The Lying Game
By: Ruth Ware
# of pages: 370
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…
The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).
My review: I’ve read The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Death of Mrs. Westaway and enjoyed them, so I figured I’d check this book out as well. This novel is told from Isa’s point of view as she goes back to Salten, the town in which her high school boarding school was located. She leaves London (and her boyfriend) in a hurry after receiving a text from Kate, who still lives in Salten. She’s joined by Fatima and Thea to find out just why Kate summoned them back after 17 years.
All of the women are immersed in memories when they arrive at Kate’s house, called The Mill. Some of the memories are good, the four girls cuddling on the couch in The Mill’s living room, swimming in the sea, and spending time with Kate’s father and stepbrother. Other memories aren’t so nice. The mean spirited game they played while at school called The Lying Game. As high schoolers the girls didn’t always realize the consequences of the game, but as an adult, Isa can’t deny how wrong it was to isolate herself from the majority of her peers.
The book is named after the game, but it really doesn’t have much to do with the main plot of the story. As a matter of fact, it really doesn’t have anything to do with the women’s present situation. I wish the past and present had tied together more. Honestly, for most of the book I wasn’t even too interested in the problem the women faced. It’s a cool concept for a novel, but it didn’t come across as well as I would have liked.
Anyway, it’s worth reading if you like a somewhat slower paced mystery, but it’s not very suspenseful or fascinating.
Why I gave this book 3/5 stars: Neat concept for a story, so-so characters, slow paced.