Having been a fan of Delaney’s earlier book, The Girl Before, I was sure I’d love Believe Me. And I was right. It’s an entirely different book than the The Girl Before and even than what I was expecting, but I was utterly swept away.
A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.
Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions. The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.
Then the game changes.
When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.
Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap? But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?
There’s not a lot I can say about this fast-paced thriller, except Delaney will take everything you assume and turn it on its head so many times. There is a special talent to misdirection, clever plot twists, and big reveals. I am tricked almost every time by Delaney. Even the things I thought I knew for certain, there was all this doubt thrown on top of it. Believe Me completely captivated me. I binge read it a day, which says a lot, but also I basically was late to an event because I had to finish it.
I literally have a note in my book that says, “what’s even real anymore?” One of the things I loved the most about this book was that Delaney expertly deconstructs this line between the real and unreal, the truth and pretend. Not only do we not ever know where this line is, but our characters don’t either. There are so many layers, webs of lies, that one of the things I loved was that our characters are so good at acting, they even fool themselves. So what makes this even more entrancingly obsessive is that we have characters who themselves can’t distinguish. Check out Believe Me on Goodreads.