Book Review: Believe Me by JP Delaney

Believe Me

Publish Date: July 24, 2018

“That’s one of the fun parts of becoming an actor: You can become whoever you want to be.” – Michael B. Jordan

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. 

Believe Me 2

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.

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. But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?

Believe Me 3

Believe Me is a character study in acting, desires, motivation, entrapment, and murder. It made me wonder what is real, what is scripted, and how far an actor will go to hone her craft. It’s a wild ride that you don’t want to miss!

I love this cover with the black and red checkerboard accents, and the partial face of a woman looking fearfully behind her. It’s very intriguing and mysterious.

Because if a woman can’t trust the man who said he’d love her forever, who in this world can you trust?” — Believe Me

Claire is a struggling actor who has a side job as a decoy for a law firm. She lures married men into propositioning her and uses a hidden camera to film this for her wife clients. This plot line alone is absolutely fascinating and I think that the author could have build the entire novel around this concept  – but wait! There’s more!

It’s what you desire that defines you as a character.” – Believe Me

Claire ends up putting on the performance of her life by going deep undercover and trying to catch a suspected serial killer. Or so she thinks. I loved how this plotline progressed, and it kept me guessing until the very end.

The writing is stellar. JP Delaney knows how to keep a reader fully engaged and potentially missing life obligations because of this book. I liked JP Delaney’s first book, The Girl Before, but I liked this book so much more because of the intricate and unusual plot. I binge read it until the end.

The characters were complex, developed, and phenomenal. I learned about serial killers, their patterns, and their motivations through Claire’s training with a police profiler. I loved that the story takes place in New York City and gives an inside look into the life of a starving actor and the New York acting scene.

Some parts of the book are written in a script format – like this:

Script

It was new, different, and fascinating. This format made me feel like I was reading a screenplay or reading something that is scripted or orchestrated, and really created a play-like atmosphere in the book. Also, it made me wonder…. was part of the story actually just a play, or were the parts just written in a play format? Were these people just in a play, all along? These questions, the story, and the twists kept me riveted.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 5 Stars

I liked this book so much better than The Girl Before, and I recommend it for anyone looking for a fun, unusual, fast-paced thriller. I think that this one lends itself to being a movie, too!

Interesting side note: JP Delaney, which is the pen name of the author Tony Strong, wrote the original version of this book in 2001, called The Decoy. It failed to sell, but after the success of The Girl Before, he decided to rewrite it from scratch but keep the original concept. It contains some of the same scenes, but is completely different in plot, characterization, and structure.

This quote from the book sums up the main character, Claire, perfectly:

“Sometimes, when you wear a mask too long, you find it sticks to the skin.”

 

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