Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Never Tell a Lie-Hallie Ephron

Never Tell a Lie
Hallie Ephron
Morrow, Jan 2009, $24.95
ISBN 9780061567155

In their thirties Ivy and David Rose have been a couple since high school. Both are excited with Ivy being pregnant and the Victorian house they have bought in Bush Hills, Massachusetts where they plan to raise their children. However, they need to rid themselves of what was left behind by the previous owner, but rather than just junk, the Roses decide to have a yard sale.

A former high school classmate, pregnant Melinda White arrives to look over the items for sale. She almost breaks a mirror before buying something. David gives a tour of the house to the excited Melinda who insists she played there as a kid. Later no one notices when Melinda left, but that night Ivy looking out her window notices someone who looks like Melinda looking through the junk left for the morning.

Three days later the local police detectives visit the Roses to question them about the reported missing Melinda. Inside a trunk left out that night is her bloodied top and a bloody knife found in David’s truck A message by David on Melinda's answering machine further incriminates him in what the cops begin to think might be a murder though no body surfaces. Ivy trusts her David though she knows how he treated Melinda back in high school, but begins to believe someone is framing him as everything is too obvious, but who and how to prove it remains the questions.

Although the motive behind the disappearance and the evidence pointing at David has been used frequently in books and movies, Hallie Ephron uses them effectively with a terrific late spin that focuses on how far someone will go with out of control compulsive obsessive behavior. The cast is realistic especially the beleaguered Roses and Melinda; who is mostly developed by how others perceive her. Readers will enjoy this engaging dark psychological suspense investigative thriller.

Harriet Klausner