Review: “Three Perfect Liars” by Heidi Perks

Three Perfect Liars by Heidi Perks book cover from Goodreads, background photo from Anthony Delanoix on Unsplash

Original background cover photo credit: Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

It had taken seven minutes for the first of the fire engines to screech to a halt outside the offices of Morris and Wood, but even by then anyone could have seen it was too late.

Three Perfect Liars, Chapter 1 opening

Author: Heidi Perks
Publication Date: June 9th 2020
Publisher:  Gallery Books
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Find it on: Goodreads

Synopsis

From the author of Her One Mistake, hailed as “chilling, captivating” by New York Times bestselling author Megan Miranda, comes a riveting new suspense novel about three ambitious women whose lives are turned upside down in the aftermath of a horrifying fire, which destroys a successful advertising agency and threatens to expose a tangled web of lies.

Laura has returned to work at Morris and Wood after her maternity leave, only to discover that the woman she brought in to cover for her isn’t planning on going anywhere. Despite her close relationship with the agency’s powerful CEO, Harry Wood, she feels sidelined—and outmaneuvered—as she struggles to balance the twin demands of work and motherhood.

Mia was only supposed to be a temporary hire at Morris and Wood, but she’s managed to make herself indispensable to everyone. Everyone, that is, except Laura. If people only knew why she was so desperate to keep her job, they might not want her to stay.

Janie gave up everything to support her husband and the successful agency he runs. But she has her own dark secret to protect…and will go to any lengths to keep it safe.

With signature prose lauded as “breathtaking” and “bone-chilling” by USA TODAY bestselling author Cristina Alger and plenty of shocking twists and turns, Three Perfect Liars is an unputdownable thriller for fans of Watching You and The Couple Next Door.

From Goodreads

Review

Book Content Warnings: divorce, infidelity, stalking, workplace discrimination / harassment, drunk driving, rape, depression, car accident

Three Perfect Liars is a mystery / thriller story with heavy themes of motherhood vs career decisions, ‘boys club’ leadership, and female infighting as a start. The lives of three women whirl around that of Morris and Wood’s charismatic CEO Harry Wood, jarring aggressively against one another in a toxic dance of distrust, jealousy, and ambition, ending in a devastating fire. Each was pushed to the brink and has substantial motive, but who was nudged just a bit too far?

The three women we follow – Laura, Mia, and Janie – are each rather smart and interesting to follow but have a somewhat depressing backstory to facilitate potential motive. Laura, an ambitious, work-oriented woman, returns from a less-than-relaxing maternity leave to find her temporary hire has embedded herself deep into Laura’s role. Laura faces questionable post-leave discrimination, as well as a rocky home life with her husband and newborn son when she struggles to balance new motherhood and her career. Her situation possibly bothered me the most personally. I sympathized with how she worked so incredibly hard to prove herself and rise to the top in a male-dominated company and now must consider a whole new way of living. Laura’s jealousy and seeming paranoia about Mia, the ‘temp’ she’d hired, was understandable but difficult to read.

Laura had always known that if you wanted to stay at the top of your game you couldn’t afford to take time out…While she was bringing a child into the world, another woman had slipped into her place and stolen her job from her.

Three Perfect Liars, p95

Mia, the woman hired to help out at Morris and Wood while Laura is out on maternity, has a complicated relationship with her mom and 35 year old sister. Readers learn more about this complicated dynamic gradually as the story progresses. The three of them live together, supported on Mia’s income after her sister was in a terrible accident that had lifelong repercussions. At work Mia is intelligent, friendly, and ambitious. She’s well-liked, and it’s difficult to begrudge her deciding to stay on after Laura returns despite the awkward situation it places everyone in. To be honest, I lay much of that blame squarely on Harry Wood’s door as CEO and decision-maker.

Finally there’s Janie, Harry Wood’s wife – a former defense barrister turned stay-at-home-mom after a rough case prompted her to decide to leave her career. Although she loves her children Janie is restless at home without work, and her relationship with Harry is strained due to his long work hours and inattentiveness when he is around.

Although each woman was a compelling character, throughout the book I just began to feel a bit weighed down in a way I don’t always get with mystery/thrillers. In my opinion there’s a disproportionate amount of heavy topics and very little fresh air in this book to turn to for reprieve. I found Harry at first a neutral character but later annoying, and the ending was both bittersweet and a tad predictable. Overall I thought this book was well structured and engaging but probably wouldn’t re-read it myself. I’d recommend this as a good ‘who dun it’ style mystery for genre trope lovers.

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