Lead Review (First Lie Wins)

  • Book: First Lie Wins
  • Location: Louisiana, The American South
  • Author: Ashley Elston

Review Author: Tina Hartas



First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston, psychological thriller set in North Louisiana (and The American South).

Reese’s Book Club Pick January 2024

Psychological thriller set in NORTH LOUISIANA (and the American South)

#audibook narrated by Saskia Maarleveld.

Evie has moved in with Ryan and it seems quite the idyllic little love nest. He soon introduces her to his friends and a lunch with the women in his circle proves quite testing for her. But she is used to being thrown in the deep end and flies through the inquisition, her backstory definitely holds up.

Evie is not in fact Evie but was born Lucca Marino and since she has been working for Mr Smith, she has used innumerable aliases to hone in on a ‘mark’ of his choosing. At a social event she attends with Ryan, she is introduced to one of his old acquaintances who has come with his current girlfriend, a woman named – wait for it – Lucca Marino. Evie is momentarily taken aback and you can hear her brain fizzing through the permutations of what this means. She soon alights upon the answer. Mr Smith is testing her. And it seems that he is prepared to go the whole hog when, after the couple has spent an evening with Ryan and Evie, their car is involved in a fatal accident. The stakes are clearly very high.



There are flashbacks to her previous incarnations, which help to set the scene for where she is now and how she has to carefully manoeuvre going forward.

The storyline has a cracking pace – I can’t help but think of the film Mr and Mrs Smith (given her handler’s name) which is suffused with a deftly handled scenario of smoke and mirrors. Who can anyone trust and is anyone what they seem? The story moves back and forth in time at a brisk pace, so the reader has to pay attention to which character happens to be in the frame.

The UK book cover is a real eye catcher and certainly enticed me to pick up this thriller.

Setting is recognisable but not altogether strong.




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