Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine
Date of publication: July 24th, 2018
Genre: General Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Trigger Warning: Mental Illness
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.
A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.
Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions. The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.
Then the game changes.
When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.
Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap? But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?
This book messed with my head, big time. See, I liked psychological thrillers. I like reading a book where I don’t know what will happen from one chapter to the next. I like damaged main characters. I didn’t think I would get that with Believe Me. I thought this book was going to be your typical who done it with the female main solving the crime. Instead, I got a book that kept me guessing from chapter to chapter. A book that I had a hard time forgetting about once I was done with it. A book that got under my skin. I should have known better than to assume the book would be typical.
Believe Me’s plot started off simple and progressed into the complex. Claire was a British ex-pat actress living in New York City without a green card. Desperate for work, she starts doing decoy work for divorce lawyers. That job puts her in the path of Professor Patrick Folger. His wife is found dead the day after the setup. Claire is brought in for questioning since she was the last person to see her alive. She is recruited by a shady psychologist to get to know Patrick and to get a confession out of him. Little does Claire know that her life will be turned upside down and inside out.
Claire was such a complex character to write about. As a reader, I love it when characters have different layers. Claire definitely had them. At one point in the book, I questioned her memories of growing up in foster care. She was such a great actress that she made me, the reader, question what I was reading. I am sure that was the author’s intention. I loved it!!
I didn’t know how I felt about Claire. My feelings for her went from one extreme to another. I could love her in one chapter and then hate her in another. I have never had another book do that for me. Even at the end of the book, when we saw the “real” Claire, I was still on edge about her. Was that the real Claire we were seeing, or was it another one of her personalities?
I’ve gotta say that Patrick had me fooled the entire book. I went from thinking one thing about him to thinking another to rethinking my opinion. So, needless to say, I was surprised by what he revealed to Claire. I shouldn’t have been, but I was. Actually, let me rephrase that. I was more shocked by what he revealed.
I was also surprised that the poem referenced in the book “Les Fleurs du Mal” is an actual book written by Charles Baudelaire. To be honest, I did think that it was made up. Until I did a google search, and there was a ton of information about it. I’m not going to go too much into him, but I will say those poems are freaky. Google them and him. You’ll see what I mean.
The end of the book was insane. It is where the plotline went from simple to complex. I will not get into much of the ending, except I wasn’t expecting what happened. Also, as I mentioned above, I wasn’t too sure about Claire. Even with everything revealed, I still had my doubts about her.
There were a few reasons why I didn’t give Believe Me a 5-star rating. The main reason was that the book got off to a slow start. I know that the author was laying the groundwork for Claire’s story. It crept. I almost DNF’d (but I am glad I didn’t).
I also felt that the plot faltered towards the middle of the book when Claire was in the mental hospital. I felt that her hospital experiences were irrelevant to the storyline. It was interesting but not relevant.
My last reason was the book’s last few chapters and how Claire’s secret came out. While it was shocking, I definitely didn’t see it coming. It came out of the left field. When the book finally ended, I felt it was anticlimactic.
What I liked about Believe Me:
A) Got under my skin
B) Complex characters
C) The end of the book
What I disliked about Believe Me:
A) Book got off to a slow start
B) Plot faltered towards the middle of the book
C) The ending felt almost anticlimactic
I would give Believe Me an Adult rating. There is sex. There is violence. There is language. I would suggest that no one under 21 read this book.
There is a trigger warning for Believe Me. They are mental illness. If you are triggered by that, I suggest not to read the book.
I would reread Believe Me. I would recommend this book to family and friends. But I would include a warning about the triggers.
I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine Books, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Believe Me
All opinions stated in this review of Believe Me are mine
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**