cover image The Lying Club

The Lying Club

Annie Ward. Park Row, $16.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7783-8940-8

Pill-popping Natalie Bellman, the protagonist of this disappointing psychological thriller from Ward (Beautiful Bad), wakes up early one morning in her car in the parking lot of the Falcon Academy, an elite private school in the Colorado mountains where she works as an administrative assistant. Vaguely thinking she’s done something regrettable, she wanders over to the gym. Through a window, she spots a body in a pool of blood and wonders, “What the hell did I do?” Flash back six months. Natalie is over the moon when she hooks up with ladies’ man Nick Maguire, the highly sought-after academy coach. Despite Nick’s desire to keep their relationship a secret, she believes he’s serious about her, especially after he breaks up with his girlfriend. But when she presses Nick about going public with their relationship, he breaks up with her. Natalie then self-medicates and stalks Nick. Meanwhile, she also cultivates relationships with two mothers who have hired Nick to give their daughters private soccer lessons. The three soon learn Nick isn’t who he seems. Stock characters match the predictable plot. Readers can safely skip this one. Agent: Madeleine Milburn, Madeleine Milburn Literary. (Mar.)