Published by Atria Books (7.20.2023)
Genres: Adult, Thriller
Format: Audiobook, 384 pages
Length: 10 hours, 13 minutes
Narrator: Alix Dunmore, Ayesha Antoine, Dominic Thorburn, Elliot Fitzpatrick, Jenny Walser, Kristin Atherton, Lisa Jewell, Louise Brealey, Nicola Walker, Thomas Judd
Celebrating her forty-fifth birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summers crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, it turns out, is also celebrating her forty-fifth birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins.
A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.
Josie’s life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can’t quite resist the temptation to keep making the podcast. Slowly she starts to realise that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it, Josie has inveigled her way into Alix’s life—and into her home.
But, as quickly as she arrived, Josie disappears. Only then does Alix discover that Josie has left a terrible and terrifying legacy in her wake, and that Alix has become the subject of her own true crime podcast, with her life and her family’s lives under mortal threat.
Who is Josie Fair? And what has she done?
Holy shit, this book was insane!!
I honestly have no idea, even after finishing, what was actually true and what wasn’t. The title is apt because there were so many lies you never knew what to believe! I’ve been seeking out more mystery thrillers lately, but I don’t have much experience with psychological thrillers. I ended up loving it because it totally fucks with your head. It started off a little slow, but once crazy things start happening, it grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go. It was a wild ride for sure!
I never knew what was going to happen next. I went into this book pretty much blind – I knew it was a thriller and that it had high ratings (including a high rating from my book twin Christy) and that was about it. It started off innocuous enough – two women connecting over a shared birthday, finding out they were born in the same hospital, on the same day. Josie was intrigued by Alix and vice/versa, and Josie asked Alix to do a podcast on her life.
And that was where shit started deteriorating. At first Josie seemed innocent, but as she interacted more and more with Alix, you just got this dark vibe. Like things were spiraling out of control toward a horrible end. (Not to mention the snippets of podcast hinting that something really horrible happened.) Red flags were popping up left and right, and shit just got weirder and weirder. Josie was obviously fucked up – the stealing of Alix’s personal items was creepy AF, and she was clearly manipulative – but once she started telling her backstory, she garnered sympathy. Of course she would be fucked up after what she’d been through.
But then other stories came to light. View Spoiler »Josie had been lying all along, fabricating scenarios that never actually happened to paint herself a victim and her husband a villain. First of all, the fact that she was 16 and married a 43 year old was fucking gross, dude. I was appalled by the whole grooming thing and the pedophilia. But how much was actually true? We found out that her husband didn’t actually have sex with the girl that went missing, and that he was manipulated into the marriage by Josie herself. But I still have to wonder – how could a grown ass man be manipulated into marrying a child?! That part was so strange. « Hide Spoiler
THAT ENDING!! View Spoiler »IT WAS THE DAUGHTER(S) THAT KILLED THE GIRL WHO WENT MISSING?! What?!?! How did the daughter (or both daughters) accidentally kill her?? It’s from Josie’s perspective when it’s revealed that she was supposedly protecting her daughters by taking the blame for the murder, but we know she creates her own reality. So was it real or not real?! « Hide Spoiler I was left with my mouth gaping when this was over. This book was an absolute and total mindfuck and I definitely recommend it. If you do pick this up, I urge you to consider the audio because it’s AMAZING. It’s full cast, with snippets of the podcast interspersed throughout, and it brought this story to life. Especially Erin’s narrator – I actually had to slow it down to 1.5x speed (I listen at 2x) in her chapter and turn it way up because she was so soft-spoken. But holy shit, the emotion of her POV was incredibly engaging. The way she audibly swallowed, took shaky breaths, and paused to gather herself? *chef’s kiss* It felt so real! Actually, the audiobook was done so superbly that it felt like this was a true story and the characters were real.
Writing style: 4.5/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5