He jumped to his death in front of witnesses. Now his wife is charged with murder.
Five years ago, Erin Kennedy moved to New York following a family tragedy. She now lives happily with her detective husband in the scenic seaside town of Newport, Long Island. When Erin answers the door to Danny’s police colleagues one morning, it’s the start of an ordinary day. But behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.
Eighteen months later, Erin is in court, charged with her husband’s murder. Over that year and a half, Erin has learned things about Danny she could never have imagined. She thought he was perfect. She thought their life was perfect.
But it was all built on the perfect lie.
Jo Spain’s latest book begins with Erin Kennedy waking up to her idea of a perfect life. She lives in an idyllic apartment in Newport, Long Island with her cop husband Danny. Erin has already been through a lot at the beginning of the book, the details of which we learn as the book goes on. She thinks her worries are behind her until Danny jumps to his death from their fourth-floor balcony. It is from his moment that Erin must make sense of why Danny committed suicide in front of her when he seemed so happy and content.
The book flashes forward eighteen months, with Erin on trial for Danny’s murder. The book then follows Erin both in the aftermath of Danny’s suicide and during the course of the trial as she learns more about her husband and the life he kept from her. The two timeframes have several threads but Spain expertly weaves them together as we piece together the clues.
One of the aspects of Spain’s writing I enjoy the most is her characterisation. The Perfect Lie features a large group of characters but each feels authentic and real. Even the peripheral characters, including Erin’s nosy neighbour, are perfectly written and feel genuine.
Spain explains in her epilogue that she wanted to imagine what it would be like for the Irish diaspora to get bad news from home. The book equally tackles the issue of what happens when an Irish ex-pat experiences tragedy abroad, which is a timely issue because of the pandemic. Spain’s sophisticated prose and multi-layered narrative is a masterclass in suspense as always.
Quercus, 13 May, 2021
About the author
Jo Spain is the author of the bestselling Tom Reynolds detective series and several No.1 bestselling standalone thrillers. She began writing full-time when her first book, top ten bestseller With Our Blessing, was chosen as one of 7 finalists in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition.
Jo is a full-time screenwriter. Her first show, critically-acclaimed crime series Taken Down, aired in 2018. In 2021, she co-wrote Harry Wild, starring Jane Seymour, with its creator, Emmy-award winning David Logan (to air 2022). She is currently working on several international productions, including adaptations of her own novels.
A graduate of Trinity College, Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and four children.