I’ve read two E. Lockhart books previously – one of which I enjoyed (We Were Liars) and one of which I didn’t as much (Fly on the Wall). In both cases however I really liked the writing style and appreciated the premise of the stories.
Synopsis on Goodreads:
The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.
Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.
Genuine Fraud has a really interesting structure and it took me a little while to get used to it. It starts and finishes with the same scene, working backwards until the end where we’re brought back to the present moment. It also has an unreliable narrator which always makes for a wild ride. I appreciated that even in the last few pages I was questioning who the narrator was.
Jule is a girl on the run – but why is she on the run? And where did she come from? This is a mystery thriller with murder and deceit. It’s a short read (as Lockhart books generally are) and you can whizz through it in a short amount of time.
There isn’t a whole lot of character building but that’s to be expected when the protagonist is unreliable. She’s the master of disguise and pretends to be several different people – the main being her best friend Imogen.
Although the story was really interesting (and apparently the same storyline as The Talented Mr Ripley, which I haven’t read) because it was so short and fast-paced, I felt like you missed out on a lot of the elements that make thrillers so addictive. At no point was I particularly bothered by any of the characters or even what happened to Jule in the end. That was a big issue for me because why else am I reading?
I don’t recommend this book if you’re looking for an intense thriller that sucks you right in and leaves you wanting more – but if you’re looking for a quick read that isn’t your standard mystery novel then this could be a good choice.
Thank you to Hot Key Books and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.