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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera

Listen for the Lie offers a fascinating story structure, dark humor, and deeply flawed characters as main protagonist Lucy works to resolve her memory loss surrounding the events leading to her best friend's death.

Twentysomething Lucy is found wandering the streets of her small Texas town, covered in her best friend Savvy's blood.

But Lucy suffered a head wound the night of Savvy's death and now she can't remember anything about the night Savvy was murdered.

Everyone assumes she killed Savvy, and Lucy can't escape the suspicions and resentment surrounding the mysterious conditions of Savvy's death.

Lucy moves to Los Angeles to start a new life, but when the host of the ultra-popular true-crime podcast "Listen for the Lie" tracks her down, Lucy must do the one thing she swore she'd never do: return to her hometown and the scene of Savvy's murder to try to solve the mystery once and for all.

I loved Lucy's dry, dark humor, her blunt delivery, her shrugging about her own admittedly poor decision-making, and her sharp discernment. The story's dialogue is cutting and funny.

Each of the characters is either openly flawed or has their imperfect choices revealed during the story. I loved the matter-of-fact acceptance of some of these revelations (those that didn't emotionally or physically harm others).

Lucy's inability to remember key events pairs with her devil-may-care attitude so that she is frequently going around mentioning the fact that she may in fact have killed Savvy, which alarms those around her. Savvy's murderous voice repeatedly creeps into Lucy's head, and the reader eventually determines whether these are memories and Savvy was being earnest in her desire to do away with certain characters, whether they're memories and Savvy was joking, or whether Lucy is having her own thoughts about impulsive murder--or cracking under years of pressure.

The book is sex-positive and nontraditional in its portrayal of relationships, betrayal, acceptance, and forgiveness--but the book also involves disturbing cycles of abuse and infuriating male entitlement as key elements.

I was hooked on the structure of the story and the way the truth is gradually revealed; the information is illuminating as it creeps out but Tintera's tone is never teasing. The author doesn't throw in red herrings, and she doesn't manipulate the facts in order to spring a surprise on the reader.

The podcast element was engaging--I loved how it allowed for layers of interpretation, revelation, and intrigue.

I read an advance digital edition of Listen for the Lie courtesy of NetGalley and Celadon Books.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Amy Tintera is the author of young adult novels, and this is her first adult novel.


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