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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Review & Excerpt: Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison

Her Dark Lies 
by J.T. Ellison

Publisher: Mira
Publish Date: March 9, 2021
416 Pages
Genre: Thriller

At the wedding of the year, a killer needs no invitation

Jutting from sparkling turquoise waters off the Italian coast, Isle Isola is an idyllic setting for a wedding. In the majestic cliff-top villa owned by the wealthy Compton family, up-and-coming artist Claire Hunter will marry handsome, charming Jack Compton, surrounded by close family, intimate friends…and a host of dark secrets.

From the moment Claire sets foot on the island, something seems amiss. Skeletal remains have just been found. There are other, newer disturbances, too. Menacing texts. A ruined wedding dress. And one troubling shadow hanging over Claire’s otherwise blissful relationship—the strange mystery surrounding Jack’s first wife.

Then a raging storm descends, the power goes out—and the real terror begins…

My Review:

My 5th Ellison book! She truly knows how to entertain, y'all!  I enjoyed traveling to Italy to a clifftop villa that reeks of money, gorgeous views, hidden passages and statues.  Yes, please.  But with all of this, comes the Compton family ... and they require a few things from Claire before she's set to marry Jack.  They all have secrets... just how many of them will come to light and will Claire last longer than Jack's first wife did? 

Told through various POVs, these short chapters keep you invested and quickly turning the pages to see what's going to conspire.  While nothing ever really shocked me, I still was like, "OH NO.... whaaaaaat."  Haha.  Of all the characters, Claire surprised me the most.  I kinda want to hang out with her... and I also want the dogs, Romulus and Remus.  For some reason that campfire scene stuck with me.  SOMEBODY GET ME A GUARD DOG.  I will say there were a couple of moments towards the end that I side eyed a little bit... but who doesn't love a good side eye every once in a while.

Ellison is just a master story teller and I will always pick up anything she writes.  I would definitely recommend Lie To Me and Tear Me Apart along with this one if you're looking for something to binge.  Those short chapters get me every time!  



Jack did not talk about his dead wife. Nor did anyone in his family.

It struck me as strange, in the beginning. There were no reminiscences, no regrets. Certainly, no comparisons. He sat me down one night after dinner, three weeks after Elliot’s wed­ding, said, “I have something to tell you,” and recited the facts.

He’d been married before, the marriage was a short one, and had happened a decade earlier. She died only a few weeks in. He didn’t like to discuss it, but felt I should know, considering the path we were clearly on.

Then he kissed me, and as we joined together, I realized what he was actually telling me. I didn’t see then the lack of intimacy of the admission, nor feel any sort of fear or warning. What I took away from the conversation was this: He’d just declared his intent. He was planning a future with me.

I overlooked the fact that he didn’t tell me how she’d died, nor did I ask. Not then, at least. It was all very mysterious and speaking about it was completely off-limits. It felt…danger­ously romantic in a way. There was so much about him I did not know, and I clung to those mysteries like a child. I’d been disappointed by people so often in my life that I suppose I was just hoping he wouldn’t let me down.

No, in the beginning, none of it mattered to me. I’m a prac­tical woman, logical to a fault sometimes. I was only eighteen when Jack was so briefly married, in the throes of my own cat­aclysmic life earthquakes that I had no desire to revisit. I didn’t see the story in the news. Even if I had somehow come across it, why would I care about some gazillionaire’s missing wife?

I’ve learned not to look back. Never. That way lies madness.

Jack and I had a long life ahead of us. He’d talk about Mor­gan if he wanted.

If I was that curious, there was always the internet. The Comptons were a very public family, after all.

Katie thought I was crazy not to press Jack for every little detail. When I refused, she dug up everything she could, in­vited me out for coffee under the pretense of a catch-up, sat me down at the Frothy Monkey, and forced me to listen. This is what I learned:

Jackson Compton met Morgan Fraser at a cocktail party in Tiburon, California, at the house of a famed literary agent, a stunning arts and crafts renovation across the bay from San Francisco. Their courtship was brief and glamorous. Jack was a party boy then, on the circuit, dating models and actresses, in the gossip columns all the time. Most eligible bachelor, all that. Feckless. Wealthy. Fun.

Morgan, a well-educated former foster child who studied computer science on scholarship at Stanford, was the exact op­posite of the kind of woman Jackson Compton was attracted to, according to the salacious stories. There was nothing simple or easy about her. Her background was murky, her business in­terests bordered on the unethical, and she was clearly not inter­ested in settling down.

But she was a stunner. Breathtakingly gorgeous. Beautiful, and brilliant. The night they met, she was out celebrating. She had secured the first round of venture capital for an eponymous IT company that was making waves with a nanotech microcamera that would eventually change the way the security industry handled smart home technology. Heady stuff. The Comptons bought out her company and made her a small fortune.

 Jessica's Review:

I’ve been a big fan of J.T. Ellison since picking up LIE TO ME a few years ago, and I haven’t been disappointed since! We can expect complex and well-developed characters, plenty of suspense, and that we’ll be kept guessing until the very end. HER DARK LIES is like a locked in type mystery as our characters are stuck on a private island together as the body count rises. This one starts a little slower as we get the lay of the land and the scene is set, but then the pacing picks up and doesn’t let up until the very end.

This book has a great building mystery to it and, oh boy, talk about a body count! I couldn’t believe how many bodies were stacking up in this book, it was getting harder and harder to figure out who was the killer! I had seen a few other reviewers compare this to AND THEN THERE WERE NONE and I totally see it. I love Ellison’s writing style and I really enjoy the way she weaves these complex stories while keeping it so easy to follow. That being said, there were a couple times I mixed up which character we were reading in some chapters but then I was able to keep it straight. I can’t wait to see what she releases next and I highly recommend this to those that love locked room mysteries and very atmospheric suspense reads.

4 stars

1 comment:

  1. The excerpts are pulling me in! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours