Violet Quill Redux

Three Truths and a Lie - By Brent Hartinger


Using teenaged protagonists can be an unruly place to tell a tale. Hartinger manages it with a deft and distinctive hand, giving us a slice of the Northwest that chills you to the bone with this thriller of a tale as much as he does with the atmospherics that will stay with you long after the last page is turned. A link to Brent’s episode (where we discuss the release of this book, amongst other things) in the Wrote Podcast can be found here. A definite page turner of a read!

Title: Three Truths and a Lie

Author: Brent Hartinger

Publisher: Simon and Shuster
Year of Original Release: August 2, 2016
Rating: 5 Violet Quills




This book plays on many themes that both titillated and scared the bejeezus out of us in our youth. Hartinger crafts this cautionary tale with the same deft and exacting hand I’ve come to expect from his works. Using the premise of the Lie-to-Truth scenario - something we’re all familiar with to one extent or another - Hartinger breathes a cold, bone chilling air straight out of the northwest that immediately puts you on edge as it seeps its way in like the damp rainforest areas that are so evocative of the area. Hartinger never lets up on the reader as they follow the four main characters of the book.

Told predominantly from the sympathetic Rob character - one half of a gay couple in the story - what starts out as a simple getaway to flee from a drug dealer on the rampage for one of the teens, turns into a quagmire of who is following and tormenting the youths. While this is a YA novel, the sex, both queer and cis-gendered heterosexual in nature, it isn’t graphic in the details – leaving the reader to fill in the blanks – something I found very interesting when I gave it to my queer granddaughter to read. We had a very lengthy discussion of what she actually read and what she’d pieced together in her mind. That discussion alone warrants Brent a five quill rating for this work.

Brent is, as always, a master of atmosphere and well-paced character development. I found Mia, Galen and Liam alternating between liking them and wanting to bitch slap them for their flaws. Oddly enough, Mia I found to be the least sympathetic when I wanted to like her. While I won’t divulge plot points or twister elements, I do want to say that the best clue in this psycho-thriller of a book, comes at the very beginning. As a reader, and storyteller myself, I found that little element to be one of the best in the entire book, forcing you to make an assumption, rather reasonably I should add, that may not wholly be true.

If I had one comment on what bothered me with the book it would be in its conclusion. The last chapter, while buttoning up the whys and wherefores of the tale, left me on a rather bland end note. Something darker, more along the lines of Norman Bates monologue in the end would’ve been a much more fulfilling ending, at least to my way of thinking. As it stands, the book is a ripping yarn of a tale that pulls you along and keeps you guessing to the end. My word of advice? Question everything. They are teenagers after all. While that may not be the most stable ground to carry a narrative, it does provide for one helluva romp read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


Book Trailer for Three Truths and a Lie <— Check it out
blog comments powered by Disqus