From the end of July and throughout August I’m going to be participating in a lot of blog tours and I am so excited! I’ve always enjoyed challenging myself through my reading and I’ve achieved this predominantly using prompts for readathons, however, blog tours are a challenge unto themselves. Especially when you’re a famously slow reader with one week exactly to read each subsequent book! However, by going into each book having only read the synopsis and nothing else, whereas I’d have normally heard bloggers raving about them first, I get to explore each read and create my own excitement whilst also ensuring I do review them promptly. This all kicked off with The Puritan Princess last Monday, a roaring success, and today’s blog follows the trend in covering Leah Konen’s One White Lie for my stop on the blog tour as detailed down below.
Imagine you’ve finally escaped the worst relationship of your life, running away with only a suitcase and a black eye.
Imagine your new next-door neighbours are the friends you so desperately needed – fun, kind, empathetic, very much in love.
Imagine they’re in trouble. That someone is telling lies about them, threatening their livelihoods – and even their lives.
Imagine your ex is coming for you.
If your new best friends needed you to tell one small lie, and all of these problems would disappear, you’d do it . . . wouldn’t you?
It’s only one small lie, until someone turns up dead . . .
— Publisher synopsis, Penguin Random House
Lucy King, our lead character, is certainly an all-consuming perspective to read from. You are thrown straight into the immediacy of her situation and the pace continues to ebb and flow as she fluctuates between feeling relatively settled and panicked. Despite the growing extremities of her experiences Konen ensures to never compromise the relatability of her lead character and you truly feel both for and with her. I’m quite an emotionally detached reader, however, due to the combination of reading from Lucy’s perspective and Konen’s direct writing style, getting immediately to the emotional point, I was certainly feeling the panic and stress from the page. Specifically, Lucy’s feelings of frustration, hitting a brick wall, whilst speaking to those simultaneously protecting and interrogating her became increasingly relatable especially within a narrative entwining her experiences from an abusive relationship and being at the heart of a police investigation.
As I’ve alluded to above, Konen tackles the immense task of writing a psychological thriller from the first-person perspective. Based on most thrillers I’ve read recently this is traditionally achieved when the lead character is writing a letter reflecting on the events which lead to their current circumstances or convincing a legal or familial figure to believe them. Konen, on the other hand, goes straight into the mind of her character and you read the events as she experiences them. This can be hit or miss, but in this case, it is certainly a hit. For example, this style allows for observations which result in red-herrings, or they’re generally nowhere near as important as I expected them to be, whilst the reveals simultaneously fulfil their role of altering your assumptions. However, these reveals are never ridiculous and vitally do not compromise the histories and facts of the characters. Apologies for being vague but if anyone is reading this after having read the book, I hope you know who I’m referring to!
The plot and pacing of One White Lie throw everything at you. However, I cannot deny how gripped I was by the plot and my curiosity to see the resolution. By pacing the narrative across short chapters and collating many of the reveals towards the end Konen achieves a classic level of suspense whilst Lucy’s private aims, investigations and interactions with the rest of the cast add to the intrigue of the interludes between the dramatic episodes. Specifically, John and Vera Abernathy immediately grip the reader with their friendly, supportive and open impression as they grip Lucy on her arrival in the small town from Brooklyn. The friendships between the three, especially Lucy and Vera, certainly forms the centre of this narrative, but Konen certainly does not neglect similarly intriguing characters in Maggie, Rachel and Al. However, as the initial impressions of these characters, and the later solidarity in their relationships, are the basis of this narrative I would have liked to have seen more bonding, between the central three especially, on the page. We see their first few nights hanging out before a relatively significant period of bonding passes within a sentence and I would not have complained about reading a longer book to just solidify that investment in the original relationship dynamic.
I also left the book with the curious impression that I significantly prefer the American title. One White Lie was originally published as All the Broken People. As my primary impression of this book was intrigue towards the characters, constantly wanting to know more about them and their relationships I prefer this original character-focused title rather than the more plot-based UK title.
If you’re looking for an intriguingly dark, character-driven psychological thriller I would recommend checking out One White Lie. I also came away having been reminded of Dead To Me the highly popular Netflix original series due to the central female friendship and its complication equally due to the men and murder surrounding them.
Are you going to check out One White Lie? I’m always on the lookout for psychological thrillers and mysteries so please do leave any recommendations below!
One White Lie was published in the UK by Michael Joseph (Penguin Random House) on the 23rd of July 2020. It has been published in the US under the title All the Broken People.
I was invited to take part in the blog tour for One White Lie by Sriya Varadharajan (Press Officer, Michael Joseph) who provided all e-book links. Thank you to Sriya and Michael Joseph for this opportunity.
None of the links in this article are affiliate links. I have no obligation to post links to Waterstones, and I have no financial relationship with them. This is linked for ease of access should you wish to support the author and publisher by purchasing a copy.
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Goodreads: Vicky Lord