ONE PERFECT LIE by Lisa Scottoline
Best selling author Lisa Scottoline has all the makings of a “perfect” story in her new book ONE PERFECT LIE. There is a mysterious character who seems to be on an evil mission in a small Pennsylvania town. There is the hint of a romance with one of the single mothers in this town. And there also several families that hide dark secrets in their closets. This is the stuff about which amazing stories are written. But not in this case because Scottoline has given us only half a book.
In order to have given us a complete book Scottoline would have had to flesh out her characters. The main person in the story is Chris Brennan/Curt Abbott. You know from the start that everything about him from his name to his real career is a fraud. He has come to Central Valley, PA seemingly to use one of the high school’s baseball team to help him in a domestic terrorism plot of some kind. Since he is living a lie it is difficult to understand exactly what kind of man he is.
One of the ballplayers he considers to be of use to him in his scheme is Jordan Larkin. This young man is being raised by a single mother named Heather. As Chris tries to get close to Jordan he also finds himself in touch with Heather, and he likes it. This is not part of his plot so he tries to tamp down his feelings, but they are there.
The relationship with Heather is never developed, nor are the stories of the Kostis and Sematov families. They too have young men on the baseball team who Chris is considering for part of his plot. The full description of their stories beg to be played out in detail but there is no time and no room in this book for Scottoline to do so.
It is rare for me to want a book to be longer. Most writers today have a tendency to go for filler in making their basic plot stretch to a certain number of pages. This is not Scottoline’s problem. She does not have any “filler” at all in her story. She gives us a nice peek into the lives of her characters but ends their stories because her basic plot ends.
Scottoline is the master of inventive plots and relatable characters. She has presented this to us over and over in her past books. Maybe we can get a sequel to ONE PERFECT LIE which will give us more details about these characters and also extend the plot to say how all of the families were ultimately affected.
You know it is a good story and good writing when a reviewer wants more, not less. That isn’t the norm.
ONE PERECT LIE is published by St Martin’s Press It contains 368 pages and sells for $27.99.
Jackie K Cooper