Desert Isle Keeper
Three Perfect Liars
Heidi Perks came to my attention last year with the publication of her first novel here in the U.S., and I’ve been eagerly awaiting something new from her ever since. Now, Three Perfect Liars has hit the shelves, and I can’t wait for thriller fans everywhere to fall under its spell.
The novel centers around three women who are connected in various ways to a profitable advertising firm located in a small English town. When the story opens, the building is on fire, and it’s obvious someone is left inside. We then go back eight weeks and learn what led up to this tragic event.
Laura has never wanted the traditional life of a stay-at-home mum, so six months after the birth of her son, she’s more than ready to get back to work. Sure, she’ll miss spending quality time with the baby, but nothing really compares to the mental stimulation she gets from creating the perfect ads for her clients. Plus, she’s not sure the woman who was hired to cover for her while on maternity leave has been able to keep her clients happy – so she’s less than pleased to find Mia, the supposed temp, permanently ensconced in the office. The firm’s CEO claims to be doing what’s best for the company as a whole, but Laura isn’t convinced. She can’t help but think Mia has some kind of ulterior motive for staying on.
Right away, the reader knows something’s up with Mia. I can’t tell you too much about her, but she’s keeping a lot of secrets, and although a few hints are dropped early on, I found the portions of the book told from her perspective to be a little hard to follow. Things do eventually become clearer, but you’ve got to be prepared for a little bit of confusion.
Janie is the wife of the firm’s CEO. She put her own plans and dreams on hold so her husband could achieve his lifelong goal of opening an advertising firm, and now, five years into a life she never truly wanted, she’s growing a little more cynical with each passing day. She’s not sure she can trust her husband, and the women she spends time with on a daily basis don’t really seem to understand her the way her former friends used to. She’s not exactly sure how to improve things for herself, but she knows something has to change in the very near future or she’s likely to lose her tenuous grip on sanity.
Janie is probably my favorite of the three protagonists. I wanted to see her make the necessary changes in her life, to actually start living for herself again rather than simply allowing her husband to control everything. There are some very good reasons for her initial passivity, and I appreciated the author’s ability to bring her conflicts to life on the page in a way that didn’t feel contrived.
Laura and Mia are also extremely well-drawn, but I couldn’t relate to them as easily as I could to Janie. As someone who doesn’t have children, I struggled to identify with the conflict Laura experiences around dividing her time between her career and her family, and at times, I found her actions to be pretty selfish. Fortunately, she does grow quite a bit over the course of the novel, and I ended up liking her by the time I reached the end.
There are snippets of police interviews interspersed throughout the chapters, giving added insight into the fire investigation. In this way, the book reminded me a bit of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies. I had no idea who the guilty party was, though thinking back on things, I can tell that the author dropped quite a few clues at various points in the narrative.
This is one of those books you’ll want to devour in a single sitting, so make sure you carve out a nice chunk of time before diving in. It’s fast-paced and compelling, perfect for a day at the beach or a quiet evening at home.