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When a young widow witnesses a fatal car accident outside a Jersey Shore motel, she's suddenly thrust into a nightmare of gang violence, guns, and money that she can't outrun in this action-packed novel by "one of the best writers in crime fiction" (Alison Gaylin).​ Joette Harper's life brings new meaning to the phrase "paycheck to paycheck." Struggling to afford her mother When a young widow witnesses a fatal car accident outside a Jersey Shore motel, she's suddenly thrust into a nightmare of gang violence, guns, and money that she can't outrun in this action-packed novel by "one of the best writers in crime fiction" (Alison Gaylin).​ Joette Harper's life brings new meaning to the phrase "paycheck to paycheck." Struggling to afford her mother's sky-high medical bills and also keep the lights on in her trailer home, Joette needs a break. So, when she spies a bag full of money amongst the wreckage of a fiery car accident, she knows she can't just let it be. Inside is a bounty better than she could have dreamed—just shy of $300,000 in neatly stacked hundreds and fifties. Enough to pay off her debts, give her mother the care she deserves, and maybe even help out a few of her friends. But, of course, the missing briefcase didn't go unnoticed by its original owner, Travis Clay—a ruthless dealer who'll stop at nothing to get back what's his. Joette is way out of her depth, but can't seem to stop herself from participating in this cat-and-mouse chase. But can she beat Travis at his own game?


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When a young widow witnesses a fatal car accident outside a Jersey Shore motel, she's suddenly thrust into a nightmare of gang violence, guns, and money that she can't outrun in this action-packed novel by "one of the best writers in crime fiction" (Alison Gaylin).​ Joette Harper's life brings new meaning to the phrase "paycheck to paycheck." Struggling to afford her mother When a young widow witnesses a fatal car accident outside a Jersey Shore motel, she's suddenly thrust into a nightmare of gang violence, guns, and money that she can't outrun in this action-packed novel by "one of the best writers in crime fiction" (Alison Gaylin).​ Joette Harper's life brings new meaning to the phrase "paycheck to paycheck." Struggling to afford her mother's sky-high medical bills and also keep the lights on in her trailer home, Joette needs a break. So, when she spies a bag full of money amongst the wreckage of a fiery car accident, she knows she can't just let it be. Inside is a bounty better than she could have dreamed—just shy of $300,000 in neatly stacked hundreds and fifties. Enough to pay off her debts, give her mother the care she deserves, and maybe even help out a few of her friends. But, of course, the missing briefcase didn't go unnoticed by its original owner, Travis Clay—a ruthless dealer who'll stop at nothing to get back what's his. Joette is way out of her depth, but can't seem to stop herself from participating in this cat-and-mouse chase. But can she beat Travis at his own game?

30 review for Heaven's a Lie

  1. 4 out of 5

    David Putnam

    For me this book has it all, it clicks all the boxes. Full discloser though, Stroby is one of my go-to authors. The story is told in two points of view, a strong female protagonist and the vile criminal in pursuit of her. The voice and tone remind me a great deal of a cross between Elmore Leonard and Richard Starch, which you cannot be in better company for this genre. The points of view are in present tense which give a sense of immediacy and credibility. It’s a quick read and I wished it had b For me this book has it all, it clicks all the boxes. Full discloser though, Stroby is one of my go-to authors. The story is told in two points of view, a strong female protagonist and the vile criminal in pursuit of her. The voice and tone remind me a great deal of a cross between Elmore Leonard and Richard Starch, which you cannot be in better company for this genre. The points of view are in present tense which give a sense of immediacy and credibility. It’s a quick read and I wished it had been longer. The story is told in action and dialogue (instead of a “telling” narrative) that also makes for a faster story. Even so, both main characters are real and three dimensional. I read extensively in this genre and am familiar with the tricks of the trade and still the author pulled some stuns out of his bag of tricks that caught me looking. There are two story lines as not to let the main story line suffer plot fatigue. One is the pursuit and the other is the antagonist’s criminal enterprise slowly swirling down the drain. Great book, easily a five star for me. David Putnam author of the Bruno Johnson series.

