About the Author: Kaela Coble lives in Burlington, Vermont, and is a member of the League of Vermont Writers and a graduate of the WoMentoring Project. This is her first novel.
You will find her here:
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/friends-and-other-liars-kaela-coble/1126273509
To all my old friends:
So here you all are. Nice to see you can show up for a person once he’s dead.
When Ruby St. James returns to her hometown, it is to the grave of her old friend Danny, a member of a group that was, ten years ago, Ruby’s whole world. The crew made a pact back then: stay together, stay loyal, and stay honest. But that was before all of the lies.
Because even friends keep secrets. They just don’t stay secret for long.
Now Danny has left behind a letter for each of them, issuing one final ultimatum: share your darkest betrayal to the group, or risk it coming out in a trap he has created. When past mistakes resurface, the lines of friendship blurb, and four old friends are left trying to understand what it means to lie to the ones you love best.
Ruby grew up in a small town. She moved away 10 years ago right after High School and never returned. Now she has to come back for a funeral because one of her old friends committed suicide. Coming home brings back bad memories. She used to be very close to her childhood friends. They promised themselves to look out for and be absolutely honest to each other. But everybody keeps a secret. Somehow Danny knew these secrets and after his death he leaves some letters for his friends. He wants them to reveal their secrets to each other or otherwise somebody else will expose them.
It took a while to get into the book. At first it is confusing with all the characters and their connections. The book is told from multiple POV and time, past and present. I must admit that I was not able to connect to any of the characters. They seem so unlikely friends. They all came from more or less dysfunctional families and that tied them together. But I thought that they were all very different I was wondering if the really still liked each other or just thought they have to stick together because of their history. They kept secrets about the most important things in their life and did not share them with one another. So I get a weird feeling about their so proclaimed friendship.
The book did not quite grip me as I hoped it would. For a long time it’s all about the complicated relationship between Ruby and Murphy and their on/off love affair. Both are back and forth all the time about themselves and most of the time they talk past one another. This part of the story was dragged too much for my taste. I don’t like love stories. And this book felt too much like one. But nevertheless it kept my interest all the time.
This is not a bad book, it is an easy and interesting read. I don’t mind when I don’t like the characters. I still can enjoy the story. And I did most of the time. I liked the ending, though. It is not a very twisted story but somehow honest and true to life. Just a little bit too much lover’s struggle for my taste.
This was one of my most anticipated books from last year. I received it from NetGalley months ago but I wanted to read it closer to its publishing date and because I had so much other books to read. I’ve read so many raving reviews about it and its twists. So my expectations were high and that is not always a good thing.
Sometimes it is good to read reviews and know what you are expecting and sometimes you better avoid knowing too much about a book. Both apply to this book. I was glad that I read so many reviews which praised it twistiness because for the first 40% into it I was a bit disappointed. The pace was extremely slow and it felt like a mediocre psychological thriller. I must admit that I guessed the first twist. I can’t say why because that would be a spoiler. After that the story moved on faster and finally it griped me.
So, if I had not read all the frantic reviews, I maybe would have stopped reading. That was the good thing about knowing something about the book: that there was something going to happen. The other good thing is that I did not know much about the story itself and I will not tell anything about it neither. So I kept reading. I desperately wanted to know what the fuss was all about.
After finishing the book I understand why the first part was so slow. Everything was built up and we get to know the characters and what is going on, at least you think you know what’s going on. You think you know the story already: wife, cheating husband, mistress and drama. So the twist will come like a blow into your face. It is kind of a cheap trick how the author built this first part of the book. But it worked. So if you don’t see what the author has in stock for you it is a major surprise. And there are more surprises on the way.
What you get here is a well-crafted and twisted domestic drama. My only problems with it were that it started very slow and a bit dragging. I could also not connect to the female main character. I just think she was stupid. All the time until the end even all she went through. But as I said, after struggling my way through half of it I suddenly found it extremely gripping and could not stop reading.
Although I guessed the major twist and being only mildly surprised about the other turns I can say I enjoyed it. It held my attention not right from the beginning but it got better. The story was not as shocking or inventive as I expected but it was a fun read. I would recommend it to anybody who loves a twisted psychological thriller.
Women fascinated by men who are imprisoned for murder is a very interesting topic. When I read the description of this book I knew I had to read it. It started promising. We get to know Samantha, who gets infatuated with Dennis Danson. He is in prison for 20 years now and a lot of people fight for his release. There is no real evidence that he was involved in killing those girls. It looks like the local police was on a vendetta against him. There is also a documentary about Dennis on its way. He is getting famous through social media. It helps that he is handsome and charming. Sam starts to write to him and surprisingly he writes back. Finally, after lots and lots of letters and falling in love just by writing to each other, Sam decides to take a sabbatical and get on the next plane to meet Dennis in person. And then everything goes very quick.
The book started promising. The writing style was a bit rushed and it read more like a report than a novel. But it was interesting though. But then it somehow got boring. For some reason after Dennis’ release from prison the couple stays in Dennis’ old hometown in his father’s house. Sam does not understand why neither but somehow never questions him or make any attempts to leave or persuade Dennis to leave with her. She feels threatened by his former girlfriend and somebody is creeping around the house in the night. She is incredible passive. She is a very weird character and I got the feeling there was something wrong with her.
The story drags from this point. It started so promising but then it was all about the oh-so fascinating Dennis and the question if he is guilty or not. But the main problem is Sam. She is so whiny, so pathetic and such a drama queen. I am baffled that Dennis did not kill her on his first day out of prison.
When I started reading that book I was interested in what it was that women attracts to criminals. I think I got a hint of what it is. But it stayed at the surface. The initial crimes were just background noise and got never really explained. And I must admit I did not like where the story headed towards the end. Sam is not a very likable character and this conclusion was totally in character. But somehow I felt not comfortable with it. I don’t like that the author put her exactly in that crazy corner that most of us think those women belong.
I liked the idea of the story but the flat characters ruined it. The start was very good, it is decently written but failed to keep this strong storytelling all the way to the end.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
This was an easy and pleasant read. I did not find it very creepy, although there are gruesome murders and something sinister is going on. But from page 1 I was hooked. I don’t want to get into the story itself. Maybe it is better, when you just jump into this book.
As I said, it is an easy read. The pages just flew as I began to wonder what was going on. I figured the main twist out quite early because there were one or two clues which really pointed in that direction. But there was enough other things going on and I enjoyed it very much.
This was an easy and quick read and a real page-turner. I would not call it a psychological thriller. It is more a dark and twisted domestic drama and a romance gone wrong. There are a lot of psychological manipulations going on which made the read so entertaining.
I think I should not say too much about the story. I jumped into the book with not much of an idea of it and I that was good. At first I thought everything was going too smoothly for Amber and her aim to get between the married couple. But soon I sensed there was something else going on.
Envy, greed, betrayal, abuse, psychopaths – name it, you have it here in this book. It is a dark, twisted and disturbing story. I enjoyed reading it.