cover image A Game of Lies

A Game of Lies

Clare Mackintosh. Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-72-829650-0

Dangerous rivalries and unchecked ambitions on a reality TV show fuel Mackintosh’s superb second case for Welsh Det. Const. Ffiona Morgan (after The Last Party). At the outset, Morgan is called to the set of Exposure, a reality competition taking place on a Welsh mountain, after crew members uncover a set of bones. She arrives, quickly determines they’re animal bones, and prepares to leave—but then one of the show’s seven contestants goes missing from the supposedly locked-tight set. Though advertised in casting notices as a survival show, Exposure turned out to be a bait-and-switch: once contestants arrived, they learned producers had gotten hold of their “darkest secrets,” which would be revealed on television unless they could expose another contestant’s secret first. If a contestant makes an incorrect guess, they’re forced into a “confession pod” to face snakes, spiders, or roaches; if they win, they walk away with £100,000. As Morgan searches for answers about the missing contestant, she learns that every member of the Exposure cast has secrets they’d kill to keep. Mackintosh has heaps of nasty fun with the conniving world of reality TV, and she generates palpable stakes for her well-drawn characters. By the time things wind down, it’s clear this series has enough gas to merit a long run. (Apr.)