  2. 5 out of 5

    James Thane

    Wallace Stroby has demonstrated repeatedly that he knows his way around a thriller and I'm a huge fan of his series featuring Crissa Stone, a tough-as-nails female outlaw. His new stand-alone, Heaven's a Lie also features a very well-written female protagonist, but in this case, she starts out on the right side of the law, even though she's not going to remain there for very long. The character is Joetta Harper a young woman whose life has been spiraling down hill ever since her husband died. Sic Wallace Stroby has demonstrated repeatedly that he knows his way around a thriller and I'm a huge fan of his series featuring Crissa Stone, a tough-as-nails female outlaw. His new stand-alone, Heaven's a Lie also features a very well-written female protagonist, but in this case, she starts out on the right side of the law, even though she's not going to remain there for very long. The character is Joetta Harper a young woman whose life has been spiraling down hill ever since her husband died. Sick with grief, she also has to contend with the fact that her mother is in critical condition in a nursing home and her care is very expensive. Joetta is minimally employed in a run-down motel near the Jersey shore; she's strapped financially and living in dilapidated mobile home. Her prospects are not looking good. Then one afternoon while Joetta is working at the desk in the motel, she looks up to see a speeding BMW smash into a bridge abutment across the highway from the motel. In a gripping opening scene, she instinctively runs across the road in an effort to assist the driver who is obviously badly injured. A fuel line bursts and the car catches fire, but Joette manages to drag the man out of the car to safety, even though he's not going to last very long. Looking up from the man, Joette sees a hundred-dollar bill floating through the air. Running back to the burning car, she sees a bag in the open trunk with stacks of hundreds spilling out of it. She scoops the money back into the bag, hauls it out of the trunk, and barely makes it back across the street before the Beemer explodes in flames. Now what? Of course she should just turn the money over to the cops once they arrive on the scene. But if she did, there'd be no story. The innocent, law-abiding person who stumbles across a bunch of apparently untraceable cash and then foolishly decides to keep it, is a staple of crime fiction. But in Stroby's hands, the conceit seems remarkably fresh. From the opening page, Joette is a very sympathetic character and the reader can readily understand why, with only a split second to choose, she makes the decision to keep the money. Inevitably, of course, the money is dirty and it belongs to a very bad man named Travis Clay. Not surprisingly, he wants it back, and it doesn't take him long to realize who has it. His discovery initiates a brutal and complicated pas de deux with Joette who may well regret ever looking up from her work to see that BMW collide with the bridge. Heaven's a Lie explodes out of the gate and doesn't let up until the last paragraph. Even though in some ways this is an old familiar story, it contains more than its share of surprising twists and turns and it kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could. I live in hope that Stroby will yet provide us with another Crissa Stone novel, but in the interim, this is a damned good substitute.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kemper

    Crime fiction fans know this rule well: If you come across a bag of money, don’t take it. Fortunately for us, Joette Harper is apparently unfamiliar with stories like No Country For Old Men and A Simple Plan. Otherwise she would have known better, and we wouldn’t have this great book to read. Joette has been riding an epic streak of bad luck. Her husband died, she lost her job at a bank when it got bought out, and her mother is fading fast in a nursing home. With a mountain of medical bills to pay Crime fiction fans know this rule well: If you come across a bag of money, don’t take it. Fortunately for us, Joette Harper is apparently unfamiliar with stories like No Country For Old Men and A Simple Plan. Otherwise she would have known better, and we wouldn’t have this great book to read. Joette has been riding an epic streak of bad luck. Her husband died, she lost her job at a bank when it got bought out, and her mother is fading fast in a nursing home. With a mountain of medical bills to pay, she’s lost her house, and the only job she can find near her mother is as a desk clerk at a crappy motel. While working one night she witnesses a car accident and while futilely trying to save the driver’s life she finds a bag with almost $300,000 in the flaming wreckage. Acting on impulse, Joette takes the bag and hides it from the police, but she doesn’t realize that it’s drug money stolen from a very dangerous man named Travis Clay. Once he’s established the set-up, author Wallace Stroby then takes us through a story that is familiar, but he manages to subvert expectations at several points. It’s mainly the character work that sets this one apart, and with Joette in the lead we’ve got a smart woman who is the kind of person who would risk her own life to attempt to save a stranger from a burning car, but her circumstances have made her desperate enough to take the cash. This isn’t a greedy person, she’s just someone who really needs this money, and that makes you sympathize with her from the jump. She’s also smarter than a lot of the characters we get in these situations as she immediately stashes the cash in secure locations and does a good job of covering her tracks. The antagonist Travis Clay could have been a cliché or an Anton Chigurh rip-off as a violent man seeking his money, but while he fits that profile in some ways, there’s again a sly nudging of things off the typical beats. Usually there’s a kind of pragmatic ruthlessness to characters like these, but Clay gets obsessed with the idea of recovering the money which leads him down increasingly bloody avenues that start to cut off his options even as he is pressuring Joette. It all works so that even as the book builds tension and seems headed towards a predictable outcome, you start to realize that things aren’t going to work for anybody like they planned. Wallace Stroby is a writer I like a lot, and oneI think should be getting a lot more attention. His Chrissa Stone novels starting with Cold Shot to the Heart was one of the better series about a professional thief you’ll find this side of a Richard Stark novel, and his last book Some Die Nameless was a great thriller as well. This is just the latest example of why crime fiction fans should be reading him.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jim Thomsen

