Tell me a lie (AKA a spy’s life is never simple): book review

What is this about?: Dan Forrester, the intrepid amnesiac from Spare me the Truth is sent on a mission to meet a contact in Russia, who will only meet with him. The amnesia thing might get in the way of this being a successful meet, but his bosses are willing to try it. So is he.

What is this about?: A bigger meatier role for Jenny and Aimee, his wife and daughter respectively, which I enjoyed because Spare me the Truth had me conflicted about her.

Blurb: How do you protect your family when you can’t remember who’s hunting them? A gripping international thriller, perfect for fans of Lee Child and Mason Cross

A family in England is massacred, the father left holding the shotgun. 

PC Lucy Davies is convinced he’s innocent.

A sleeper agent in Moscow requests an urgent meeting with Dan Forrester, referencing their shared past.

His amnesia means he has no idea who he can trust.

An aging oligarch in Siberia gathers his henchmen to discuss an English accountant.

It’s Dan’s wife. 

From acclaimed and award-winning author CJ Carver, this is the next gripping international thriller in her brilliant Dan Forrester series.

Tell me a Lie is the second in the Dan Forrester series, and an evolution for Jenny, his wife. The first book, Spare me the truth (reviewed here), portrayed Jenny as a woman who was afraid of losing her husband to the life he once had, but she was also hard to relate to because the focus of the book was Dan and how he related to the world and the people around him.

Tell me a Lie opens some time after the events in Spare me the truth, and Dan and Jenny are still at odds with each other and the life Dan wants to reclaim, and the life they have now that Jenny wants to maintain. Dan is called away to meet a contact in Russia, one who will only speak to him, and leaves much to her irritation.

While Dan is away, Lucy his constable friend from book 1 is involved in a case of her own, one that leads her back to Dan. Together, these two stories unfurl bit by bit until it becomes clear that this book is really about Jenny and her past. 

I won’t spoil how and why Jenny gets drawn into the narrative, but I was once again thrilled at how the author brought all these threads together. The story lets Dan remember why he loved her, why he needs her in his life. And the story lets Jenny react to a story of her own, to events that affect her, showing her as a capable, determined woman. The first book was focused on Dan — it had to be to set the framework for this series.

Lucy is, as she was in the first book, a glorious force of nature, navigating a case and her own personal issues with ease and flair — let me put it this way: you’re going to wish you were that good at come backs at all the people that annoy you, and as determined to get to the bottom of the truth as she is.

It’s hard to explain the breadth and the largeness of this plot, which is why when it all comes together I might’ve let out an audible ohhh or several of them. So, I will say instead I can see a Dan and Jenny now and I wonder where the next book will take them.


  • Ohhh sounds like a good series! Well, the beginning of a series, anywy. I’ll have to read the 1st book.

  • Greg says:

    First off I love that cover. totally has that spy vibe or thriller vibe. And it sounds nice that Jenny has a role and that her story apparently dovetails with his at some point. Lucy sounds awesome too!

    • Verushka says:

      The cover and the story itself reminds me of some old school thrillers I read ages ago. I couldn’t say why exactly, it’s just that I rememeber feeling how big those plots were, as this one is.

  • Lily B says:

    does sound like it has a lot of depth. I’m with Greg, the cover is amazing and captured my attention. But the book sounds very character driven and I am curious how it is handled 😀

    • Verushka says:

      It is — I’m impressed with how she’s built up Jenny in particular.. I was sure they would divorce by the end of the first one!

  • Kelly says:

    Ooh, it sounds a bit Jason Bourne like and I’m totally on board with that Verushka! The cover reminds me a little of the Allie Carter series. It sounds wonderfully written and action packed. I love books that can still surprise us, no matter how avid our reading is. Wonderful review sweetheart <3

    • Verushka says:

      You know it kind of is — Jason Bourne is an old school thriller to me — even the movies are, and this is exactly the vibe I got from this. I have to look up the Allie Carter series, it sounds like it would exactly be the kind of thing I like!

  • Sophia Rose says:

    I love it when it seems there are separate unrelated threads that end up being quite connected. Cool that he’s an amnesiac trying to get his life back.

  • The title itself is so intriguing – we don’t want people to tell us a lie. Love how it’s one of those books where everything seems disconnected but then weaves itself together in the end.
    ~ Pendragons 

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