Lead Review

  • Book: The Perfect Lie
  • Location: Falmouth, London, Venice
  • Author: Emily Barr

Review Author: Tina Hartas



I dived into reading this thriller without knowing really what the story was about. It’s actually quite a liberating not reading the blurb of the back cover – have you tried doing that? It leaves you, as the reader, free to enjoy a blank literary canvas over which the author can paint their story.

The opening 2 chapters of this novel end in a ‘catch-your-breath’ kind of way, which is actually really so unusual. (And to be honest, that experience would have been denied me had I indeed read the back cover/blurb!). I therefore won’t go into much detail about the storyline; suffice it say that Erin is a plucky Irish woman who came New York for a publishing job. She meets Danny and they marry and have a pretty nice relationship. She experiences him as a nice, thoughtful guy.

A trauma ensues and Erin has to find her own inner strength to unpick the whole complicated scenario. She enlists the help of a solicitor who has come highly recommended (she rather reminds me of Carrie Preston’s character Elsbeth Tascioni in The Good Wife) and the two together have to trawl back and find the true story and the evidence to underpin their findings.

In Harvard not so long ago Ally has been acting as a proctor to Lauren. Lauren suffers a trauma and Ally cajoles her to tell a confidante. It all goes horribly wrong and Ally is riven with guilt. Of course these two stories dovetail further down the line.

What I like about Jo Spain’s writing is that she pens a credible story with plenty of whip-smart twists and turns. This is no exception and it had me gripped.

Back to book

Sign up to receive our e-newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021