    The "ordinary struggling person who stumbles across a big bag of money" is one of crime fiction's moldiest tropes, and that's the central conceit of Wallace Stroby's newest thriller, HEAVEN'S A LIE. That's the bad news; the good news is that you read Stroby, or at least you should, for reasons other than the originality of his premises and plots. You read Stroby because his books have that magical property I call glide: an ability to build and sustain a darkly delicious tone that makes the pages The "ordinary struggling person who stumbles across a big bag of money" is one of crime fiction's moldiest tropes, and that's the central conceit of Wallace Stroby's newest thriller, HEAVEN'S A LIE. That's the bad news; the good news is that you read Stroby, or at least you should, for reasons other than the originality of his premises and plots. You read Stroby because his books have that magical property I call glide: an ability to build and sustain a darkly delicious tone that makes the pages turn as much as his watertight prose. Those powers are fully intact in HEAVEN'S A LIE. That said, the plot does strain one's suspension of disbelief at times. I can believe that Joette Harper, down-on-her luck widow and clerk at a rundown New Jersey motel, could spot a bag full of money and instant before the car that contains it bursts into flames after its driver drove it into a bridge abutment in front of her motel. I can believe it because I want to believe it. I also want her to get away from Travis Clay, the vicious thug who's looking for it and quickly eliminates every other link in the bag's chain of custody before zeroing in on Joette. He's a brute, she's a willow, and I can believe that he'd underestimate her. Once. But he does so again and again, despite the fact that he comes to know better, and I found that harder to swallow. But swallow I did because Stroby is so good with sustaining a noir tone and not wasting a syllable along the way that the pleasure of reading about Joette's improbable journey surpassed the journey itself. I rolled my eyes a lot and was throroughly enraptured as I did so, and was pleasantly surprised to find that these things can coexist. (I'm docking this book one star not so much for any of the above as for deploying the OTHER moldiest cliché in crime fiction, the convenient shoulder wound that hardly slows up the victim of the wound. How is it that guys in these books get shot on that spot on the body so often, and it's never the nipple or the kneecap or the perineum? And why do the guys in these books never suffer lasting damage or lingering, incapacitating pain ... as they would in real life? I can't suspend my disbelief for this, and I imagine other readers of crime fiction are losing this ability as well the more they come across it. At this point, it's a hack move, and shows an unforgivable paucity of imagination.) But the bottom line is the glide and the tone. Wallace Stroby has got both in apocalyptic abundance, and that's not something too many authors in his genre can say, and as a result I'm forever on board with any Wallace Stroby thriller regardless of the story.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Will Errickson

