Monday, February 9, 2009

(16) Never Tell A Lie by Hallie Ephron

Within the first few pages of this book, I thought, I could see this as a movie. Maybe Reese Witherspoon or Kate Winslet as Ivy and Jude Law or Luke Wilson as David. This book was written to be a movie.
But only if the screenwriter alters some details.
Ivy & David, high school sweethearts, have recently moved into a big, old, Gothic house in their hometown. The previous owner, a renowned eccentric, has left lots of stuff behind. So, in preparation of the birth of their first child, they decide to have a yard sale. Imagine their surprise when the class outcast from high school shows up at their yard sale. Ivy is more than a little uncomfortable & David tries to "save her" by offering Melinda (the outcast) a tour of the infamous house.
Melinda is never seen again. 24 hours past & soon both David & Ivy are suspects in her alleged murder. But where is the body? Did anybody see her actually leave the house? What happened in High School that David is keeping from her?
WARNING : Spoilers MAY slip out in the following paragraph!

So, the plot has some good "bones", but the author really wrote the HOUSE to be another character. And I liked that, because I love houses & architecture. I had figured out that Melinda wasn't dead. And I had figured out that she was inside the house planting evidence. But having her sneaking out to her late Mother's house? REALLY? When you lay the groundwork of a Gothic, mansion type house, you lay the groundwork for hidden rooms. And THAT is what would have made the story perfect. Instead, Ms Ephron had the crazy lady sneaking back into the house. Have her hide out in secret rooms & sneaking out to plant the evidence. It was really kind of disappointing.
So, while I can see a screenplay developing from this plot, there needs some tweaking, in my opinion, before it will be a big moneymaker. Never Tell A Lie was a fast read. I read it in about 90 minutes after I went to bed last night. It is a bit predictable, even without meeting my expectations of the house, I had figured out the twist not very far into the story. But I still stuck with it to see how the author was going to get to the "happy ending". It wasn't the best suspense novel I have ever read, but it wasn't the worst.


Lenore said...

Ha ha - I couldn't keep away from the spoilers. You make an excellent point. Why have a gothic house without having hidden rooms?

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