I am sitting here bleary eyed and sucking down coffee and I am blaming Pintip Dunn. If her new novel, scheduled for publication on June 28, 2016, The Darkest Lie weren’t so intriguing and almost literally page-turning (it would have been literally page turning if not for the fact that I was reading it on my tablet–or is that page turning? hmm), I probably would have eight hours of sleep but as it is I am hopelessly sleep deprived.
Cecilia (Cece) Brooks has just lost her mother, Tabitha, to suicide, a seeming consequence of the revelation that Tabitha was sexually involved with a student, Tommy. Cece and her father are devastated.
Cece is starting her senior year trying to blend in to the middle of the student body, thinking she won’t be noticed. In the months following her mother’s death there had been students, mostly friends of Tommy’s, who were only too happy to make her life miserable with sleazy jokes, graphic insults, and bullying. Now that most of them have graduated, she thinks it should be relatively easy to go unnoticed.
Her father is turning inward, isolating himself, and ignores Cece except to ask if she’s eaten. He also has a theory that Tabitha hadn’t committed suicide, but to Cece, it just sounds crazy and to the police as well who evidently took his ravings as signs of grief.
A new student, Sam, shows up at Cece’s school. He is interning at the local newspaper and wants to write an article on the suicide, not realizing as he is telling Cece of his intentions that it’s her mother who died. Sam seems to be a good guy, though, a regular knight, albeit a geeky one, on a three-wheel scooter.
Cece begins working at the crisis hotline her mother founded after needing to fulfill community service as punishment for refusing to turn in her journal project. Her desire to blend in fails when she comes to the attention of MacKenzie, Tommy’s ex-girlfriend and class mean girl.Things start to unravel.
After discovering a clue in one of Tabitha’s call records, Cece realizes that her mother may not have killed herself, but now it’s possible that Cece has stuck her nose where it doesn’t belong and that there may be consequences. Cece no longer knows just who she can and cannot trust.
With clues derived from Cece and Tabitha’s love of puzzles, the mystery at the heart of The Darkest Lie begins to satisfyingly unfold resulting in a nail-biting climax.
Cece’s character is very well written. She might start out as an invisible victim, but she decides resolutely that she is not going to stay one and resolves to be her own hero. Actually all of the characters are well done, round, with realistic depths and motives.
Dunn’s storytelling draws you in immediately and pretty much doesn’t let you go until the end–and you won’t be dissatisfied with that either. Even if you do have an inkling as to “who done what,” you will still enjoy trying to figure out the “whys” and then you’re thrown into thrilling last sequence, which may, as in my case, have you staying up way later than you should.
After reading The Darkest Lie, I am happily anticipating Pintip Dunn’s next novel.
If you couldn’t guess, I highly recommend this novel. For categorization purposes, if this is important to you, this is probably classified as a YA mystery/thriller.
I received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
From Amazon: The Darkest Lie
rating: (5 out of 5 butterflies)