    Lean n’ mean contemporary crime thriller that knows exactly what it’s doing. Breathless pace, great relationship between our “heroine” and the villain, believable dialogue, and the prose, in the present tense, is so fresh and vital everything seems to be happening now now now right in front of you. Hold on tight! Also, as a fellow New Jerseyan, I appreciated Stroby’s strong sense of place. His background as a NJ newspaperman really grounds the action and characters.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I was surprised that Wallace Stroby chose the shopworn I-found-a-bagful-of-money plot as the basis for this book, but he breathes some new life into the concept with his fast paced storytelling and sharp characters. The author clearly enjoys writing about tough, resourceful women (as in his Crissa Stone series) and Joette, the middle aged, down on her luck protagonist is appealing as she confronts repeated challenges from the bad guys. Enjoyed the read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Simms

    A variation of a familiar story - a woman finds a bag of money, and the person it belongs to wants it back. But this woman, written well as Wallace Stroby usually does, has other ideas, and has had her share of grief and bad luck, and doesn’t want to give it up so easily. A quick read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    Wallace Stroby is a marvel. In just a handful of novels, he has been able to take bleak and world-weary characters who function in the shadows and on the periphery, and make readers care about them and their dark journeys through the criminal underground. HEAVEN’S A LIE is set almost entirely in the environs of central New Jersey and puts a new twist on a familiar theme while exposing us to some of his best writing to date. The plot is straightforward, and blessedly so. Joette Harper has multiple Wallace Stroby is a marvel. In just a handful of novels, he has been able to take bleak and world-weary characters who function in the shadows and on the periphery, and make readers care about them and their dark journeys through the criminal underground. HEAVEN’S A LIE is set almost entirely in the environs of central New Jersey and puts a new twist on a familiar theme while exposing us to some of his best writing to date. The plot is straightforward, and blessedly so. Joette Harper has multiple, fairly commonplace problems, but they are no less grinding upon the soul. She is working in a dead-end job as the day clerk of a roadside motel on its last legs after she was laid off from her bank teller job. Though a young woman, she is widowed after her husband’s battle with cancer. On top of that, her mother suffers from dementia and is in assisted living. Joette herself is living in a trailer park. Everything changes when Joette witnesses a one-car accident that occurs in front of the motel. She rushes to the automobile to assist the driver and finds that he is suffering from a gunshot wound. He gestures toward his vehicle, where Joette finds a significant amount of cash in a duffel bag --- enough to solve all of her problems and change her life. The driver eventually dies, and she believes it’s a no-brainer to keep her newly found treasure. There is a problem, though. The money almost certainly did not belong to the driver, and the real owner wants it back. At first he has no idea that Joette even exists, but with a little information here and there, a dab of suspicion, some animal instinct, and a bit of criminal logic, he comes to the correct conclusion. The problem is that Joette regards the cash as hers now, due to both circumstance and need. The guy who is after her is extremely dangerous and will kill without hesitation. Joette isn’t a killer, but she isn’t stupid, either. She is not giving the money back without a fight and should not be underestimated. There is nothing more dangerous than someone on either side of an equation who has nothing to lose and everything to gain. The plot is an interesting one, but Stroby’s primary strength has always been found in his characters, who march through his books and mark themselves in the reader’s memory with their passing. We all know these people --- or at least know of them --- as we encounter them in convenience stores, parking lots, and other random instances where an inner voice tells us that it is best to move on, even if they appear to be otherwise innocuous. Those folks, combined with Stroby’s masterful prose peppered with streetwise turns of phrase, make HEAVEN’S A LIE a must-read novel. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Dzik

    I really love this author and think he’s on the same level as George Pelecanos who is my favorite crime writer. I hope he wouldn’t mind me comparing this book to other stuff but it reminded me of No Country for Old Men mixed with The Wire which is high praise from me. A solid standalone novel and definitely recommended.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Love

