They say the camera never lies.
But on this show, you can’t trust anything you see.
– A Game of Lies
[ About A Game of Lies ]
Stranded in the Welsh mountains, seven reality show contestants have no idea what they’ve signed up for.
Each of these strangers has a secret. If another player can guess the truth, they won’t just be eliminated – they’ll be exposed live on air. The stakes are higher than they’d ever imagined, and they’re trapped.
The disappearance of a contestant wasn’t supposed to be part of the drama. Detective Ffion Morgan has to put aside what she’s watched on screen, and find out who these people really are – knowing she can’t trust any of them.
And when a murderer strikes, Ffion knows every one of her suspects has an alibi . . . and a secret worth killing for.
[ My Review ]
A Game of Lies by Clare Mackintosh was published July 20th with Sphere. It is the second book in the crime fiction series featuring DC Ffion Morgan and is described as ‘a gripping, twisty thriller’.
Set in the Welsh mountains, A Game of Lies is a very current read focusing on reality television and the potential impact for contestants when things go wrong. With seven unsuspecting members of the public signing up for a new TV show called Exposure, they all thought it was a survival-of-the-fittest contest but it soon becomes clear that this is not the case when the producer drops a bombshell. Each competitor has been duped and a secret about them has been discovered. In order to survive the show they must expose the secret of a fellow contestant or face elimination, with their own secret revealed.
For most of these strangers, their secrets were never to see the light of day, with some more damaging than others. Now with fear in their hearts, the seven must compete in order to salvage their reputations. Once their secret is revealed on live TV, careers will be destroyed and lives will be impacted forever. Inevitably, there is an unease in the camp, and an anger, at being betrayed and coerced into something that was never on the original agenda. But their fear is the catalyst that the producer is hoping will give him the fame he deserves, with no compulsion that he is about to destroy many lives.
The show is recorded with a skeleton staff not too far from where DC Ffion Morgan lives. Ffion has no major interest in the show but watches snippets with her family, all clueless as to the drama unfolding off camera. When one of the contestants goes missing off the set, concerns are raised. The production company wants to keep it a secret but the family of the missing individual demand answers, leading to Ffion and her colleagues being sent on site to investigate. What is initially established as a missing persons case is soon upgraded to a search for a murderer when a dead body is discovered. Does someone have a vendetta? Is a contestant so afraid of their secret being revealed that murder seems the only solution?
DC Ffion Morgan and her colleagues begin to search for the truth. Exposure is getting plenty of views and making headlines but as the murder inquiry gets into full swing it starts to gain the wrong kind of exposure.
A Game of Lies had potential to be a very interesting read, delving into the very relevant subject of reality TV. I’m not a fan of this type of TV program, as I always find it quite disconcerting and voyeuristic, but I was intrigued to see how it would be handled in this novel. Many of the characters, unfortunately, were not particularly appealing and their behaviour was at times quite silly, given the circumstances, so I couldn’t really gel with the book. I haven’t read the first book in the series, so I expect this also had an impact on my overall experience. I did however enjoy Ffion Morgan. She is quite spirited and clearly doesn’t suffer fools gladly. I would love to see her involved in something a little grittier and with less flighty suspects. Overall, A Game of Lies is an easy read but it just didn’t quite hit the mark for me as a stand out read. Another case of the wrong reader for the wrong book perhaps?
[ Bio ]
Clare Mackintosh is a police officer turned crime writer, and the multi-award-winning author of six Sunday Times bestselling novels. Translated into forty languages, her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide and have spent a combined total of sixty-eight weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller chart. Clare lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.
X (Twitter) ~ @claremackint0sh