Friends Don’t Lie – by Nell Pattison (Review)

Standalone

Thriller, Mystery

Avon Books; September 29, 2022

384 pages (ebook)

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Author Social

8 / 10 ✪

I was kindly granted an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Avon Books and NetGalley for the eARC! All opinions are my own.

Meet Isabella Butterworth. Call her Izzy.

She lives alone, working as a virtual assistant, meaning that she only really has to leave home to get food. But during one of these forays, her life is about to change forever.

When she is confronted by a man that threatens to kill her. Her—Isabella Butterworth.

That’s when she learns she’s not alone.

She finds a second Isabella Butterworth (let’s call her Bella), living in her same city of Lincoln (in the East Midlands, not Nebraska). Someone she’d never known about, not until now. And now that’s all she can think about.

What if that’s who the man was really looking for? Izzy has never done anything that would make someone want to kill her—has she? She doesn’t think so. But this other Isabella Butterworth—Bella—who knows?

Izzy has to find her. Izzy has to warn her. But to do that, she has to find out more about her. Like where she lives, what she likes, where she goes, what she does, how many children she has, whether or not she’s married, who her friends are, what her history is… and so much more.

Everything. She needs to know everything about Bella. So she can help her.

Yes—help her.

Wow, what a mindfuck.

The beginning of this book was depressing. Like, REALLY depressing. The lead, Izzy, reminded me at first of me when I get really deep in the throes of depression and avoid people like the plague. And then she goes steadily downhill. It actually made me feel uncomfortable to read. In the beginning, at least. So just keep that in mind.

I was actually considering DNFing this, but I wanted to see what happened next. That’s the beauty of Pattison’s books. No matter how you feel about their subject matter, the tone, the world, even the plot—they make you question. And that’s what hooks you (or me, at least). Once I got by that cringeworthy portion, the story takes off.

For a few hours everything roared right along. Then, at about the 3/4 mark, things got confusing. It’s a big twist, the first of a few in the story. But it’s a HUGE twist, and one that left me reeling. As I said before, what a mindfuck.

I actually had to stop and go back to piece things together. I was well and truly lost for a bit, but I eventually got it under control. And that was one of my main issues with this book: the twist was so nuclear, so mind-bending, that it tore me right out of the story. We’re talking from total immersion to total confusion. It was terribly disorienting. Once I got a handle on things, I could stop and appreciate just what the author accomplished here; a twist that turned everything on its head. The problem is that when it yanked me out of the story, it took quite some time for me to get back into the flow of things. And it wasn’t just me.

I skimmed several reviews, and it’s clear that the twist lost way more than just me. Some people found their way back, others didn’t. As an author, you want your twists to be innovative. To be world-changing and genuinely shocking. But this is evidence that a twist can in fact be TOO BIG.

Moreover, this twist helps set up a few more later on. Mostly they were the regular enjoyable kind, but there were two in particular that I have to harp on. The first, was… misleading. At best. Without spoiling anything, let’s just say that we were told one thing throughout the text, but when approaching the end we find that, no, the characters had it wrong the entire time, and we shouldn’t’ve taken it for granted. This annoyed me, but I got over it. The next one was more egregious. A certain… detail that we were told the entire time was just untrue. A complete lie. It wasn’t a major detail, but it’s one I noted that was repeated enough as fact that I accepted it as canon. When it turned out to be entirely untrue I was understandably upset. That said, the final few twists, when they come, succeed in once again upending the story.

But for that one point where everything rebelled and kicked me out of total immersion, this story ruled me. I lived it, breathed it, and never wanted it to end. It drank me in so completely that I binged the book in a day. It’s not my favorite Pattison thriller, but it’s still a damn entertaining read. Yes, I had some issues with the conclusion. But the ending itself was pretty amazing, to be honest. Yes, I had that one part I almost couldn’t wrap my head around. But I did—just took some time—weren’t even any holes in it (not there). Yeah, it wasn’t perfect. But any book that had me tear through it at such a pace, was so unputdownable, and didn’t completely screw up the ending is going to get a recommendation from me!

2 thoughts on “Friends Don’t Lie – by Nell Pattison (Review)

  1. I have a love hate relationship with twists, so I totally get it. My favorite twists to date are in Daisy Darker and The Last House on Needless Street, and all other twists are judged by those two😁

    Like

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