    This review is courtesy of NetGalley. New Jersey novelist and journalist, Wallace Stroby, is perhaps most well-known for his Crissa Stone series which is presently four books and a short story; plus there are an additional four books to his name. In HEAVEN'S A LIE, Stroby introduces readers to a new female protagonist. Joette Harper is a down to earth woman making ends meet at the Jersey Shore area working in a crappy motel. She keeps her social circle small: a dying mother in hospice; a cop who i This review is courtesy of NetGalley. New Jersey novelist and journalist, Wallace Stroby, is perhaps most well-known for his Crissa Stone series which is presently four books and a short story; plus there are an additional four books to his name. In HEAVEN'S A LIE, Stroby introduces readers to a new female protagonist. Joette Harper is a down to earth woman making ends meet at the Jersey Shore area working in a crappy motel. She keeps her social circle small: a dying mother in hospice; a cop who is sweet on her; a friendly tennant of the motel and her daughter; and a best friend from an old job where she was downsized. Stroby keeps his prose lean with the nostalgic meter of gumshoe noir. The first sentence immediately throws Joette and the readers: she's bored at work, watching a car out on the highway take a curve way too fast. She predicts the crash, but not the cause. The conundrum for Joette is one, I think, most of us that are not financially well off think about. What if… Money fell from the sky. I win the lottery -- or -- A car crashes and there's a big bag of dirty drug money which no one can claim just sitting there for the taking. There were no witnesses, but small time drug dealer Travis Clay figures out what happened to the bag of money which should be in his possession. Stroby alternates his present tense storytelling between Joette and Travis. The COVID crisis is hinted at in only one line about people worrying if their colds are "the virus" again. It's a small detail that creates a link to the real world even if we'll never have to decide whether or not we would take a bag of money from an accident scene. Similarly, Stroby also wove in real Jersey situations about Superstorm Sandy and how property owners like the motel's owner getting relief funds but didn't use them to repair anything. Readers will get a thorough sense of the economy and how the people are suffering in Stroby's Jersey Shore. Who among us doesn't know what it's like to have all your options sitting on hold because of the economy? Joette wants to take action in her familial life -- getting her mother's bills at the nursing home paid on top of the bills from her deceased husband's care already piled up and weighing on her. Halfway through, Joette has to think twice about her plans and the money she swiped from the accident scene. Her character evolves from a broke motel clerk worried about bills and her grief to this new Joette she couldn't have expected: a thief and nearly a murderer. As for the story arc of Travis Clay, he also goes through changes. He has one plan with his partner Cosmo, but he doesn't stick to it. Travis only cares about himself and his own survival. There's a perfect moment of a crime trope where the bad guys are talking about this deal being the last one and then they'll retire -- go straight or take some other path. You know what Travis is thinking. You know he's the kind of character with no loyalty. Two-thirds of the way through the book, Travis is firm in who he really is and that there won't be a "retirement" for him and Cosmo. The stakes are raised in a series of moves that take readers to the final act. The characters go through hoops, driving around to get all the money from Joette's hiding places, all the while with a gun set on them. The reversal of fortune for Joette comes at a thrilling, intense, stressful climax. Minor Flaws: There were a couple of times when I questioned why characters did things that were clearly not going to pan out. Joette finally ends up with a weapon and she tosses it at a questionable time. It's obvious she should have held on to it and there's even a spot where she could have lost it more logically. Out of the characters, Joette's old friend Helen from her past job at a bank, is the only one without a lot of depth. She's there to ground Joette in talking heads scenes, but I didn't feel a connection to her. There was more emotion felt with the nursing home staff. Rating: 5 stars

