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Listen for the Lie
(Review, Chapter Summary & Spoilers)

By Amy Tintera



Book review and synopsis for Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera, an entertaining and twisty mystery about a true crime podcast focused on a woman who everyone believes got away with the murder of her best friend.

Synopsis

In Listen for the Lie, in a small town in Texas, Lucy is found wandering the streets covered in blood while the body of her best friend is discovered nearby. A police investigation doesn't find enough evidence to charge her, but the town decides that she's guilty.

Five years later, Ben Owens, a charming and popular true crime podcaster makes the murder the focal point of the newest season of his show Listen for the Lie, shining a light on Lucy's status as a murder suspect once again.

Lucy ends up going back to her hometown while Ben comes into town to investigate as well. Sparks fly as the two meet, but neither knows that truths this investigation will bring to light...

(The Full Plot Summary is also available, below)

Full Plot Summary

Ending & Explanations
See the Questions, Ending and Explanations
Chapter-by-Chapter Summary
See the Chapter-by-Chapter Summary of Listen for the Lie
Quick Plot Summary

Two-paragraph version: Lucy is found wandering the streets with a brain injury and with her best friend Savannah's blood on her dress. Savannah is dead. Lucy is suspected of the murder, but not charged, and she has no memory of that night. Five years later, Ben, a true crime podcaster, features the murder on his show, and he comes to her town to investigate. Lucy suspects the real killed might be her abusive ex-husband Matt. It's revealed that Lucy and Savannah had a plan to kill him, but Lucy didn't want to tell people that because it could reveal that Savannah once got away with murdering a guy who assaulted her. (Lucy and Ben become romantically involved.)

When Lucy's memory returns, she remembers that they abandoned the plan. Instead, Lucy rejected the advances of Emmett, a guy who had been in love with her since childhood, and he attacked her. Savannah died defending her. Emmett then told everyone that Lucy killed Savannah. In present day, Lucy confronts Emmett, and he's arrested. Ben tells everyone who the real killer is.


Five years ago, Lucy Chase was found wandering the streets barefoot with blood on her dress and a head injury while her best friend Savannah's body was found nearby. Lucy was suspected of, but not charged, for the murder. Now, Ben Owens, a true crime podcaster, is covering the murder on his show, Listen for the Lie. Lucy's grandmother convinces Lucy to come home while Ben will be in town investigating, hoping that Ben can clear her name.

The murder took place at night after a wedding, on a small road leading away from the estate where the wedding was held. Because of the traumatic brain injury, Lucy has no memory of what happened that day -- either during the wedding or the night after. All she remembers is stumbling around in the street the next morning.

Everyone in town believes Lucy did it, including her parents and ex-husband, Matt. The only ones who believe she's innocent are Lucy's grandmother Beverly and her childhood friend Emmett. Ben seems open to the possibility that anyone could have done it, and things soon turn romantic between Lucy and Ben as they investigate the murder together.

As Ben covers the story, he learns that Lucy's ex-husband Matt claimed that he went straight home that night but was actually seen leaving his house. Lucy also hasn't told people, but Matt was abusive. Lucy also remembers kissing someone who wasn't Matt at the wedding.

It's revealed that Lucy and Savannah had a plan to kill Matt. Savannah dropped out of college her freshman year after being assaulted by a guy. She killed that guy and got away with it. Lucy suspects that perhaps she and Savannah came across Matt that night which resulted her death, but she's reluctant to share this theory if she's not sure in case it leads to revealing Savannah's secret.

Lucy eventually remembers that she ended up kissing Emmett at the wedding. Savannah had seen and suggested they leave. She'd said they should focus on killing Matt instead, but Lucy finally told her she wasn't really going to do that. Instead, they talked about moving to Los Angeles.

However, Emmett follows them out and confesses his love for Lucy. Lucy tells him it's not going to happen and he gets angry. He attacks her, but Savannah defends Lucy. There's an altercation and Emmett eventually kills Savannah and bashes Lucy in the head with a hammer. Matt comes upon them, and Emmett tells him that he saw Lucy kill Savannah. Matt then tells Lucy's father, who soon tells Lucy's father.

In present day, Lucy sees Emmett get physically violent with his current partner and it triggers her memory of the events. She confronts Emmett and fights him, and Ben sees part of the fight. Lucy tells Ben and the police what really happened. Emmett is arrested, and Ben ends his show by revealing the true killer. The book ends with Lucy and Ben making plans to get together in Los Angeles.

