“The only secrets are the secrets that keep themselves.” — George Bernard Shaw.

Family matters can often be complicated, especially when everyone is keeping their secrets tucked away in their pockets. Our latest read takes us to New Mexico where one woman hires a stranger to pretend to be her dead sister in order to gain her inheritance.

The Better Liar by Tanen Jones

In her debut novel, Tanen Jones pens a surprisingly twisted tale about the Voigt sisters, or at least the women claiming to be the Voigt sisters. When Leslie arrives in Vegas to only find her sister’s corpse, her mind jumps not to grief, but to concern as to how she’ll be able to get her inheritance. As Leslie ponders what to do now that she’s the only one left from her family, she meets Mary, a young aspiring actress who is also in a bit of a jam. After Leslie realizes that Mary bears a striking resemblance to her dead and long disappeared sister, she convinces Mary to pretend to be Robin so they can get the inheritance from her father’s will. With Mary trying to dodge some problems of her own, she agrees to step into a stranger’s life and travels to New Mexico with Leslie in the hopes that the money will better both their lives. While the two women wait for the checks to arrive, they can’t help but reflect on how they’ve both allowed a complete stranger into their lives.

This roller coaster of a tale exposes long held family secrets and examines how difficult it can be to truly know a person. Jones litters the pages with red herrings to keep readers guessing about how the story will end until the final page.

From the book jacket…

Robin Voigt is dead. If Leslie had arrived at her sister’s cramped Las Vegas apartment just hours earlier, this would have been their first reunion in a decade. In the years since Robin ran away from home as a teenager, Leslie has stayed in New Mexico, taking care of their dying father even as she began building a family of her own. But when their father passed away, Leslie received a rude awakening: She and Robin would receive the inheritance he left them together—or not at all. Now her half of the money may be beyond her grasp. And unbeknownst to anyone, even her husband, Leslie needs it desperately. When she meets a charismatic young woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Robin—and has every reason to leave her past behind—the two make a reckless bargain: Mary will impersonate Robin for a week in exchange for Robin’s half of the cash. But neither realizes how high the stakes will become when Mary takes a dead woman’s name.

If you enjoy…

For readers looking to sink into crazy plot twists, consider perusing “A Simple Favor” by Darcey Bell. Mommy blogger Stephanie begins to investigate when her friend Emily fails to pick up her son from a playdate.