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paul Sutter

    If you are looking for a book that is infectious and keeps your entertained totally, then HEAVEN’S A LIE is a great book And that's is no lie. It is the sort of book that will keep you up all night reading, to see how the plot is resolved. Wallace Stroby has certainly given us some memorable characters, including a heroine who is all heart and soul, and a villain who is as relentless and evil as they come. The book revolves around Joette Harper, who hasn’t had too many breaks during her life. If you are looking for a book that is infectious and keeps your entertained totally, then HEAVEN’S A LIE is a great book And that's is no lie. It is the sort of book that will keep you up all night reading, to see how the plot is resolved. Wallace Stroby has certainly given us some memorable characters, including a heroine who is all heart and soul, and a villain who is as relentless and evil as they come. The book revolves around Joette Harper, who hasn’t had too many breaks during her life. Life didn’t simply bring her to her knees, it seemed to kick her when she was down. She has lost so much lately, including her husband, her job, and her mother is slowly wasting away in a nursing home with medical bills that are going through the roof. She is working at a fleabag motel in New Jersey, unsure where life is heading. And then from out of the blue comes a car that ends up in a fiery crash outside the motel. She runs out to the car and sees a man trapped inside the car. She knows the car will explode soon and she manages to drag him out. She also notices a bag in the back of the car, and she grabs it. The man dies, but Joette keeps the bag finding almost $300,000 inside it. Now she could give it to the police, but since the man has died, it is not likely to be missed. What begins is a cat and mouse game between Joette and Travis Clay a maniacal drug dealer who is the owner of the bag and the money. He does his homework and concludes that Joette somehow is in possession of the money. It has become a godsend to her life, with regard to bills and such, but it could be the death of her yet, because Travis will do everything to get the money back and likely leave Joette dead in the process. She runs but she cannot hide, because Travis seems to have a sixth sense of where she has run to. Her main concern besides her mother, is her friend’s safety, not really worried about herself. She escapes several times from Travis through often pure luck, but Travis is a relentless criminal who won’t back down until he gets what he wants. You cheer for her every step of the way from one confrontation to another, until the final showdown, where it is obvious only one will walk away. HEAVEN’S A LIE is great fiction, a classic tale of good versus evil, and one you will not soon forget

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ross Cumming

    I've been a fan of Wallace Stroby for a few years now, initially after reading his Bruce Springsteen inspired short story 'Lovers in the Cold' and 'Heaven's a Lie' is his latest stand alone novel, having taken a break from the Crissa Stone series. Joette Harper works the desk at a run down New Jersey motel when a car takes the bend in the road outside the motel too fast and crashes into the parapet of a bridge. Joette manages to rescue the badly injured driver and also pulls a bag of cash from th I've been a fan of Wallace Stroby for a few years now, initially after reading his Bruce Springsteen inspired short story 'Lovers in the Cold' and 'Heaven's a Lie' is his latest stand alone novel, having taken a break from the Crissa Stone series. Joette Harper works the desk at a run down New Jersey motel when a car takes the bend in the road outside the motel too fast and crashes into the parapet of a bridge. Joette manages to rescue the badly injured driver and also pulls a bag of cash from the trunk before the whole car goes up in flames. Acting on impulse Joette hides the bag of cash and when the driver dies she believes she may have got away scott free. However the cash belonged to Travis Klay and after a bit of digging he's pretty sure Joette has the cash but he's just got to figure out how best to get it back. Thus begins a cat and mouse chase between the normally law abiding Joette and the ruthless career criminal Travis. It's not a particularly original storyline but what makes the novel is Wallace Stroby's storytelling and the characterisation of Joette and Travis. She is down on her luck having been fired from her previous job at the bank and her mother requires full time medical care following a stroke, forcing Joette to try and sell her mother's house to pay the bills. Travis on the other hand requires the money back as it's his stake in his next big drug deal. Intimidation, violence and killing are not new to him and he will go to any lengths and use any tactics he can to retrieve the cash. While for Joette this is a whole knew ball game and she must call on skills and reserves that she thought she never possessed. She eventually realises that however things play out that Travis will not let her live and therefore she must take similar steps to ensure her survival. There came a certain point in the story where I actually felt that the money, to large extent became secondary and it was each others pride and their fight for survival that became the defining factor. Another great action packed crime noir from Wallace Stroby who continues to produce consistently high quality novels that feature strong, believable female protagonists.

