EXCERPT: She felt tears begin, felt their dampness on her face, and she wiped them away with the back of her hand, furious, and terrified. She wanted her mother, she wanted her father, she wanted someone, anyone, to come help her and fix this, and take care of her and tell her what to do. She pressed her palms to her face, trying to hold it all in and make it go away and when she opened her eyes, Jem would be laughing at her. And she’d be so mad. Then she’d storm out of here and never see this idiot again.
She stared at him, ignoring her own tears now, willing him to be joking with her, some stupid insane boy joke, and she’d laugh, she promised she would. But Jem’s face, serene and still, and blood on his cheek, seemed to taunt her.
There could be no more wishful thinking. She had to do something.
She took a deep shuddering breath.
Okay. She knew what to do. First, stop being hysterical. Then call 911. She reached for the receiver of the black phone on the end table, the one that Jem had probably used to call his friend. She stopped, hand in midair, halfway to the phone.
Jem had called his friend. Who was on his way here. She felt her heart racing, constricting, making it difficult to breathe. Whoever showed up here – Jem’s friend or the ambulance people, or whoever – would find her here in this apartment.
What if he even died?
ABOUT ‘HER PERFECT LIFE’: Everyone knows Lily Atwood—and that may be her biggest problem. The beloved television reporter has it all—fame, fortune, Emmys, an adorable seven-year-old daughter, and the hashtag her loving fans created: #PerfectLily. To keep it, all she has to do is protect one life-changing secret.
Lily has an anonymous source who feeds her story tips—but suddenly, the source begins telling Lily inside information about her own life. How does he—or she—know the truth?
Lily understands that no one reveals a secret unless they have a reason. Now she’s terrified someone is determined to destroy her world—and with it, everyone and everything she holds dear.
How much will she risk to keep her perfect life?
MY THOUGHTS: There is no such thing as a perfect life, no matter what we see on social media. But, to all her followers and fans, that is what TV star Lily Atwood has, a myth perpetuated by her sycophantic producer, Greer. As long as Lily is adored and successful, Greer has job security. But there are things about Lily that not even Greer knows. In fact, there’s a lot about Lily that Greer doesn’t know. Only Greer doesn’t know that she doesn’t know. At least not until the mysterious ‘Mr Smith’, source of some of their most successful stories, puts her in the picture. But ‘Mr Smith’ has his own agenda. He is a master manipulator.
has skeletons in her closet. Things she is torn about. Does she want her sister back in her life if she can find her, or would finding Cassie put everything she holds dear in danger?
Lily spends her life exposing other people’s secrets and misdemeanors. She is focused; on her career, her daughter. In order to protect her secrets, she never lets anyone get close to her. So how is she going to feel, and what is she going to do when her past, her secrets, are in danger of being exposed?
I was very ambivalent about Lily’s character. She comes across as hard boiled, but daughter Lily is her Achilles heel.
One thing struck me as very odd – she doesn’t actually do any work whatsoever at any point in this novel! And come to think of it, Greer doesn’t do that much either.
Despite several stupid decisions on both their parts, Her Perfect Life is a twisty mystery. What happened to Cassie? Is she alive somewhere? If she is, why hasn’t she contacted her baby sister? After all, Lily’s not exactly hard to find. Or is she dead, her body hidden by her killers? And does Lily really want to know? After all, once you know something, it’s difficult to unknow.
The chapters are short and sharp, and are told from the points of view of Lily, Greer, and Cassie (retrospective). There are a lot of surprises, one of which is absolutely jaw-dropping. I felt sucker-punched!
This is a mostly tense, and definitely twisty thriller. The characters decisions aren’t always rational, but whose are when under pressure, and there are perceived threats to a loved one?
As I said, mostly tense. There were a few places I found repetitive. But only a few. I liked Her Perfect Life, a lot. But I didn’t love it like The First to Lie.
I: @hankpryan @macmillanusa
#contemporaryfiction #crime #familydrama #mystery #suspense #thriller
THE AUTHOR: Hank Phillippi Ryan is an American investigative reporter for Channel 7 News on WHDH-TV, a local television station in Boston, Massachusetts. She is also an author of mystery novels.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillipi Ryan for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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