The Lies I Tell – Joel Hames


From the bestselling author of Dead North, a tense, claustrophobic psychological thriller perfect for fans of Lucy Foley, Claire McGowan and Clare Mackintosh.

Meet Polly. Meet Emily. Meet Belinda.

They’re all me. My name is Lisa and I’m an identity thief. If I’m not inside your system stealing your money, I’ve probably already stolen it. I’m your friend. I’m a thief. I’m gone.
I’m in control.

Only now, the tables have been turned. I’m in danger. My son is in danger. And I don’t know where that danger’s coming from.

Any friend.
Any enemy.
Any stranger.

Anyone from the past I’ve been trying to outrun for years.


About the Author: 

Joel Hames lives in rural Lancashire, England, with his wife and two daughters, where he works hard at looking serious and pretending to be a proper novelist.

After a varied career in London which involved City law firms, a picture frame warehouse, an investment bank and a number of market stalls (he has been known to cry out “Belgian chocolates going cheap over ‘ere” in his sleep), Joel relocated from the Big Smoke to be his own boss. As a result, he now writes what he wants, when he wants to (which by coincidence is when the rest of the family choose to let him).
Joel’s first novel, Bankers Town, was published in 2014, and The Art of Staying Dead followed in 2015. The novellas Brexecution (written and published in the space of ten days following the UK’s Brexit referendum, with half of the profits going to charity) and Victims were published in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

My Review:

OOOH, fancy a twisty, twisted twister of a tale?  Then I would definitely recommend The Lies I Tell – the latest standalone psychological thriller by Joel Hames – published on 5th February 2021 by Spellbound.

Lisa is our main narrator, although she is also know as Polly, Belinda, Emily or Penny.  She’s a devoted mother to 4 year old Simon, regularly attends AA meetings although she doesn’t drink, is an expert on computers, spends hours scrolling through Facebook and can spot a potential target a mile away.  Lisa has spent most of her adult life scamming people online, she’s built up a network of false identities and personalities to con the innocent out of money and doesn’t seem to care who she tricks as long as her and her son are safe.

The story is narrated in two different timelines – the present in which Lisa suddenly finds her life being turned upside down as someone appears to be stalking her and knows who she really is and the past in which Lisa slowly and painfully recounts her horrific and abusive childhood.

I was absolutely hooked by the end of the first chapter and was glued to my kindle.  I was torn between feeling sympathy towards Lisa/Penny and appalled at her attitude towards scamming innocent people.  There was absolutely no doubt about her devotion and love towards her little boy and it was heartbreaking to see how her past had affected her ability to mother her child without guilt.  The two timelines were equally as engaging and although her early life was heartbreaking to read it was also beautifully written.

The Lies I Tell is a really clever, twisty tale that is guaranteed to entertain readers and keep them guessing throughout.  5 stars from me.

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