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The Better Liar

A Novel

Tanen Jones


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (1/12/2021)


“Smart, sinister, and utterly engrossing—this debut delivers.”—Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Never Have I Ever

When a woman conceals her sister’s death to claim their joint inheritance, her deception exposes a web of dangerous secrets in this addictive new thriller for fans of Megan Abbott, Gillian Flynn, and Paula Hawkins.

NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2020 BY Entertainment Weekly New York Post Lit Hub Crime Reads • E! News • BookRiot • PopSugar Hello GIggles

“Like most of the dead, I want to be remembered.”

Robin Voigt is dead. If Leslie had arrived at her sister’s cramped Las Vegas apartment just hours earlier, this would have been their first reunion in a decade. In the years since Robin ran away from home as a teenager, Leslie has stayed in New Mexico, taking care of their dying father even as she began building a family of her own. But when their father passed away, Leslie received a rude awakening: She and Robin would receive the inheritance he left them together—or not at all. Now her half of the money may be beyond her grasp. And unbeknownst to anyone, even her husband, Leslie needs it desperately.

When she meets a charismatic young woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Robin—and has every reason to leave her past behind—the two make a reckless bargain: Mary will impersonate Robin for a week in exchange for Robin’s half of the cash. But neither realizes how high the stakes will become when Mary takes a dead woman’s name. Even as Mary begins to suspect Leslie is hiding something, and Leslie realizes the stranger living in her house, babysitting her newborn son, and charming her husband has secrets of her own, Robin’s wild, troubled legacy threatens to eclipse them both.

An electric, twisted portrait of sisterhood and the ties that bind, The Better Liar is a stunning debut with a heart-stopping, twist-after-twist finale that will beg the question: How far would you go to get what’s yours?

Praise for The Better Liar

“Jones’ sensational debut has the bones of a thriller but reads like literary fiction: lean, shrewd, and gratifyingly real.”Entertainment Weekly

“Jones’s debut novel is clever, absorbing, and full of red herrings. . . . A stunning twist ending will leave readers waiting to see what Jones will give them next.”Booklist (starred review)

Praise For The Better Liar: A Novel

“A darkly complex relationship between two sisters lies at the heart of Jones’s debut psychological thriller. . . . A blistering debut from a promising new talent.”Kirkus Reviews

“A taut, twisty thriller. . . . Jones arrives with an undeniable splash.”Publishers Weekly
“A fast-paced read that will leave you thinking long after turning the final page.”—Christina Dalcher, bestselling author of Vox

The Better Liar just kept getting better and better and better.”Chandler Baker, New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Network 

“I can hardly believe The Better Liar is a debut novel—it has three unreliable narrators and a twisty plot, and it dives deep into complicated family relationships.”—Jennifer Hillier, author of Jar of Hearts, ITW Thriller Award winner

The Better Liar is a knockout—a stunner of a debut that left me in awe of this new writer’s talent.”—Karen Dionne, author of the international bestseller The Marsh King’s Daughter

“Tanen Jones shifts effortlessly between narrators and story lines, and delivers one hell of a twist. I couldn’t wait to finish but did not want it to end. This is the best kind of thriller!”—Wendy Walker, internationally bestselling author of The Night Before

“All great thriller writers have to be good liars, and Tanen Jones absolutely is. Her debut is a scorching, fascinating read about a dark relationship that will make you turn the mirror to yourself. The Better Liar is binge-worthy all night long.”—Julia Heaberlin, internationally bestselling author of Paper Ghosts and Black-Eyed Susans
“A gorgeously dark tale of twisted sisterhood—and a gutsy spin on the psycho-thriller . . . Nicely done, Tanen Jones!”—Debra Jo Immergut, author of The Captives

“Jones has written a compulsively page-turning story. She cleverly drip-feeds nuggets of information, each more surprising than the last, until the final shocking revelation.”—Claire Fuller, author of Bitter Orange and Swimming Lessons

“This dangerous story of sisterhood and inheritance will make you question how well you really know those closest to you.”—Madeline Stevens, author of Devotion

“A dark, intriguing exploration of family wounds and the fragility of identity.”—Caite Dolan-Leach, author of Dead Letters and We Went to the Woods

“Jones expertly ramps up the tension and then delivers twists and turns at breakneck speed.”Elizabeth Klehfoth, author of All These Beautiful Strangers

“A brilliantly claustrophobic thriller with a gasp-inducing sting in the tail—tense, controlled, and masterly.”—Christobel Kent, author of What We Did

“A masterclass in mystery and suspense.”Book Riot (“Best Winter New Releases”)

Ballantine Books, 9781984821225, 320pp.

Publication Date: January 14, 2020

About the Author

Tanen Jones grew up in Texas and North Carolina. She has a degree in American history and spent several years editing law and criminal justice textbooks. A queer author, she writes about queer women in dark spaces. Tanen now lives in New York with her partner, where she writes to the sound of her neighbor’s piano. The Better Liar is her debut novel.