Book Reviews

The Good Lie by A.R. Torre – Book Review

The book cover of The Good Lie by A.R. Torre

Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))

The Good Lie by A.R. Torre – Book Details

TITLE – The Good Lie

AUTHOR – A.R. Torre

GENREthriller, mystery, suspense



MY RATING – 4.5 of 5


What It Is About

The prestigious street still held secrets of the horror. The missing-person flyers were tacked into the Canary Island palms, their colors faded from the elements, the edges of them curled from rain and wind. The weight of silence hung in the sunny Los Angeles air.

Psychiatrist Dr. Gwen Moore may have made one or two misjudgments in her carrier, but she knows one thing for certain – Robert Kavin is hiding something.

The notorious Bloody Heart serial killer has already killed six of the finest California’s teenage boys, but the seventh escaped. He identified high school teacher Randall Thompson as his captor. Thompson is arrested and everyone, including Gwen, already sees the case as closed.

One of the parents who lost their children to the BH Killer, defense attorney Robert Kavin, is convinced Thompson is not the real killer. In the shocking turn of events, he steps in to represent him. And he needs Gwen to create a psych profile of the killer.

Which is an opportunity no psychiatrist would ever let slip. Except Gwen is sure Robert Kavin is lying to her. And she herself has a secret she needs to hide at all costs.

The Good Lie by A.R. Torre – My Review

He hadn’t made any effort to contact me, which should have been reassuring, but it wasn’t. Instead, the silence felt like the pregnant pause in a horror movie, right before the chain saw–wielding villain springs out.

Ok, then.

Well, this went as expected in terms of how much I enjoyed it. And I expected nothing but a good time, based on the only other A.R. Torre’s book I’ve read, which was Every Last Secret.

I’ve just checked my review of that one. I gave it four stars back then (which is more than a solid rating) and I am going to leave it like that. But for the life of me I can’t remember what made me take away that one star – I just remember enjoying it so much.

The Good Lie was everything I hoped it would be. An exciting, well written thriller. A chilling plot mixed with light narration that made everything easy to digest.

Just like Every Last Secret, this one also had short chapters, good pacing and solid characters. It was a type of book I’d bring with me to the beach or while traveling. Easy to pick up and put down, fun and it doesn’t take much of your mental or emotional energy.

I liked Gwen as a protagonist. She is a physiatrist who specializes in potential killers – people with violent fantasies, and it is her job to prevent those thoughts from escalating.

A pretty woman. Kind eyes. A friendly smile. She had greeted me warmly, with no idea of the dozens of conversations I’d had with her husband about why killing her was a bad idea.

Gwen was mostly relatable, with a couple of moments that made me thing – oh-oh. Well, that wasn’t very nice.

But because it’s easy to make a connection with her and you can see yourself in her shoes, you think more in terms of – you better have a plan to get out of that. Rather than – can’t wait to see you paying for it.

Her flawed character and the job that puts her close to potential murderers made her seem strong and vulnerable at the same time. Someone you might forgive even substantial lapses in judgement and root the whole time to find their way out of trouble.

When she gets a chance to review the evidence in the BH Killer’s case, the opportunity seems like a dream came true. No psychiatrist, much less one who specializes in violent disorders, would ever say no to that.

After all, BH is the most notorious serial killer in LA who’s been keeping the citizens at the edge of their nerves for quite some time. To get a detailed record on him and his victims – the professional interest is just irresistible. And Gwen got the opportunity of a lifetime!

Gabe Kavin had died, along with five other innocent boys. A monster was responsible, and I shouldn’t be salivating at the thought of studying him.

But there’s something off from the start and she can’t quite pinpoint it. She has to find her way through the mess, as her relationship with Robert Kavin is getting more intimate.

Robert was another gem of this story. A grieving father who recently lost his son in an inexplicably cruel way – to the BH Killer. Hurt and at the edge, but also smart, charming, successful and irresistible. Who could say no to him?

But why is he so sure Randall Thompson is not the Bloody Heart Killer? That the seventh boy, Scott Harden, is lying about what truly happened to them?

From the moment he asked her to make the profile, Gwen is sure Robert is not telling her everything. But with her own secrets to keep, she doesn’t even have the luxury to ask many questions.

She glanced back at her son, who was still seated. Her unease grew. Her son was keeping something from the police. What could it possibly be? And why?

The Good Lie was such a juicy, twisted and endlessly entertaining thriller. Layer after layer of twisted plot, yet everything working well together and never feeling like too much was going on. Honestly, I’m impressed. Not many authors can pull it off in such a chill, relaxed manner.

I enjoyed following the breadcrumbs and trying to solve the thing. It held me captivated and invested the whole time. Eventually, I managed to figure it out, but only to an extent, and it sure gave me a good run for my money.

It’s so rare that we get a clever story with unexpected revelations that don’t feel completely out of place once you get to them. When you hear me say I’m in a mood for a good thriller, usually something like this is what I have in mind.

As a city, they stopped caring because they were emotionally exhausted from the mourning. They started to look the other way, grew blind to missing-person posters and bored with the huge rewards and tearful pleas from the families.

So, even after only two books, I’ll call it official – A.R. Torre is now one of my favorite thriller authors, and I can’t wait to dive into more of her books.

Which is convenient, because the same day I started reading The Good Lie, I got the ARC of A.R. Torre’s newest novel A Familiar Stranger, coming in September 2022. And I couldn’t be more excited about it!

Fingers crossed I enjoy it as much as I did the first two. I’ll start reading it the moment I get the chance, and will let you know all about it as soon as I finish it…

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