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Summary

Summary

From the New York Times bestselling author of the "pulse-quickening" ( Good Housekeeping, UK) In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware's highly anticipated third novel, featuring her signature "verve and energy" ( Library Journal ).

On a cool June morning, Isa Wilde, a resident of the seemingly idyllic coastal village of Salten, is walking her dog along a tidal estuary. Before she can stop him, Isa's dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick--and to her horror, she discovers it's not a stick at all...but a human bone. As her three best friends from childhood converge in Salten to comfort a seriously shaken-up Isa, terrifying discoveries are made, and their collective history slowly unravels. Tackling the slipperiness of your memories, the relativity of truth, and the danger of obsessive friendships, The Lying Game is a gripping mystery with compelling characters and electric prose, resulting in an unputdownable thriller.


Author Notes

Ruth Ware grew up in Lewes, in Sussex. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller.

Ruth's second novel, The Woman in Cabin 10, became a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller.

(Bowker Author Biography) Ruth Ware was born in West Sussex, England in 1977. She is a graduate of Manchester University. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language, and a press officer. She is the author of the psychological crime thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood, and the bestseller, The Woman in Cabin 10.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The text I need you demolishes the careful distance Isa Wilde has placed between her life as a happily married new mother and the painful, life-changing term she spent at Salten House boarding school. Long-estranged friends Isa, Thea, and Fatima answer Kate Atagon's text by returning to Salten, where Kate still lives in her father's decomposing millhouse. Ambrose Atagon, a well-known artist, was Salten's art teacher and frequent host of the girls' away weekends. He disappeared that final year amid rumors of inappropriate relationships with the girls, leaving the four friends with a disastrous secret. Now a body has been found in the marsh surrounding the house, and the women need to get their stories straight before the inevitable knock at the door. Once they are together, though, the years of distance and memories of their deceptive pastime, the Lying Game, breed suspicion. Ware masterfully harnesses the millhouse's decrepit menace to create a slow-rising sense of foreboding, darkening Isa's recollections of the weeks leading to Ambrose's disappearance. Previous blockbusters (including The Woman in Cabin 10, 2016) guarantee popularity for Ware's latest thriller, and, with arguably her most complex, fully realized characters yet, this one may become her biggest hit yet.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2017 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

When Isa Wilde, the narrator of this engrossing psychological thriller from bestseller Ware (The Woman in Cabin 10), gets a text-"I need you"-from old friend Kate Atagon, she knows she must drop everything in London and go to Salten, a town on England's south coast, where the two attended Salten House, a cut-rate boarding school. Doctor Fatima Qureshy and casino dealer Thea West, who also attended Salten House, receive the same message. At school, the four girls perfected what they called the Lying Game, with myriad rules and intricate scoring. An incident that caused the girls to leave before their senior year looms large as Isa, Fatima, and Thea gather at the house where Kate has always lived with her father, Salten's art master. Kate informs the group about a riverbank discovery-a human bone-that could unravel the foursome's 17-year pact of silence. Alternating between the past and present, Ware builds up a rock-solid cast of intriguing characters and spins a mystery that will keep readers turning pages to the end. Agent: Eve White, Eve White Literary Agency (U.K.). (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Four women, friends since their teen years spent at a boarding school on the English Channel, are thrown together again after nearly 20 years when a body surfaces in the marsh, threatening to destroy all of their carefully constructed lives-and lies. Narrator Isa, a new mom on maternity leave, joins Fatima, a no-nonsense physician who recently reconnected with her Muslim faith; Thea, a beauty who struggles with addiction; and Kate, a troubled artist who never left the small coastal town and lives in a rickety old mill house that's slowly sinking into the surrounding lands. As adolescents, the girls spent many long weekends at the mill house with Ambrose, Kate's artist father, and Luc, her stepbrother. At school, they smoked, drank, snuck out of the dorms at night, and played "the lying game," an ongoing competition to see who could convince their peers and teachers to believe the most outlandish tales. Unlike In a Dark, Dark Wood or The Woman in Cabin 10, Ware's third novel has a more leisurely pacing and values character development over nail-biting suspense. The mystery unfolds slowly and the "big reveal" is likely to be guessed at by observant readers. VERDICT Though not as chill-inducing as her previous titles, Ware's latest offers nuanced characters, an atmospheric small-town British setting, and a satisfying mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/17.]-Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

