Lisa Scottoline is an author whose works are frequently found on a best seller list. This past spring, One Perfect Lie made some of those lists. I have not read a book by Ms. Scottoline in a while. One Perfect Lie did not disappoint.
I would classify this book as a suspense/murder on the surface. But, the story is much deeper than that. Unlike many of my reviews where I try not to reveal too much of the plot, a key twist comes at only a third of the way in. Thus you have received fair warning. I am about to ruin the suspense of the first part of One Perfect Lie.
Chris Brennan is interviewing for a replacement teaching position mid-year at Central Valley High in a rural part of Pennsylvania. The reader knows right from the beginning that Chris is a fake and not just from the title One Big Lie. Scottoline misleads the reader by writing about the character in such a manner that the assumption is Brennan is really a bad guy. He isn’t. He is actually ATF undercover.
More than One Perfect Lie
Brennan’s true identity is central to the story line. But in my opinion the heart of the tale is found in the three moms. The undercover agent is trying to discern which member of the baseball team is the patsy for a homegrown terror plot is. Yet I felt more involved in the moms of the players. I don’t think this happened because I am a mom.
The three moms are a single mom, a newly widowed mom and the mom who is close to developing a problem with alcohol. I like all three characters. The potential alcoholic mom is dealing with the most lies in One Perfect Lie. The widow has drama from two grieving sons and the single mom becomes the romantic interest to Brennan’s character. But don’t take her lightly, she is determined.
Most importantly, these three moms reach out to the reader. Each has her own hardships and each displays the grit to overcome the problems. For example, the greater adversity the heavy drinker encounters, the less she drinks. All three women are strong. I like books with strong women.
A Civics Lesson
Another small but important point of the story intrigued me. As a class exercise, Brennan has the students choose the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. The interconnected writings are defined by the lead character. First is the Constitution, described as the document which creates rules to follow. Then the Bill of Rights keeps authority in check by creating rights for the individual. I have never thought of the two founding papers in this light. Furthermore, it plays a key point late in the book.
Thus One Perfect Lie is recommended on multiple levels. First, the female characters tend to be strong. Second, the plot flows. Third, the writing is well-done. Finally, the book gave me a new concept to think about. All these points are reasons to read One Perfect Lie.