cover image Trust Me When I Lie

Trust Me When I Lie

Benjamin Stevenson. Sourcebooks Landmark, $15.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-4926-9115-0

Jack Quick, the tormented protagonist of Australian author Stevenson’s darkly devious first novel, produces a popular true crime TV series showing how Curtis Wade was unfairly convicted for the murder of vineyard worker Eliza Dacey four years earlier in the outback hamlet of Birravale. Then Jack finds something suggesting that the man might actually be guilty. But that doesn’t fit the dramatic, emotionally satisfying story he has created, so he suppresses the evidence, rationalizing that it could have been planted by the real killer. When Curtis is released after a retrial and another murder soon follows, Jack regrets covering his mistakes with cleverly constructed lies. Allied with Curtis’s sister, Jack shakes up Birravale to see how antagonism between rival winemakers and local distrust of outsiders created a tense atmosphere in which Curtis could be railroaded—whether or not he was guilty. Besides struggling with his own bulimia and crippling self-doubt, Jack must strain to see through everybody else’s lies. Stevenson is a splendidly vivid and tricky writer. Readers will be curious to see what he comes up with next. (Aug.)