Beautiful Lies is a silly book. Silly in the sense that the plot is mostly ridiculously contrived and way more convoluted than it needed to be. But who cares? When you read suspense thrillers only a couple things really matter. First of all- can we get behind the main character? Do we like her/him? Do we care what happens to them? Secondly, is there enough mystery/action/suspense/sex to keep the pages turning?
Beautiful Lies concerns the life of Ridley Jones, a successful, single freelance writer living in New York City. One day, on her way to meet her ex-boyfriend for breakfast, she saves a life and is thrust into the spotlight. Soon after, she gets a letter in the mail and everything she ever thought she knew about herself and her life is suddenly suspect.
There’s a lot of stuff going on in Unger’s book: doting parents who have pat answers for all Ridley’s questions, a junkie brother, a cloying ex-boyfriend, and a new love interest cut from romance 101 fabric.
Yet even as I questioned some of Ridley’s choices, even as I tried to piece together things that didn’t make a lick of sense, I kept turning those pages.
Perhaps it was Unger’s conversational style. Ridley tells the story herself and in some ways as a reader I felt as though she was telling me her story over a pot of tea on a long afternoon. That intense focus, though, also means as a reader you get to be more critical of the character and I have to admit that sometimes I did want to shake her.
Ultimately, though, you don’t read a book like Beautiful Lies for insight into the human condition. You read it for sheer fun and I had a lot of that.