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‘Three Truths and a Lie:’ Book Review

“Mia glanced toward the window in the kitchen.  It was too dark to see anything outside now, so it was just this rectangle of blackness reflecting back the candles and lanterns inside the cabin.  She took another swallow of beer and said, very quietly, ‘I think I killed someone when I was thirteen years old.’ “

Most people do it the first time when they’re teenagers.  Not me… The first time I ever did it was at work.  Honest.  In the glass conference room with ten other people.

Granted, it was only TWO Truths and a Lie, but I managed to sucker them all.  YA author Brent Harbinger has gone one better, adding an additional level to the game in his latest book, Three Truths and A Lie, from Simon & Schuster.

Making a weekend getaway to a remote cabin in the rainforests of Washington state, two high school couples - Rob and his boyfriend Liam, and Liam’s best friend, Mia, and her perfect boyfriend Galen - decide to play an innocent game of Three Truths and a Lie.  The premise is simple: each player tells four things about themselves.  Three of them are true, and one is a lie.  The others have to guess which is which. 

However, the game takes a backseat when the teens begin to realize that someone is stalking them and preventing them from leaving… and it may have something to do with the secrets in the game.

This is Hartinger’s deft take on I Know What You Did Last Summer crossed with some vintage Agatha Christie (not saying which for fear of spoiling!). He captures the voices of his cast well and keeps the action brisk, with each of the characters guarding their secrets like a dragon with gold, and only parceling out information on a very selective need-to-know basis. 

But while strong and compelling on character and brisk with the action, the book’s one minor point is that it’s a very quick read.  Due to the limited viewpoint of the first-person narrator, we don’t get a look at what’s going on in the other characters' heads, which would have made the experience even richer; however, this shouldn't detract from those looking for a good, suspenseful read.  There’s not a lot of YA psychological thrillers out there, but Hartinger manages to both embrace and enlarge the genre with this fine complement to his Russell Middlebrook series

Then ,I saw it [the island].  It was on the far side of the lake and small - probably no more than ten feet across-  but it was definitely there, lush and spilling over with trees and plants.  That’s how it blended so well into the background of the rainforest.  But I hadn’t noticed it from up on the hillside either.  Sometimes, we see only the things we expect to see.
“Wow,” I said. “It’s really there.”
“Even I can’t invent an island out of thin air,” she said.  She was suddenly very serious. “That’s the number one rule of lies.  If you’re going to tell one, make damn sure it’s believable.”


VERDICT:    FOUR Missing Satellite Phones out of FIVE

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