  13. 5 out of 5

    John

    Wallace Stroby knows his way around writing tough and tight crime thrillers. His latest, Heaven’s a Lie speeds along at full tilt. The storyline is old, a young woman, Joette Harper, finds a bag of money after attempting to save a man from a burning car. She knows she should leave it in the car and either let it burn or until the cops arrive. But Joette has money problems and three hundred thousand dollars can be a big leap in helping out. She knows the money has to be dirty (the cash belongs to Wallace Stroby knows his way around writing tough and tight crime thrillers. His latest, Heaven’s a Lie speeds along at full tilt. The storyline is old, a young woman, Joette Harper, finds a bag of money after attempting to save a man from a burning car. She knows she should leave it in the car and either let it burn or until the cops arrive. But Joette has money problems and three hundred thousand dollars can be a big leap in helping out. She knows the money has to be dirty (the cash belongs to a brutal and violent drug dealer), but Joette is desperate. What follows is a high-speed chase and who knows where or how it will end. Stroby likes powerful women characters (check out his excellent Chrissa Stone series) and writes them well. Joette Harper fits the role. The author does not waste words and what he uses is sharp and pointed. Heaven’s a Lie is a book you won’t be able to put down.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mansfield

    Three stars but really two and a half, and that only because the book is well written with engaging dialogue. Thrillers such as this commonly are given generous leeway by readers with respect to credible plotting. The thriller’s “punch” is found in suspense, mood, dread, desperation or other atmospheric elements. But in this case the plot, what little there is of it, is undermined by both of the central characters making one preposterous decision after another. After a series of desperate acts a Three stars but really two and a half, and that only because the book is well written with engaging dialogue. Thrillers such as this commonly are given generous leeway by readers with respect to credible plotting. The thriller’s “punch” is found in suspense, mood, dread, desperation or other atmospheric elements. But in this case the plot, what little there is of it, is undermined by both of the central characters making one preposterous decision after another. After a series of desperate acts and inexplicable decisions the book comes to its predictable conclusion. Still, the book is well written but I couldn’t buy the reasoning of either character.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Joette Harper's husband lost his life to cancer, her mother had a stroke and is not expected to recover, and while at work as a motel front desk agent, she pulls a man out of a burning car. This last event begins a string of events that puts lives in danger. Joette is a bad-ass woman using her smarts to face-off against a street thud, Travis Clay. A plot-driven nailbiter told from Joette's and Travis' point of view that asks the question how far would you go to keep $300,000? Joette Harper's husband lost his life to cancer, her mother had a stroke and is not expected to recover, and while at work as a motel front desk agent, she pulls a man out of a burning car. This last event begins a string of events that puts lives in danger. Joette is a bad-ass woman using her smarts to face-off against a street thud, Travis Clay. A plot-driven nailbiter told from Joette's and Travis' point of view that asks the question how far would you go to keep $300,000?

  16. 5 out of 5

    John Stanley

    A really good story with good action and I tore right through it - but I couldn’t quite bring myself to give it 5 stars and I’m not really sure why, maybe because of the way it was written, mostly in the present tense, Joete does this, Travis does that, and so on. Still, I really liked it as I have most all of Stroby’s books.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy Warren

    Excellent thriller about a young widow, Joette Harper, who witnesses a single car crash while at work one night. She saves the driver, as well as the bag of cash in his trunk, which she doesn't tell anyone about. Soon enough, a man comes looking for his money and he won't give up until he gets it. Love Wallace Stroby's books, they are so fast-paced and I'm completely unable to put them down. Excellent thriller about a young widow, Joette Harper, who witnesses a single car crash while at work one night. She saves the driver, as well as the bag of cash in his trunk, which she doesn't tell anyone about. Soon enough, a man comes looking for his money and he won't give up until he gets it. Love Wallace Stroby's books, they are so fast-paced and I'm completely unable to put them down.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robert Duval

    A great read A real page turner Just when you think you have it figured out, there's a twist or turn that you couldn't have seen coming or even imagined A great book, I highly recommend it. First time I've read this author, going to read more of his work. A great read A real page turner Just when you think you have it figured out, there's a twist or turn that you couldn't have seen coming or even imagined A great book, I highly recommend it. First time I've read this author, going to read more of his work.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sue Barbarich

    Good mystery This book was recommended on the Today show, I enjoyed it but wanted more, easy read and kept your interest, Full of suspense,

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly S. Radtke

  21. 4 out of 5

    Reagan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gary

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Raymond

  24. 5 out of 5

    thomas wright

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary DeLaune

  28. 4 out of 5

    Robin Gardner

  29. 4 out of 5

    David

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laurel Weiner

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