Review: “Sliver of Truth,” Lisa Unger

Pros: Continues Ridley’s story
Cons: Too scattered and confusing; Breaks the fourth wall in odd places
Rating: 3 out of 5

Lisa Unger’s Sliver of Truth (Ridley Jones) (also available in a set with three other novels: Four Thrillers by Lisa Unger) follows her Beautiful Lies. In this volume, Ridley goes hunting for Max, the man she thought was her ‘uncle,’ who turned out to be her biological father. The closer she gets, the more she finds out about his horrible secrets and terrible acts. She can’t trust anyone–including her lover, Jake. Every government or agency involved is only interested in using her as bait to catch Max.

 

I can’t get past the structure of this book. Ridley gets knocked around and only seems to land in places accidentally. There are huge holes in the story that kinda-sorta get filled in later–too much later for me to really remember enough details. It’s like finding a partially-solved jigsaw puzzle, taking handfuls of pieces, and throwing them all around the apartment. Maybe some pieces fall under the couch so that you only find them a week later, when you’ve already given up on the puzzle. There’s only so long you can leave such big holes open before your readers start to think they just won’t get fixed, or get frustrated with being strung along. This is the fourth Lisa Unger book I’ve read, and this one doesn’t measure up to those others. Even taking notes as I read didn’t keep me from getting lost.

I felt enough frustration with Ridley that I started to actively dislike her, which isn’t something that you want to have happen with a protagonist. I have notes like, “Kidnapped? AGAIN?!” (Except that there may have been more swearing involved.) How is it that everyone seems to have known she’s Max’s daughter long before she finds out?

One detail I liked came early: her relationship with Jake is floundering. I was glad that even though they finished out the last book together, that didn’t mean keeping up a relationship was going to be easy or anything. While Ridley does pick up a new paramour, I had some trouble buying into the chemistry. Ridley keeps some emotional distance because he could be another enemy, and of course, she hasn’t known him for long. I wouldn’t feel surprised if a next book found the two floundering just like Ridley and Jake.

It’s good to find out more about the various characters, although it’s often impossible to be sure of anything in this book. If things hadn’t felt so muddled I think I would have enjoyed this book much more. On the other hand, there was a moment when Ridley was deep into paranoia about how everyone’s lying to her, and I looked up, rejoined the real world, and had a brief moment of paranoia because the story ‘stuck around’ for a few moments. That’s a great sign that a story really has its hooks in you.

Like the last novel, we get this in first-person style from Ridley, with weird second-person insertions here and there that break the fourth wall. Most of the time it felt unnecessary to me, and jerked me out of the tale a bit.

Not my favorite of Lisa Unger’s novels, but that doesn’t interrupt my plan to read more of them!

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