start happening as the police investigate and begin to narrow their focus to Joe, who behaves increasingly irrationally as everything he cares about is taken from him.

This book was compelling in a “I can’t stop eating these potato chips even though I know I’ll regret eating the whole bag later” kind of way. I did not see the twist coming, but the shock was more because I couldn’t fathom such a weak ending that threw away the little character development the book had.

I don’t have to like a first-person narrator, but he does need to have some character development. Joe was bland in the extreme. He had very little personality, and the other characters weren’t much better. I was morbidly curious how events would play out, but I really didn’t care about Joe. Joe makes bad decisions that result in high-action scenes, but that’s about it.

I’ve read other thrillers that rely on technology for suspense, so I know it can be done well. Joe scrolling through Facebook was not compelling. There were a couple of good moments where the malicious use of technology added a much-needed creep factor, but these never found any traction.

The writing is…well, take a look:

“I stared at my reflection for a moment.

“Then straightened up, took a deep breath that filled my chest.

“Chin up. Shoulders back.

“Beaten up, maybe. But not beaten. Not yet. I still had a couple cards left to play.”

I did have trouble putting the book down, but that was because I wanted to be done so I could read something else. This might be an okay beach read, but there are much better thrillers out there.

Source disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

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