First Lie Wins
Grade : A-

In the realm of storytelling, every now and then, a book emerges wielding a narrator so specific and wildly entertaining that all one wants to do is shut out the world until the very last page is turned. Such is the enchantment of Elston's Evie Porter in First Lie Wins.

In Elston’s inaugural foray into adult fiction with First Lie Wins, prepare to be thrust into a whirlwind where deception is an art and mysteries coil and unfurl with relentless intensity.

Evie Porter, our riveting narrator, is a con artist who moves from town to town and identity to identity, all under the orders of her very mysterious boss, Mr. Smith. Currently, she is navigating the murky labyrinth of Lake Forbing, Louisiana. Guided by the slightly horrifying principle the first lie wins, Evie is tasked with unravelling one Ryan Sumner for reasons she doesn't actually know. She is succeeding--she's moved in with Ryan and is, behind his back, digging deep into his world. However, and this is NOT the goal, she finds she not only enjoys burning up the sheets with Ryan, she actually likes him. This, she must keep from Mr. Smith and keeping things from Mr. Smith is almost impossible.

As Evie delves deeper into Ryan's world, the narrative unfolds like a pulse-pounding saga. Sharing intimate moments and cozy brunches, her initial resolve begins to buckle under the weight of unexpected emotions. Amidst this turmoil, Ryan's mysterious aura—a shadow as obscure as Mr. Smith's—adds a layer of complexity to Evie's already precarious mission.

Elston's storytelling prowess never falters, maintaining a breakneck pace that keeps readers riveted. With seamless transitions between past and present, Evie’s backstory unfolds, revealing layers of resilience, unwavering dedication, and a chilling commitment to Mr. Smith’s cryptic agenda.

Just as the reader gets comfortable, a shocking revelation disrupts Evie's world—an imposter claiming Lucca Marino’s identity. The ensuing turmoil propels Evie into a labyrinth of uncertainty where every twist and turn intensifies the thrill.

First Lie Wins transcends conventional thriller boundaries, echoing themes of trust, authenticity, and the precarious dance between truth and deceit. Evie Porter emerges as a captivating anti-heroine, navigating a world governed by male expectations while subtly challenging traditional norms—a testament to empowerment through shrewdness rather than overt rebellion. She's also hilarious. Honestly, I could listen to her all damn day--her voice is just that good.

This will unquestionably be one of my absolute favorite reads of 2024. It hits the trifecta with a captivating voice, a gripping plot, and characters that linger. Spending time with Evie was an absolute delight—I found myself rooting for her at every turn. Like all enthralled by this fabulous narrative, I hold out hope that this isn’t the last we see of Ms. Porter or the exceptional work by this talented author.

Reviewed by Dabney Grinnan
Grade : A-
Book Type: Mystery | Suspense

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : January 2, 2024

Publication Date: 01/2024

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Dabney Grinnan

Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day. Publisher at AAR.
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