Book Review: Telling Lies

Author: Cathi Stoler

Publisher: Camel Press, 2011

Genre: Thrillers

My Rating: B

A Summary of the book (from the publisher):

When a chance encounter in Florence’s Uffizi Museum plunges Women Now editor Laurel Imperiole and private investigator Helen McCorkendale into an investigation of missing persons and stolen Nazi art, the women find themselves ensnared in a deadly maze of greed and deceit.

Could the man Laurel bumped into have been Jeff Sargasso, an art dealer and friend who perished in the World Trade Center on 9/11? Was it possible he was still alive and had disappeared without a trace?

As she delves deeper, Laurel leaves the truth behind, telling lies to [her boyfriend] about her actions and the liaison she’s formed with Lior Stern, an Israeli Mossad agent with an agenda of his own. One lie leads to another, entangling everyone and everything the women encounter, including murder and the painting at the heart of the affair.

My thoughts: 

This was a good thriller. Sophisticated is the word that keeps coming to my mind. I liked that it skipped between New York and the continent. I especially liked the descriptions of Italy. 

The plot was intricate and fast paced. I’ve often thought the collapse of the twin-towers and disappearance of so many bodies could be used effectively as part of a mystery book. The author did it well. (Please note: I am not making light of the tragedy of 9/11. I’m only suggesting the use of a historical event as part of a story.)

The only part of the book that caused me to bring my rating down to a B was the main character. She didn’t feel real to me. I thought her a little dumb although she’s supposed to be  a smart magazine editor. She blundered about and seemed rude. I really wanted to, but I just couldn’t like her.

I don’t see too many of this sort of novel around much any more. That’s a shame. I think many readers will like this kind of multi-country, sophisticated intrigue. It could be those books are out there and I’m just not paying attention.  I hope the author will consider a second novel similar to this one. Cathi Stoler is a good writier. But, next time I want her to give me a more likable main character.

Check your local library or local bookstore for a copy of this book. Telling Lies is also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)

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8 Responses to Book Review: Telling Lies

  1. I only rarely like a book when I don’t like the main character, no matter how much it may show good writing or characterization. I just need to like someone that I’m spending time with!

  2. Barbara says:

    The plot seems to prove my old saying that no one has a good enough memory to be a successful liar. I’m with Jill though. I need to care about the main character.

  3. Margot, thanks for the review. I like your term – “sophisticated intrigue” – it immediately brings to mind the image of an “Oceans 11” type movie and that kind of vibe. An elegant thriller. We appreciate your hosting a stop on the blog tour!

  4. TheBookGirl says:

    I don’t read alot of thrillers so when I do, I want it to be something special — the fact that you found the main character to be somewhat lacking is reason enough for me to pass on this one.
    Thanks for the honest review 🙂

  5. It does seem that the protagonist of a book like this should be smart and sophisticated. I’m glad the book was so good!

  6. Belle Wong says:

    It sounds like an interesting read, although I generally can’t stick with a book when I don’t like the main character.

  7. Staci says:

    Sophisticated…..sounds interesting to me and I’m always looking for new authors/genres to add to my reading list!

  8. stacybuckeye says:

    Yea, a place I’ve actually been to (Uffiz Museum). I’m always looking for a good thriller and I love both New York and Italy so this one fits the bill. I’m curious to see if I’ll like the main character.

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