Friday 16 February 2024

Review: Lie or Die by A J Clack (Young Adult, Thriller, 9/10E)

Don't let the chirpy cover fool you!

7th March 2024, Firefly Press, 304 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Book summary from Firefly Press

 Ten strangers trapped in a television studio

Forty-two remote cameras

One rule: Trust no one

When a casting call is announced for new reality TV show Lie or Die, Kass is tricked into auditioning by her best friend. Big Brother meets Mafia, Lie or Die pits contestants against each other as they try to discover who is a murderous agent and who is an innocent player. But when contestants start to turn up dead (the real kind, not the fake kind), Kass realises that not being eliminated and winning the game is the least of her worries. No longer a game of truth and lies, Kass and her friends are in a fight for survival. ‘Reality’ just got very real.

Nayu's thoughts

Hot in the wake of the thrilling BBC show The Traitors this young adult thriller is a perfect match for fans of the show (and if you haven't seen the show yet, do! I have seen most of the 1st season (not the finale as I can only watch at family's house due to lack of tv licence) and Lie or Die is far worse than traitors as people actually die. 

In the beginning Kass and her bestie Thea are the ones on the show, joining in a way that should have been an alarm bell for the chaos that follow. Kass is content as her other bestie Lewis is outside the sealed set, helping out the production in what feels like a dream come true role that runs into a distinct nightmare. At first the game feels fun, and the murders somehow go under the radar. How is that possible? Well you will have to read the book to find out how but in the world of TV where reality and fiction collide it is plausible for the contestants not to notice the deaths. There are warning signs for the reader but it takes Kass, Thea, and their rivals a lot longer to catch up. 

When the penny finally drops, and when the murderer starts laying clues, the tone of the show completely flips. It's impossible to know who to trust and who will die next. The mastermind behind the show is both extremely sadistic and very clever. Got to give credit where it's due, it took some planning to create the show and pull it off. The question is, can Kass and her friends survive alongside the other competitors and outwit the murderer? I'm not saying but the end itself is full of great twists and turns that made me glad I read it all in one sitting as waiting more than a few seconds to read on would have been agonising. 

I liked learning more about reality TV shows since I don't really watch them. The tension gets pretty intense, although it fell shy of completely wowing me as I feel spoiled since the Pretty Little LIars TV drama which blew my mind and made me less easily surprised in mysteries. Because of a certain incident Kass and Thea aren't actually getting along too well for a while, but when the murders become evident they team up because they both want to stay alive. Kass finds another ally, or so she thinks, but doing so also makes her look guilty. Lewis has to do all he can to help his trapped friends but his skills are severely limited for various reasons. There is a hint there may be a book 2 so I hope that will happen! 

Suggested read

Love a good scare? Check out The Retreat by Sherri Smith (Thriller, 10E/10E)


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