Believe Me by JP Delaney, 4 Stars

Summer is a great time for reading. It brings to mind lazy days of relaxing on the beach with a book, not a care in the world or a schedule to keep. Maybe 10 years ago before I had kids, or maybe 10 years in the future when they are old enough to not need constant supervision by water! But still, I do get a fair amount of reading done in the summer.

But I’m ready to trade my beach reads for cozy ones, reading curled up next to a warm crackling fire (never mind that I don’t have a fireplace).  I have officially reached the point in summer where I’ve had enough sticky humid and hot weather. I’m currently fantasizing about cozy sweatshirts, flannel PJ pants, jeans, boots and pumpkin spice lattes.

Wake me up when September ends.

Today I’m reviewing Believe Me by JP Delaney, which I read entirely in my air-conditioned house because it’s too freaking hot to go outside.

From the Publisher:

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?

My Review:

We first meet Claire during an intimate encounter at a bar–where she proceeds to snare a married man–and sneaks out the side door. She is an attractive woman who has the confidence and acting ability to bend men to her will. She’s also a broke, struggling actress without a green card who is trying to stay afloat to take acting classes. Two very different sides of the same coin.

So when she is drawn into the web of a violent murder, one has to wonder if she is completely innocent. After all, she scrapes by in life through lying and deceiving men.

As Delaney continues to spin his story, we see even more dichotomies in Claire’s life. She has a history of obsession, maybe even mental illness and the deeper she gets involved in trying to capture a killer, the more the reader starts wondering who she really is and what she is capable of.

Patrick is also a great character–a sophisticated, charming professor who may or may not be a murderer…I spent much of the book trying to figure out his intentions. Was he good or bad? I was there right along with Claire as she fell in love with him–but was he a murderer?

Believe Me is told in three parts, that I found to be very distinct parts. My understanding of Claire and the outside world shifted as I advanced to a new part of the book. There are tons of twists and turns, right up to the last page, which I appreciated. If I have one complaint I’d say that I did get a little lost somewhere in the second part of the book. As Claire grapples a bit with what is real and what isn’t, I found myself having a similar issue with the story. And it got a tad bit too confusing for my taste.

Still, I really liked this one. I read so many thrillers that when I don’t see something coming or I can’t figure out a story or character, it’s kind of exhilarating.

Special thanks to Ballantine Books and Netgalley for a free e-galley in exchange for my honest review.

This one is out today, July 24! Get your copy:

Indiebound

 

 

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