The best word I can come up with to describe Believe Me is: Twisted. I mean that in every definition you can created.
I read most of this waiting at the airport and on the plane back from RWA. I finished it today and my brain is still working through...well, all of it.
A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.
Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions.
The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.
Then the game changes.
When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.
Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap?
But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?
I loved JP Delaney's The Girl Before (you can read that review here.) When I saw Believe Me available on Netgalley, I didn't even bother reading the blurb before I requested it. I knew it was going to be an intriguing ride, and I was not disappointed.
It is a slow-burn, who-done-it mixed with poetry from Charles Baudelaire (who I had never heard of, but WOW, dude had some issues!) as well scenes that read like a script.
I mean, Claire is an actress, after all.
Remember that. The whole time you're reading this book. Keep that in mind!
If you follow my reviews, you know that I am not a fan of the "Unreliable Narrator." In fact, I call them URNs for a reason. There was a section in Believe Me that I thought had crossed unapologetically into that territory, and I was about to be LIVID. Then it took another turn, and another, and another, until I settled back in and trusted the character again.
But should I have trusted that character? That's where my mind is still turning.
I would recommend Believe Me to my dark mystery-loving friends who love a cat-and-mouse style puzzle.
For my friends who prefer more romance than suspense, talk to me before you check this one out.
Finally, a warning that this book is very dark in some parts. Not graphically violent or overly sexual, but dark enough that certain readers would appreciate a trigger warning.
Since it is my firm policy to avoid posting spoilers, feel free to message me if you'd like a few hints to make a proper decision.