The Lying Game I'm coming!" I shout it up the stairs, as Owen calls something down above Freya's sleepy squawking cries. When I get up to the bedroom he's holding her, pacing back and forth, his face still pink and crumpled from the pillow. "Sorry," he says, stifling a yawn. "I tried to calm her down but she wasn't having any of it. You know what she's like when she's hungry." I crawl onto the bed and scoot backwards into the pillows until I'm sitting against the headboard, and Owen hands me a red-faced, indignant Freya who takes one affronted look up at me and then lunges for my breast with a little grunt of satisfaction. All is quiet, except for her greedy suckling. Owen yawns again, ruffles his hair, and looks at the clock, and then begins pulling on his underwear. "Are you getting up?" I ask in surprise. He nods. "I might as well. No point in going back to sleep when I've got to get up at seven anyway. Bloody Mondays." I look at the clock. Six a.m. It's later than I thought. I must have been pacing the kitchen for longer than I realized. "What were you doing up, anyway?" he asks. "Did the bin lorry wake you?" I shake my head. "No, I just couldn't sleep." A lie. I'd almost forgotten how they feel on my tongue, slick and sickening. I feel the hard, warm bump of my phone in my dressing gown pocket. I'm waiting for it to vibrate. "Fair enough." He suppresses another yawn and buttons up his shirt. "Want a coffee, if I put one on?" "Yeah, sure," I say. Then, just as he's leaving the room, "Owen--" But he's already gone and he doesn't hear me. Ten minutes later he comes back with the coffee, and this time I've had time to practice my lines, work out what I'm going to say, and the semi-casual way I'm going to say it. Still I swallow and lick my lips, dry-mouthed with nerves. "Owen, I got a text from Kate yesterday." "Kate from work?" He puts the coffee down with a little bump, it slops slightly, and I use the sleeve of my dressing gown to mop the puddle, protecting my book, giving me time to reply. "No, Kate Atagon. You know, I went to school with her?" "Oh, that Kate. The one who brought her dog to that wedding we went to?" "That's right. Shadow." I think of him. Shadow--a white German shepherd with a black muzzle and soot-speckled back. I think of the way he stands in the doorway, growls at strangers, rolls his snowy belly up to those he loves. "So . . . ?" Owen prods, and I realize I've stopped talking, lost my thread. "Oh, right. So she's invited me to come and stay, and I thought I might go." "Sounds like a nice idea. When would you go?" "Like . . . now. She's invited me now." "And Freya?" "I'd take her." Of course, I nearly add, but I don't. Freya has never taken a bottle, in spite of a lot of trying on my part, and Owen's. The one night I went out for a party, she screamed solidly from 7:30 p.m. to 11:58, when I burst through the doors of the flat to snatch her out of Owen's limp, exhausted arms. There's another silence. Freya leans her head back, watching me with a small frown, and then gives a quiet belch and returns to the serious business of getting fed. I can see thoughts flitting across Owen's face . . . That he'll miss us . . . That he'll have the bed all to himself . . . Lie-ins . . . "I could get on with decorating the nursery," he says at last. I nod, although this is the continuation of a long discussion between the two of us--Owen would like the bedroom, and me, back to himself and thinks that Freya will be going into her own room imminently, when she turns six months. I . . . don't. Which is partly why I've not found the time to clear the guest room of all our clutter and repaint it in baby-friendly colors. "Sure," I say. "Well, go for it, I reckon," Owen says at last. He turns away and begins sorting through his ties. "Do you want the car?" he asks over his shoulder. "No, it's fine. I'll take the train. Kate will pick me up from the station." "Are you sure? You won't want to be lugging all Freya's stuff on the train, will you? Is this straight?" "What?" For a minute I'm not sure what he's on about, and then I realize--the tie. "Oh, yes, it's straight. No, honestly, I'm happy to take the train. It'll be easier; I can feed Freya if she wakes up. I'll just put all her stuff in the bottom of the pram." He doesn't respond, and I realize he's already running through the day ahead, ticking things off a mental checklist just as I used to do a few months ago--only it feels like a different life. "Okay, well, look, I might leave today if that's all right with you." "Today?" He scoops his change off the chest of drawers and puts it in his pocket, and then comes over to kiss me good-bye on the top of my head. "What's the hurry?" "No hurry," I lie. I feel my cheeks flush. I hate lying. It used to be fun--until I didn't have a choice. I don't think about it much now, perhaps because I've been doing it for so long, but it's always there, in the background, like a tooth that always aches and suddenly twinges with pain. Most of all, though, I hate lying to Owen. Somehow I always managed to keep him out of the web, and now he's being drawn in. I think of Kate's text, sitting there on my phone, and it feels as if poison is leaching out of it, into the room--threatening to spoil everything. "It's just Kate's between projects, so it's a good time for her and . . . well, I'll be back at work in a few months, so it just feels like now's as good a time as any." "Okay," he says, bemused but not suspicious. "Well, I guess I'd better give you a proper good-bye kiss, then." He kisses me, properly, deeply, making me remember why I love him, why I hate deceiving him. Then he pulls away and kisses Freya. She swivels her eyes sideways to regard him suspiciously, pausing in her feed for a moment, and then she resumes sucking with the single-minded determination that I love about her. "Love you, too, little vampire," Owen says affectionately. Then, to me, "How long is the journey?" "Four hours, maybe? Depends how the connections go." "Okay, well, have a great time, and text me when you get there. How long do you think you'll stay?" "A few days?" I hazard. "I'll be back before the weekend." Another lie. I don't know. I have no idea. As long as Kate needs me. "I'll see when I get there." "Okay," he says again. "Love you." "I love you, too." And at last, that's something I can tell the truth about. Excerpted from The Lying Game by Ruth Ware All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.


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