Lies, Damned Lies and Thrillers

March 29, 2021 | M. Elwood

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There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

                                                                                        Mark Twain

Everyone knows that April Fool's Day is a day for playing tricks on friends, coworkers and family. Less well known is Tell a Lie Day that takes place on April 4. It just seems like a week where people are mean and think it's fun. I am very gullible so this sort of thing is torture for me. 

In any case I've noticed a lot of lies, liars and lying in book titles lately. Psychological thrillers often mislead the reader with unreliable narrators and sneaky plot twists. It's great that they're being upfront about it so credulous readers like me know what we're up against. 

I have some questions though...


How many lies are too many? Also, does the size of the lie matter?

One little lie
One little Lie by Colleen Coble

In this romantic suspense novel, Jane Hardy replaces her father as sheriff of a small Alabama town and expects the usual challenges of being a woman in a traditionally male role. She doesn't imagine that her father will be accused of murder and complicate everything even more. 

One little lie

One Little Lie by Sam Carrington

Alice's son is in prison for murder and she doesn't understand how she missed signs of trouble. Guilt-ridden, she starts a support group for parents with similar stories. Alice is so desperate for redemption, she'll do anything. And one little lie can't hurt, can it?

Three little lies

Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall

Ellen and Sasha are close friends and roommates. But one day, Sasha doesn't come home from work. Although the police are indifferent, Ellen believes that Sasha's disappearance may be connected to an incident in their past. 

Seven lies

Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay

Jane and Marnie have been best friends since childhood. Now adults, they are growing apart. In this thriller, Jane describes the desperate lengths she has gone to preserve the friendship and the seven lies she's told Marnie along the way.


What if the person lying has great skills? Would you settle for a merely good liar when you could have a perfect one?

Good liar

The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie

I really liked this book about three women who are connected by tragedy. The title is a little misleading and I suppose one should expect that in a book about lying. In fact all three of the main characters are lying about something and they're all quite good at it. One of them, however is lying about something significant. 

Better liar

The Better Liar by Tanen Jones

Sisters Robin and Leslie haven't seen each other for many years. Robin left home as a teenager and Leslie stayed behind caring for their father. He died recently and Leslie is in desperate need of the inheritance she believes she will get. Unfortunately a stipulation in the will requires both Leslie and Robin to collect it. Leslie searches for Robin only to discover her dead of a drug overdose. If she doesn't have a real sister to help her get the money, how about a fake one? When Leslie runs into a woman who looks a lot like Robin, she arranges for her to impersonate her sister. 

Perfect liar

The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

Although they have a seemingly perfect marriage, both Max and Susannah have secrets. The couple and Susannah's teenage son have moved to Vermont but anonymous notes have begun appearing on their door. They dismiss the first one as a prank but when one of their new neighbours dies on a run with Max, they wonder if someone has found out about their past. 

Three perfect liars

Three Perfect Liars by Heidi Perks

When the building occupied by a well-known advertising agency burns down, three women are suspected of arson. Longtime employee Lauren has just returned from maternity leave to discover the woman who had temporarily taken over her job has no intention of leaving. Temp worker Mia has been made a permanent employee to the chagrin of Lauren. Janie, wife to the CEO, gave up her own career to support her husband but she's wondering if she made the right choice. 


Even more important: what if the person lying is really good looking? 

Beautiful liars

Beautiful Liars by Isabel Ashdown

Martha, Ivy and Juliet were teenage friends but it all ended when Juliet disappeared one night. Now almost 20 years later, Martha is a celebrity who plans to investigate Juliet's disappearance on her new crime TV show. 


In the end though, it's really all lies, lies, lies. 

Lies lies lies

Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks

This is a dark book about the twisted secrets of a seemingly normal family. Although their marriage looks perfect to outsiders, Simon and Daisy are barely holding on. A long struggle with infertility resulted in a daughter whom they adore but the process took a toll on their relationship. Now they're considering having another child but Simon's growing alcoholism leads to tragedy. 


If these are the sort of books you enjoy, find more under the subject heading:

Truthfulness and Falsehood—Fiction 


One last lie in this post — the quote at the top is usually attributed to Mark Twain, as it is above. When he used it in his autobiography, he accredited it to Benjamin Disraeli... but there is no evidence that Disraeli ever said it.