It’s never a surprise to find myself immediately wrapped up in a good thriller, but this week’s New Title Tuesday recommendation, Lisa Scottoline’s One Perfect Lie, is one of those perfectly paced page-turners that builds to a tidy and satisfying conclusion.
Publisher’s Summary: A handsome stranger moves to the small Pennsylvania town of Central Valley, and his name is Chris Brennan. He’s applying for a job as a teacher and varsity baseball coach at the local high school, and he looks perfect, on paper. But his name is an alias, his resume is false, and everything about him is a lie. And he has a secret plan – for which he needs a pawn on the baseball team.
Susan Sematov loves her younger son Raz, the quirky and free-spirited pitcher of the team. But Raz’s adored father died only a few months ago, and the family is grief-stricken. Secretly, Raz is looking to fill the Daddy-shaped hole in his heart.
Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who’s dedicated to her only son Jordan, the quiet rookie on the team. But Jordan’s shy and reserved nature renders him vulnerable to attention, including that of a new father-figure.
Mindy Kostis is the wife of a busy surgeon and the queen bee of the baseball boosters, where her super-popular son Evan is the star catcher. But she doesn’t realize that Evan’s sense of entitlement is becoming a full-blown case of affluenza, and after he gets his new BMW, it’s impossible to know where he’s going – or whom he’s spending time with.
The lives of these families revolve around the baseball team – and Chris Brennan. What does he really want? How far will he go to get it? Who among them will survive the lethal jeopardy threatening them, from the shadows?
One of the things I admire about Scottoline is her ability to build tension through relationships and this book focuses on mothers and their teenage sons. There is no gratuitous victimization of females or excessive violence. After all, there’s enough of that in real life. But One Perfect Lie provides a cinematic experience that thrills and holds true to teen life in suburbia.
Scottoline may be a New York Times bestselling author and Edgar award-winning author of 28 novels, but her characters are recognizable without being two-dimensional. The situations are realistic and the problems the parents and teenagers face ring true. For example, should we scold our child’s friend? Knowing the dangers that teen’s face, how should parents handle sexting and other online risks?
My guilty confession is that I tend to judge a book by its author and reading about Scottoline is someone that is both an academic and average person. She was a single mom. As stated on her website, Scottline is “a die-hard Eagles fan, a good cook, and a vegetarian. She loves the color pink, has an incredible design sense, has recently taken up gardening and golf, and her musical taste includes everything from U2 to Sinatra to 50 Cent.” Oh, and she also graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1981, and was also an Associate Editor at the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
One Perfect Lie is an accessible and entertaining read from a writer that does not disappoint.
Happy reading, Susan C.
Also By Scottoline:
Damaged – Named the guardian ad litem of a middle-school boy with emotional issues on whose behalf she is suing the Philadelphia school district, Mary DiNunzio is confronted by elite lawyer Nick Machiavelli and risks her engagement in her obsessive investment in the case.
Corrupted – Bennie Rosato hides her big heart beneath her tough-as-nails exterior and she doesn’t like to fail. Now, a case from her past shows her how differently things might have turned out. Thirteen years ago, Bennie took on Jason Lefkavick, a twelve-year-old boy who was sent to a juvenile detention center after fighting a class bully. Bennie couldn’t free Jason, and to this day it’s the case that haunts her. Jason has grown up in and out of juvenile prison, and his adulthood hasn’t been any easier. Bennie no longer represents those accused of murder, but when Jason is indicted for killing the same bully he fought with as a kid, she sees no choice but to represent him. She doesn’t know whether or not to believe his claims of innocence, but she knows she owes him for past failures-of the law, of the juvenile justice system, and of herself.
Betrayed – Maverick lawyer Judy Carrier has always championed the underdog, so when Iris, the housekeeper and best friend of Judy’s beloved Aunt Barb, is found dead of an apparent heart attack, Judy begins to suspect foul play. She doesn’t play well with her boss, Bennie Rosato, which jeopardizes her making partner at the firm, but Judy sets her own drama aside and begins an investigation of Iris’ murder, then discovers a shocking truth that confounds her expectations and leads her in a completely different direction. She finds herself plunged into a shadowy world of people who are so desperate that they cannot go to the police, and where others are so ruthless that they prey on vulnerability.