No More Lies
Intricately plotted and tightly written, No More Lies poses some intriguing “what if” questions that I’m still pondering days after I finished the book.
Clearly, Susan Squires isn’t afraid to challenge her readers and anyone considering reading this book should know right from the start that the story here is a grim one. (Really, really grim.) That said, though, the book is a riveting read and a fabulous tale of romantic suspense.
Dr. Holland Banks’s well-ordered life begins its downward spiral when she suddenly starts hearing a relentless cacophony of voices inside her head. As the head of an exclusive psychiatric clinic and the disaffected daughter of a famed research scientist, Holland is further alarmed when she realizes that the man she believes may be stalking her is the possessor of the voice she hears most loudly and clearly. When her “stalker,” investigative reporter Jeff McQueen, is arrested at a press conference and forcibly confined in her clinic, Holland is stunned when Jeff confronts her with the fact that he know she hears the voices – the same voices he also hears. Miraculously, the voices disappear only when the two touch.
Mystified by these happenings and determined to discover the truth, Holland doesn’t initially consider the possibility of a connection between the phenomena and her father’s work. Though her father is openly contemptuous of what he terms his daughter’s touchy-feely profession, he needs her assistance in determining why the test subjects in whom he has injected a junk DNA sequence seem to be turning into “social misfits” who commit suicide at alarming rates.
But there is a connection, of course. And, since both Holland and Jeff seem to be right in the crosshairs of the sniper currently terrorizing America, finding the answer is quite literally a life or death proposition.
Since there are multiple opportunities for spoilers here, that’s just about as much in the way of plot I can provide. Especially as this is one of those rare books where the story builds so dramatically, that the vast majority of revelations come as a total surprise. The momentum of No More Lies, frankly, is incredible.
Holland is a deeply complex character who begins in one place when the book begins and evolves into someone entirely different by the end of the novel. Such is Squires’s skill that her reactions and feelings to unthinkable situations and circumstances always rang true. Holland is a woman forced to question virtually everything she’s ever believed during the course of the story and I felt her pain, her lust, her fear, and her growing love for Jeff – all of it.
The son of a TV minister whom he despises, Jeff is a at heart a crusader whose life is primarily about justice. He is a man who genuinely believes in doing the right thing and in exposing those who don’t. He is an admirable companion for Holland as they work to discover the truth.
As for quibbles, for me the scientific aspects of the story were pretty much tough going. Ms. Squires does require the reader to comprehend some DNA basics and then to build upon that knowledge. While I was able to meet that challenge, I didn’t enjoy the time I spent doing it. So, since a firm grasp of this aspect of the plot is essential to understanding the twists and turns of the story, readers should be prepared to spend a bit of time in science study hall. Equally, matters here are so grim that I simply can’t imagine reading the book again. I’m glad I went to the dark places Ms. Squires explores, but it’s an experience I’d want to ration between some less challenging reads.
Though decidedly not for everyone, readers of romantic suspense (as well as admirers of Ms. Squire’s eclectic backlist) won’t be disappointed in this one. Given that I’d never read this author before but had heard so many superlatives from readers and colleagues at AAR, I worried if she could live up to my expectations. Not a chance. Susan Squires is a writer to savor and I certainly plan to do so again in the near future.