Seven Lies By Elizabeth Kay
The Best part of this whole dumpster fire is that apparently, and someone correct me if I am wrong, Elizabeth Kay is a pen name for an international publicist who decided to write Seven Lies. In fact, I believe (but again someone clarify if I’m wrong), one of the marketing points was that she knows the business and would do anything to succeed. That is how Seven Lies, Elizabeth Kay’s debut book, came into the world. Unfortunately, since I didn’t bring it into the world, I cannot take Seven Lies out of the world
Since this is going to the land of salt lakes, and it is an Adult Psychological Thriller, I feel the need to be very thorough in my defense of why. Some are easier to do than others, depending on the narrative structure of the book. Seven Lies is not one of the easier books. For that reason, this will be one of the rare times I provide the summary.
I hope this will assure you that my vagueness is not an attempt to duck out of the defense of my opinion, (Seven Lies doesn’t release until 6/16), nor am I spoiling anything. Those who have read my site long enough know that I don’t deal in spoilers unless there is a very clear warning.
Thank you to Pamela Dorman Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay Summary:
It all started with just one little lie. But we all know that it never ends there. Because, of course, one lie leads to another…
Growing up, Jane and Marnie shared everything. They knew the other’s deepest secrets. They wouldn’t have had it any other way. But when Marnie falls in love, things begin to change. Because Jane has a secret: she loathes Marnie’s wealthy, priggish husband.
So, when Marnie asks if she likes him, Jane tells her first lie. After all, even best friends keep some things to themselves. If she had been honest, then perhaps her best friend’s husband might still be alive today… For, of course, it’s not the last lie. In fact, it’s only the beginning… Seven Lies is Jane’s confession of the truth—her truth
What I liked
- …Oh, it was set in London
- …Oh, Jane’s husband seemed really awesome
- Damn it. He gets killed by a drunk driver… and that isn’t a spoiler because it happens in the first 8% of the book. The foreshadowing starts in the first 4-5%.
- So yeah. Actually, that sucked.
I almost feel like Kay sat down and legit thought that if she took a bunch of despicable characters, and threw them into a horrific plot that had a horrible ending, everyone would love it. And reading that sentence, I can see how that could possibly work.
This is not that book. This is not those characters, and this is not that plot.
What you have here is a bunch of despicable characters that are miserable, sad, delusional, pompous, co-dependent, passive-aggressive, completely selfish, and/or a mix of these lovely traits. Throw that into a blender with a barely meh plot, which ends in such a vile, horrific, disgusting, and stupid reveal that I was both dumb stricken, and repulsed, simultaneously.
Look. If you are going to swing for the fences on the shock and awe scale of endings? Don’t waste it on something so asinine.
At least make the ending twisty, juicy, and brilliant. Make it one that readers feel guilty for relishing in because they know they should know better but can’t help themselves. Or, here’s a thought! Make the entire book worthy of such an ending.
Half The Lies You Tell Ain’t True
There is this amazing song by Stereophonics called Half the Lies You Tell Ain’t True. I mention this not because of the story itself but because of the structure, and mess of it.
I wouldn’t eve scream plot holes. Although, there are a number of convenient incidents that allow essential events to take place. If this was an incredible book, I probably wouldn’t even mention them. Even if I did, they aren’t so egregious, as to detract from the story. So, no, that isn’t what I mean by Half the Lies You Tell Ain’t True.
A great Psychological Thriller
like no, wait. Let me back up a second. This is actually two separate issues.
- I am a sucker for the unreliable narrator or anything that falls within that scope. So, nothing in this section is a criticism of that type of narration. Although, to be fair to the unreliable narrator, as a point of view/structure. I am not even sure that is what Seven Lies is aiming for. I don’t know what the hell it was aiming for. A memoir, a confessional? Jane is very aware of every action, motive, and the exact feeling she has for doing all she does. So, if this is supposed to be an unreliable narrator? Then this is a whole new twist called the very reliable narrator who is a psychopathic bitch… but … I don’t even know. That’s just how bad it all is. Either way, per the summary, it is very much a confessional. But that, even on itself, is so poorly executed that.. no wait.. let me stop before, spoilers.
- OK. Back to the point I started to make. A great Psychological Thriller makes you want to beat the author, so to speak. You want to figure out the big reveals. Sometimes you are sure you have beat them, in fact. Then the author jumps out is like, FOOLED YOU! You then proceed to beat your head against the floor, because when you go back through the book? All the signs were RIGHT THERE. That is brilliant work.
Like when I read The Split by S.J Bolton. It got to a point where I was literally taking notes. I was determined to beat Bolton.
I did not beat Bolton.
I’m not sure exactly at what point this happens. Not too far in. With Seven Lies, it was around the 30% mark that clues started to drop. Obvious clues. They weren’t even well embedded. It was set-up in a very obvious way that just didn’t add up. When the first one popped-up, my interest piqued, of course. The second one came, and I sat and thought for quite a bit. Then, I caught the third one and I was really baffled. But, not in the good way. I was just sitting there thinking, this makes NO SENSE on any level of reality.