For more detail, see the full Chapter-by-Chapter Summary.

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Book Review

Listen for the Lie is set in a small town in Texas where everyone thinks that Lucy, our protagonist who may or may not also be a murderer, once killed her best friend. There wasn’t enough evidence though, and she was never charged.

Five years later, Ben, a charming true crime podcaster, comes into town covering the story. His podcast blows up Lucy’s life as everyone’s attention is on her as a suspected murderer once again. Soon, Ben and Lucy are both investigating the circumstances of that night, trying to find the truth of the events that led to Lucy staggering down the road, barefoot and covered in blood, while her best friend’s body had just been discovered nearby.

Interestingly enough, Ben and Lucy’s relationship is a little flirtatious and kind of fun. I’ve read a lot of mystery-thrillers in my time, and I have to say very few of them are also a little funny (without being campy) and almost … a little romantic. I was trying to read some romances last week and neither of them, quite frankly, managed to capture the same fun, flirty vibes that I found in this book.

The beginning of the book feels like a solid, but standard mystery-thriller, but when Ben and Lucy meet, this book really hits its stride. I found myself rooting for these two crazy kids and truly had to stop myself to be like, wait … hold on … wrong genre. There’s a 50-50 chance either or both of them will turn out to be (a) cold blooded killer(s) because, you know, that’s how it goes with mystery-thrillers. So, root for them at your own peril. Obviously, I won’t divulge how that plays out.

Mostly, I love that this manages to be a true mystery-thriller with atmosphere and tension but isn’t depressing.

I feel like around the time The Girl in the Window came out, there was just such a long, long, interminable string of mystery-thrillers where it seemed like every other protagonist in these books was an alcoholic that would just constantly wallow in depression throughout the entire book. It’s so tedious. I understand why there’s an inclination to make murder mysteries have a really sad and depressing vibe, but any Agatha Christie fan knows that you don’t have to write humorless, desolate books to write great mysteries.

In terms of the substance of the story, I felt like it seemed like a more complete story with an actual narrative it wants to tell (sorry I’m being intentionally vague here, since I also don’t want to spoil the plot) than some mysteries I’ve read — the point is, it’s not just random twists and turns. I liked enjoyed the overall story arc.

Some Criticisms

So, none of this detracted from my enjoyment of this book, but I’d say that the plot gets a little muddled and unfocused in the middle. There’s a lot of everyone is sleeping with everyone, everyone secretly hated everyone, no one told anyone anything and it feels like a little bit of a free-for-all.

Also, a handful of the interactions between the characters didn’t make a ton of sense to me, like people making accusations or threatening people etc and then just acting like nothing happened the next time they speak.

These things weren’t dealbreakers for me. I guess I was in it more to be entertained and enjoy the ride and not think too hard about it.

Read it or Skip it?

I thought this was a fun mystery to read. The premise is provocative, and the story twists and turns as mystery-thrillers tend to do. I’m honestly so encouraged at how many solid mysteries and thrillers I’ve read lately.

I would eagerly recommend Listen for the Lie to any murder mystery fan who has been hoping for something non-depressing. It’s a fun book. I think as long as you aren’t someone who will get too caught up in the particulars of some of the details, this one is easy to just have fun with.

See Listen for the Lie on Amazon.

P.S. For a must-read psychological thriller that I really loved, but for VERY different reasons, see my review of None of this is True.

Listen for the Lie Audiobook Review

Narrator: January LaVoy & Will Damron
Length: January LaVoy & Will Damron

The audiobook is well produced. The podcast parts all sound like podcast clips, complete with bits of intro and outro music. Very listenable.

I think the narrator does a pretty good job here. It’s not perfect, but basically there’s an internal voice that pops up from time to time that I think would be very difficult for anyone to do without coming off a tiny bit cheesy. So, I think the narrator does a good job considering that this doesn’t seem like the easiest book to narrate.

I listened to about half of this and read about half of this. I found the story easy to follow over audiobook. I’d say audiobook is a pretty good way to experience this book if you’re looking for one!

Hear a sample of the Listen for the Lie audiobook on Libro.fm.

Ending & Explanations

See the Questions, Ending & Explanations for Listen for the Lie

Book Excerpt

Read the first pages of Listen for the Lie



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