STARRED REVIEW
June 23, 2015

An author with everything to lose

By Sascha Arango

Most readers probably imagine their favorite author as thoughtful and deep—someone bursting with insight into life and empathy for all creation. From the outside, that’s what Henry Hayden appears to be. Modest despite the five-and-counting bestsellers that bear his name, he seems to be devoted to his wife, loyal to his friends and eager to sign books for the fans who travel to his remote village just to meet him. But he’s a fraud: Every word of his novels was written by his publicity-shy wife, Martha.

Share this Article:

Most readers probably imagine their favorite author as thoughtful and deep—someone bursting with insight into life and empathy for all creation. From the outside, that’s what Henry Hayden appears to be. Modest despite the five-and-counting bestsellers that bear his name, he seems to be devoted to his wife, loyal to his friends and eager to sign books for the fans who travel to his remote village just to meet him. But he’s a fraud: Every word of his novels was written by his publicity-shy wife, Martha. His role is to take the credit—and enjoy the mansion, Maserati and mistresses that come with fame.

Then Henry’s girlfriend tells him she’s pregnant. Desperate to protect his perfect life, he commits a violent act that turns out to be a huge mistake. Now Martha is missing, and he must prove he’s not to blame. To do so, he’ll have to use his manipulative charms on an entire cast of amoral schemers—including Betty, the mistress who hopes to wed him; Gisbert, the sad-sack ex-schoolmate who can’t forgive Henry’s childhood cruelty; and Obradin, the brooding Serbian best friend who’d do anything in the name of loyalty. As the carnage piles up, the truth about Henry’s past threatens to close in on him.

The Truth and Other Lies is told from Henry’s point of view and incisively presents the mind of a narcissist—a man who can commit murder, yet pat himself on the back for “doing good and feeling good at the same time.” Henry’s cynical worldview provides flashes of mordant humor: Fearing arrest, he takes the scenic route to the morgue because “he wanted to make the most of his last opportunity to drive the Maserati.” And his schemes result in ironic plot complications that rival those of “his” acclaimed thrillers. Henry may lack literary talent, but as a criminal he authors an unfolding catastrophe that readers will relish.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

The Truth and Other Lies

The Truth and Other Lies

By Sascha Arango
Atria
ISBN 9781476795553

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres.

Sign Up

Sign up to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres!