The Lying Game

Author: Ruth Ware
Published: July 25, 2017

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 20- October 8, 2017
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description from Amazon:

From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game.

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller.

Jessica’s Review:

I have enjoyed Ruth Ware’s previous novels, my favorite of hers being The Woman in Cabin 10.  The Lying Game just wasn’t for me. It is about four girls who become friends and they play ‘The Lying Game’. There are five rules to the game:

  1. Tell a lie
  2. Stick to your story
  3. Don’t get caught
  4. Never lie to each other
  5. Know when to stop lying


Books with unreliable narrators are hit-or-miss with me and the premise of the novel deals with unreliability: lying. Therefore, I knew going in that it may be hit-or-miss for me, but having read the book description and also enjoying Ware’s other novels had me wanting to read this one.

Isa is our narrator and she goes between the past and present.  She has lost contact with her friends until Kate sends them all a text saying “I need you”. The other women drop what they are doing and rush to help their friend Kate out. They all share a secret, but has one of them been breaking their own rules for seventeen years?

Over the course of the novel we learn what happened in the past. In the present Isa is a new mother, her daughter Freya is constantly with her and Isa’s only concern.

There was promise with The Lying Game. It is a slow burning, character driven novel that is well written. At times it seemed too long for me with too much narrative. I liked Fatima and wanted more of her in the novel. Even though I was not fully involved in the story, I wanted to know what was going to happen, but when it was over I did not feel anything.  Again, there is nothing wrong with Ware’s writing; this novel was just not for me. There is also a lot of foul language in The Lying Game. This doesn’t usually bother me, but I just got tired of hearing the ‘f’ word so many times.   I will continue to read Ware’s future novels and I do recommend The Woman in Cabin 10. Imogene Church has narrated all of Ware’s novels (I have listened to all of them) and she is perfect! I really enjoy her narrations even though my husband teases me by calling them “tea and crumpets” books due to Church’s accent!  LOL