I don’t know who she is confessing to (and that isn’t a spoiler either because it is just like Ruth Ware’s Turn of the Key– but not at all like Turn of the Key because that book was PHENOMENAL). You just know from the beginning that Jane is confessing to SOMEONE.
She promised them the truth and she is giving it to them. However, the clues don’t add-up, in the context of the characters in the story, and who who Jand could possibly be confessing to.
I never actually wanted to DNF it. Although, looking back, I’m not sure why. I did, on many occasions just want to jump to the end and find out who Jane was talking to, because it was driving me insane.
My gut was screaming that this was going to be stupid, ridiculous. And it was even worse than that. I think I figured if I quelled my curiosity, maybe I could enjoy the rest of the book.
That would not have worked.
There isn’t much more to say about it. It is, as we would say in Brooklyn Italian/Southern Italian slang, Stunod. On top of that (as I’ve said before), it is gross, disgusting and vile. Even if you liked the rest of the book, the ending would have, I believe, killed it for you.
Speaking of Brooklyn Italian/Southern Italian slang. It gave me ajita (a feeling of agitation or stomach upset or heartburn).
Oh and: Stunod is Southern Italian dialect for “stupid” or having one’s head in the clouds and not paying attention, from the Italian “stonato” which means, “out of tune”.
I figured if nothing else, you should get something out of this review other than not to read Seven Lies because there are many phenomenal Adult Psychological Thrillers that have or will be coming out this spring/summer. Keep up with them in the Spring/Summer Fling 2020. This way I can save you this kind of pain.
5 thoughts on “Seven Lies By Elizabeth Kay Is All About What A Tangled Web We Weave… So Let Me Untangle It For You… The Truth Is, Just Don’t.”
Oh my, I loved this review, I had quite a few giggles while reading. Sorry to hear the book wasn’t good though. 🙁
Thank you! Yeah stay away from the book, lol. The Swap– now that is one to go for LOL
Thank You for your review.
I was interested in this book because I heard the massive hype machine surrounding it. I have not read it. Elizabeth Kay is a known professional within the publishing world in London. So her manuscript did not come out of a slush pile. She has one of the top agents in London and got a massive advance for this. I haven’t seen this type of hype on a book in a long time. Word of mouth is ultimately what makes a book a massive success, and so far the reviews on this are so so or equal good-bad. It all comes out in the wash.
I simply don’t understand why books like this are called “Thrillers” . Lee Child, Michael Connelly, and James Patterson write “Thrillers”. This book apparently has the damaged female psychological unreliable narrator thing going. I’m guessing the audience for this book is female. I’m a mainstream thriller reader and I don’t want to read this type of book.
The book world is funny. Stieg Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo series contained long rambling exposition (telling) and an odd plot structure that would go against any writing book ever written, yet it sold what 70 million copies of the trilogy. Although his main character is unforgettable. Are Elizabeth Kay’s characters unforgettable? Stieg Larsson’s manuscript also did not come out of a slush pile BTW.
Gone Girl, Girl in the Train, isn’t this going in the direction of the vampire genre? Just overplayed? I guess we’ll see what the sales are on Seven Lies in six months or so.
I appreciate your thoughts and I think there are a couple different things going on here.
The books you are referencing in the beginning, aren’t (in the states and I’m in the states) aren’t considered psychological thrillers. We have domestic/espionage/military/political categories that those authors tend to fall under.
So, this is a completely different sub genre under thriller than those. These are more Ruth Ware (which I mentioned with Turn of the Key in this review) and some of the others you mentioned like Gone Girl. The issue here is that she isn’t an unreliable narrator. She knows exactly what happened and is telling you that story. Its just a badly written book.
I enjoy unreliable narrators. I enjoy suspense/ psychological thrillers. They do tend to be dominated by female main characters, I’m not sure why- there are male main characters and male writers that write bother male and female characters. And a lot of them are well written. You can look at my reviews for Turn of the Key, The Swap (comes out next week), The Split, Eight Perfect Murders (written by a male with a male main character), The Chain by Andrew McKinty, Dear Wife/Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle.
There is a lot of them coming out over the summer that I am really looking forward to and they tend to either completely crash and burn (also see the Guest List by Lisa Foley, which is guaranteed to hit the best seller list next week, and I trashed it- hated it) or their fantastic.
So on the one hand, you just might not like this genre, which is fine. I can’t read space operas or romance. Just don’t like them lol. In YA, or Adult. That’s just preference and that’s cool. But even within this genre, I just think it is a really bad example of this genre.
As a final thought- I don’t go after authors ever. The only reason I mentioned her status as an industry person in the first paragraph, is because of it being in the marketing materials. So, that made it fair game to me. And I don’t think I did it in a way that was harmful or mean or cruel. I think I was fair and honest. And if it wasn’t in the marketing materials, I would never have said anything.
Thanks for stopping by! Hope you come by again!