Book Reviews

Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay – Book Review

Nicole Melanson ~

Writer Elizabeth Kay Book Cover - Seven Lies

Seven Lies is the highly anticipated thriller from Elizabeth Kay AKA Lizzy Goudsmit, Transworld Editor. The story of a best friendship turned deadly, Seven Lies looks at the line between intimacy and obsession, and asks how far one person might go to maintain their hold on another.

This book gives off a really strong Single White Female vibe. Kay takes us from the beginning of Jane and Marnie’s fondness for each other as schoolgirls to an adulthood where the two women’s lives are firmly intertwined. As Seven Lies progresses, we see the power balance between Jane and Marnie shifting, with Marnie’s independence growing in direct opposition to Jane’s increasing neediness.

Kay’s exploration of female friendship is thorough and nuanced. She perfectly captures how a mutually beneficial, positive relationship can morph into something toxic. While Jane is fairly one-dimensional, unreliable narrator, Marnie is complex and challenging. At first, her withdrawal from the friendship seems an unintentional by-product of the usual busyness associated with major life events, but over time, she starts to look like a “ghosting” master.

Seven Lies was an unusual read for me in that I found the ending stronger than the beginning. The first quarter of the book is ostensibly set out to build suspense, but I found the whole “I’m about to tell you what happened and why” schtick grating and had to fight the urge to skip ahead. Once we get to the death around which the rest of the book revolves, the pace picks up and the story becomes more compelling.

I did have a couple other issues with this novel that came in the form of a dogged journalist whom I didn’t find 100% convincing or resolved as a plot point, and a second person address that wavered in consistency throughout. The “lies” themselves are also a little clunky in their integration, making them seem more of a gimmick than an essential element. Unfortunately, these issues became sticking points for me, and I found it difficult to get truly swept along by the narrative.

All up, I don’t think Seven Lies really hits the mark as a heart-stopping thriller, but it does shine a light on a side of friendship seldom seen in fiction, so I’d recommend reading it for that.