Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? How are your holidays going? Looking forward to 2023? The shepherd’s pie was absolutely delicious and our neighbors brought over some tamales colorados on Christmas eve, so we’ve been eating well the past couple of days. Mmm. Anyway! It’s the last Wednesday of the month (year!), so it’s book review time. I decided to go with a mystery. It’s not really a cozy, but it kind of is. There are a lot of the same tropes, but it has the feel of a regular old mystery. Only One Lie by Audrey J. Cole was released from Rainier Publishing (they have no website that I could find) on December 27th. As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it.
Only One Lie follows various points of view to tell the story of Vera, a newbie pilot whose husband is being shipped off to war, as she starts a job flying for the Ellis’, a super rich family whose youngest member has been kidnapped. Somehow, Vera gets tangled up in the family’s lies and deceit. Her life is in danger and the only way to save herself is to find the missing boy.
The plot is super standard. Kid gets taken. Kidnappers don’t show up to collect the ransom. No one can find the kid until the nosy woman shows up and gets talked into helping despite her better judgment. Various antics ensue to drag the story into a novel. Kid is found and everything is wrapped up in a neat little bow. But the ending was super far fetched. It’s explained vaguely away by the fact that Vera’s dad is a cop, but it made no sense that she didn’t even get investigated for what she did. It killed the plausibility of the whole thing. And I was kind of disappointed that something better wasn’t done with the baddie. It was set up where they had the potential to be something other than a stereotypical rich dick, but nah. It was sad. But it wasn’t a bad story, just kind of meh. I never considered not finishing the book, so it couldn’t have been horrible while I was reading it.
The characters were nothing special. The good guys (and gals) were pretty perfect people and the bad guys (and gals) were either rich, corrupt, or both. It really reminded me of that one Danielle Steel novel I reviewed. Granted, this book was so much better, but the character development was still lacking. The only one who seemed to grow at all was Priscilla and even she didn’t change much. I liked Vera, but she was still too perfect. It was annoying.
The writing itself was okay. It was really simplistic, like something I expect to find in middle grade books. I admit I was caught off guard by it, but it was an interesting choice. Bare bones and mostly easy vocabulary. It made for a smooth and quick read.
Ultimately, I wasn’t a fan of Only One Lie. After I put it down, I was just meh about it. The more I think about it though, the more I actively dislike it. I definitely won’t look for anything by Cole, but if something drops into my lap, I’d give it a shot since the writing was okay.
Overall, I gave it 2 out of 5 stars. When I finished it a week or so ago, I thought I would give it 3, but it just gets worse the more I think about it, so I feel like 2 is fair. If you enjoy Danielle Steel, you might like this book. If not, give it a miss.