Believe Me, J.P. Delaney

Review Written By
Andrea Thompson

Yikes.  Be prepared for the push and pull as your suspicions settle on one person and then are shunted briskly away to lay uneasily on the head of another.  Rinse and repeat.

There’s a lot to like in this novel and there’s also a lot that simply doesn’t work.  It’s clever or very clumsy in parts and there’s no continuity with either intent.  Claire’s character is suitably complex and we’re all for seeing female characters showing their dark sides, just as male characters have been able to display for the last billion years in fiction.  As you progress through BELIEVE ME you are never quite sure if you are dealing with an unreliable narrator – and this can brand a thriller as a one trick pony with there being so many novels about now of this type – or whether this is someone who makes a practice of making monumentally unwise decisions.

Does the reader become invested in the outcome of BELIEVE ME?  Not really.  We know where we are headed.  Second novels following blockbuster debuts can have a terrific weight of expectation placed on them well before release and BELIEVE ME was no exception. The sub culture of sexual fetishes is in interesting inclusion, as is the plot device of selecting certain works of French poet Charles Baudelaire to illustrate the motivations of a killer.  BELIEVE ME fires well straight out of the gates but credibility is stretched to breaking point as soon as Claire is asked to contribute her acting talents to the investigation.

BELIEVE ME waxes and wanes between holding your interest and pushing you off to do other things when it gets a bit tedious.  You do need to fully invest in Claire and her nebulous reasonings in order to finish this book.  Modern relationships are hideously complicated and hats off to BELIEVE ME, as this thriller takes that certainty to a whole new level of dangerous complexity.

Year of Publication

In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions.

The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Then the game changes.

When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap?

But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey? 

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