Review: MONDAY’S LIE by Jamie Mason

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I’m BACK! For real this time!! :)  I’m so excited to be back in the reviewer rotation, you all really have no idea! It felt so great to be reading a book that I chose and on my Kindle instead of a textbook. Yay!

My first soiree into fun fiction since school ended was Monday’s Lie by Jamie Mason. (You can find my review of Mason’s debut novel, Three Graves Full, which I chose as my runner-up Best Reads of 2013 title, here.)

Here are the details of Mason’s latest:

MONDAY'S LIE cover

Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Length: 304 pages
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster)
Source and Format: Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley; digital
 
Official Summary
From the acclaimed author of the “ripping good” (The New York Times) debut novel Three Graves Full comes a new thriller about a woman who digs into her unconventional past to confirm what she suspects: her husband isn’t what she thought he was.
 
Dee Aldrich rebelled against her off-center upbringing when she married the most conventional man she could imagine: Patrick, her college sweetheart. But now, years later, her marriage is falling apart and she’s starting to believe that her husband has his eye on a new life… a life without her, one way or another.
 
Haunted by memories of her late mother Annette, a former covert operations asset, Dee reaches back into her childhood to resurrect her mother’s lessons and the “spy games” they played together, in which Dee learned memory tricks and, most importantly, how and when to lie. But just as she begins determining the course of the future, she makes a discovery that will change her life: her mother left her a lot of money and her own husband seems to know more about it than Dee does. Now, before it’s too late, she must investigate her suspicions and untangle conspiracy from coincidence, using her mother’s advice to steer her through the blind spots. The trick, in the end, will be in deciding if a “normal life” is really what she wants at all.
 
With pulse-pounding prose and atmospheric settings, Monday’s Lie is a thriller that delivers more of the “Hitchcockian menace” (Peter Straub) that made Three Graves Full a critical hit. For fans of the Coen brothers or Gillian Flynn, this is a book you won’t want to miss.
 
 

Katie‘s Review

I had a lot of trouble writing this review. I’ll admit, I’m a little out of practice, but this book seemed really unique to me. There were some things I liked and some things I didn’t like. First of all, it is a straight up mystery and suspense novel, so if you need romance (which I don’t), you may not love it. That part I did like, although the mystery aspect was a little different as well. It is clear from the very beginning that Dee’s husband wants her dead. So the mystery of the whole book is why he wants her dead, and what happened to turn their conventional marriage into this death wish. That sounds pretty exciting right? Well, it is…but you have to have A LOT of patience to get there.

The story starts on a Friday with Dee about to confront a suspenseful situation. From there, it backtracks to the beginning of the week, then shifts back and forth between a slow progression of the present week and big chunks of flashbacks to her childhood with her mother and brother. The confusing timeline made it difficult for me to keep track of what the present was and what was in the past.

Still, I’m glad I stuck with it (as I always do) because it got more exciting as the story approached Friday and the plot lines merged back into the present. I know a few people who tried getting into Monday’s Lie only to DNF it. The biggest downside to this novel is that it is a slow starter that builds as it goes, and it does take some patience to get to the point of being hooked. It definitely happened for me, though; the last third of the book was excellent and I couldn’t put it down! Luckily, I never DNF a book, so it was a good book match for a reader like me.

Mason is an excellent writer. The verbiage she uses always creates an elaborate picture so that even a description of something mundane becomes a masterpiece. I could really feel the intentionality behind her writing.

The relationship between Dee and her mom was a really lovely aspect to the story line. Annette Vess (Dee’s mom) was some sort of private covert ops employee, always swept away on missions. She’d taught her children, Dee and Simon, about observation and other investigative tactics by making them into games. Dee went back and forth between pure love for Annette to some resentment at her unconventional childhood and the things her mother taught her being permanently imprinted in her mind.

Dee’s husband, Patrick, is someone she’s been with since college. She chose him because she thought he could give her the predictable life she never had growing up. There were glimpses of them growing apart and their marriage not going very smoothly. Apparently with the addition of money, that equals killing your wife?! There was a little bit of a disconnect there for me; I felt like Patrick jumped to an extreme I wasn’t quite ready for. I maybe would have understood it better had I seen more of a manipulative or hateful side…but that wasn’t really there.

As I mentioned above, the best way to describe this one is unique. It’s a private detective, secret agent, mystery, suspense novel. It’s nonlinear and moves backward and forward at the same time. The characters were unique – I don’t think I’ve ever read characters like Annette or Dee before, which I totally appreciated – and the plot lines were brilliant as well. Mason also leaves the end of the novel open for a sequel, which could be great!

Bottom Line

Monday’s Lie is a simmering suspense novel with some mystery to it. It’s interesting and unique with some odd character developments. While some things work really well, others get a little confusing. It is a slow starter, but if you’re okay with a lot of backstory leading up to the excitement and can commit to sticking with it, you won’t be disappointed.

Rating: C+ (3½ stars)

Wine/Beverage Pairing: Red Wine Sangria – a great summer drink! A good mix of fruitiness and alcohol that will keep the taste buds guessing.

Buy Digital:  Kindle  |  Nook
 
Buy Print:  Amazon  |  B&N
 
 

 

Another Title By Jamie Mason

Three Graves FullTHREE GRAVES FULL cover
(2013 Library Journal Best Book; 2013 Booklist Best Crime Novel)

Katie’s Review  |  Goodreads
 
Buy:  Amazon  |  Kindle  |  B&N  |  Nook
 
 

 

I thought Monday’s Lie was pretty unique all around, from the characters to the relationships and even the timeline. Hit the comments and tell me about a book you thought was one of a kind.