One Perfect Lie
Central Valley, Pennsylvania is a small town like so many others, with its haves and have-nots, social cliques, agriculture, industry, commerce and dark secrets. When Chris Brennan moves to town, he adds plenty of secrets of his own, and his arrival points to impending violence. ONE PERFECT LIE, the latest thriller from bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, peels back the untruths, hurts and wounds of Central Valley’s residents as the plot races toward its dramatic climax.
It is clear from page one that Chris Brennan is not who he says he is. Readers know right away that he has arrived in Central Valley, and at his job as teacher and baseball coach at Central Valley High School, under false pretenses. Brennan is thinking about bombs and manipulating at least one of the high school baseball players for his own devices. From his first day on the job, his lesson plans and coaching techniques are meant to isolate one young man and set him against his friends.
"Scottoline’s style is brisk and no-nonsense, with an emphasis on decision, action and thought, and rarely slowing down for detailed description."
The three boys Brennan has set his sights on are Raz Sematov, Jordan Larkin and Evan Kostis. Each is, in many ways, a typical teenager. But each is also dealing with particular challenges and obstacles. Raz is still emotionally struggling with the recent loss of his father; Jordan has never known his father and lives with his hardworking single mother; and Evan, a child of privilege, is privy to the terrible and illegal decisions his father has made. However, Scottoline focuses more on their mothers, and so readers become more emotionally invested in Susan Sematov, Heather Larkin and Mindy Kostis than their sons.
Just as the tension mounts, with Brennan’s machinations ramping up and then the suspicious suicide of a beloved teacher at the school, Scottoline turns the perspective of ONE PERFECT LIE on its head by revealing that Brennan’s identity is totally different from what readers (not to mention the characters in the novel) were led to believe.
Scottoline’s style is brisk and no-nonsense, with an emphasis on decision, action and thought, and rarely slowing down for detailed description. ONE PERFECT LIE is tense and enjoyable, if at times simplistic and pat. Scottoline creates some good suspense as truths about the characters are revealed. There is a bit of romance, some teen angst, lots of baseball talk, and even a Hollywood-type action sequence to keep readers entertained. Scottoline fans will be happy with this one, as will those looking for a thoughtful thriller.
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on April 13, 2017