Review published on October 8, 2017.
In this fast-paced psychological thriller the story is presented in chunks, but backwards. Thus telling the tale of how Jule got to the first place we see her. On the way, we discover that her friend Immi is dead and how she might have died.
Behind this basic theme is an exploration of the nature of modern friendship – both real and as experienced through the medium of technology. Who is contacting you? Are they who they say they are, or are they another adopting their identity? But at a deeper level how well do we know the people around us, even the ones that are “close” to us? When we talk in casual conversation should our words be taken at face value? All the time? When people come from very different backgrounds of class, wealth, security, place, do they even speak the same language? Both Jule and Immi are teenagers so this exploration is seen through the prism of young exploration of options, building knowledge, and breaking out of the controls that are central to being a child.
Back to the plotline, the novel then addresses building relationships with others; the failure to do that effectively, overlain with death and deliberate deception as one character tries to avoid the consequences of her actions. This gives the oomph and urgency to the tale. A rush of places, people and responses evolves – with, one should say, literary references that include Great Expectations and The Talented Mr Ripley among others.
The novel is a pacy, character-driven, female-centred, road trip. The, none too gory, murder is almost secondary to the rest – or is that just a clever reflection of psychopathic disdain? This is my first Lockhart read and she is extremely good at what she does. With the suspension of disbelief that is necessary for all murder mysteries, most is believable, even when unlikely. Overall, once started and even presented backwards, this is a compulsive read. But remember, the entertainment aspects should not negate the more weighty moral and social issues addressed here.
Hilary White 5/5
Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
Hot Key Books 9781471406621 hbk Sep 2017
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