Title: The Better Liar
Author: Tanen Jones
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Ballatine Books
Source: eARC via NetGalley
Length: 320 p
Publishing Date14 January 2020

“My ghost wakes up with her in the morning, chews on her hair like I used to when we were children. It holds her hand at night I’ll never leave her.”

— Tanen Jones, The Better Liar

Leslie shows up in Las Vegas just in time to find her sister’s dead body. This wouldn’t be a problem if their father hadn’t put down in his will that Leslie must meet with their lawyer, in person, with her sister as proof of their reconciliation. And Leslie really needs the money. So when a young woman offers to help Leslie pull off a plan — a plan to trick people into thinking this woman’s actually Rachel, Leslie’s sister — Leslie can see no other way out. She needs this inheritance. Badly. And Mary, the young woman Leslie befriends, can’t resist a chance at testing out her acting skills or a free ticket away from her troubles.

The more Mary digs into Leslie’s past, the more she learns that Leslie’s motives aren’t that noble after all. With little trust between the two women, the more Mary is accepted as “Rachel”, Leslie wants to make sure this job is done as fast as possible.

No . . .
The nausea returned.
I’d known for a long time what it was that lived in her

— Tanen Jones, The Better Liar

If you’re super attentive to detail, it’s not that hard to piece together one of the major twists of Tanen Jones’s The Better Liar. What was the most surprising, to me at least, was the strong, refreshing stance on motherhood: on who should be mothers, on being pressured to become a mother, and the guilt that eats away at you if it’s not a life you see for yourself. Leslie struggles to find closure after losing everyone in her family: first her mother, then her father, and now her sister. And in that struggle, with Mary’s questions and snooping, Leslie is force to confront what drove her out to find her sister in the first place.

With unexpected twists, turns, and depth, The Better Liar is a desert mystery perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.

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