A Game of Lies

A Novel

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Pub Date Apr 23 2024 | Archive Date Apr 30 2024
SOURCEBOOKS Landmark | Sourcebooks Landmark

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From New York Times bestselling author Clare Mackintosh.

They say the camera never lies.

But on this show, you can't trust anything you see.

Stranded in the Welsh mountains, seven reality show contestants have no idea what they've signed up for.

Each of these strangers has a secret. If another player can guess the truth, they won't just be eliminated - they'll be exposed live on air. The stakes are higher than they'd ever imagined, and they're trapped.

The disappearance of a contestant wasn't supposed to be part of the drama. Detective Ffion Morgan has to put aside what she's watched on screen, and find out who these people really are - knowing she can't trust any of them.

And when a murderer strikes, Ffion knows every one of her suspects has an alibi . . . and a secret worth killing for.

From New York Times bestselling author Clare Mackintosh.

They say the camera never lies.

But on this show, you can't trust anything you see.

Stranded in the Welsh mountains, seven reality show...

Advance Praise

"Packed with suspects, twists and turns, A Game of Lies is Clare Mackintosh at her best." —ALEX MICHAELIDES

"Twisty and clever. Another deeply enjoyable mystery from a talented storyteller." —KARIN SLAUGHTER

"Great fun—clever plot, engaging characters and smart, sharp writing." —SHARI LAPENA

"A brilliantly plotted whodunnit." —SARAH PEARSE

"Dark, devilish, witty and wonderful. Filled with humor and heart." — CHRIS WHITAKER

"A clever plot, a glorious setting, engaging characters and buckets of tension." —BA PARIS

"Ffion is the sparky bilingual cop you didn't know you needed . . . Another hit!" —LIZ NUGENT

"Packed with suspects, twists and turns, A Game of Lies is Clare Mackintosh at her best." —ALEX MICHAELIDES

"Twisty and clever. Another deeply enjoyable mystery from a talented storyteller." —KARIN...

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781728296500
PRICE $27.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 333 members

Featured Reviews

Seven excited contestants gather on a remote mountainside location in Snowdonia, Wales. The reality show they’ve been selected for is called Exposure and they expect to show their wilderness survival skills to win a cash prize. However, cocky producer Miles Young has something else in store for them. Each has a deeply hidden, shameful secret and if the other contestants can guess it, they will be eliminated. There is also a challenge involving spiders, snakes and the like. When this shift is revealed on the first episode, it’s too much for one contestant. He runs away, choosing the bleak mountain surroundings over perceived humiliation. Enter DC Ffion Morgan and her overly large dog Dave. Ffion is a perfect choice to head the search for the missing contestant. She speaks Welsh, knows the countryside and the local people working on the show. She’s the wrong choice because she’s stubborn, independent and annoyed at having to work with Leo Brady, hiding her interest in him. Ffion realizes that there is more hidden on the set of Exposure than the contestants’ secrets. Will she solve the case before this situation explodes?

An atmospheric location, well described quirky characters and a plot full of twists and surprises make A Game of Lies a must read. This is the second in a series by the talented Claire Mackintosh but can be read as a standalone. Put this on the top of your TBR stack! 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, Sourcebooks Landmark and Claire Mackintosh for this ARC.

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I first discovered this author from her book "Hostage" which to this day still is my absolute favorite. However, this is definitely a close second. This is the second book is a series starring Detective Fifon and Leo. Ahh, I missed these two, and that ending! There HAS to be another book, but at least we know their fate.

This was such an interesting concept and I think way more thrillers need to have a reality TV element because this reality TV show was pure entertainment but contestants worst nightmare. Needless to say, I won't be signing up for any reality TV shows. The editing, the backstabbing, the betrayals, it's a perfect mix to add a murder. Why not? And that's exactly what happens. There are two different mysteries going on and lots of red herrings!

One of the mysteries involving a contestant named Ryan highlights the fragility of mental health and how reality tv can make it that much worse. Also it brings into light, the delicate balance and need for entertainment for viewers while protecting contestants from mental breakdowns.

This was a great thriller and a great commentary on reality TV. Excellent novel and I can't wait to read the next mystery in this series!


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Mixed reviews that claim some readers didn't enjoy the mystery as much as the first book or couldn't connect with the reality show contest characters don't sway my five-star (rounded up from four and a half) rating. My inner romantic compelled me to give this rating, overriding my usual thriller-seeking, puzzle-loving, mystery-nerd self. That ending brought such a deep smile to my face that, as you reach it, most readers will likely agree with me.

Of course, I can readily give five stars to any book written by the brilliant author Clare Mackintosh, as she's an auto-approved author for me.

Let's not forget how, from the moment I read the first DC Morgan book, I fell in love with Cwm Coed, a small fishing town nestled between Wales and England. I adore the vivid, realistic characters, the peculiar, eccentric, complex family dynamics of Ffion (I adored her Mam Ellen Morgan and wished we could see more of her in this book), her unresolved feelings with her ex, and her fiery new love relationship with DS Leo Brady, which might be sabotaged by her own insecurities.

After the earth-shattering end of the first book, the story continues a few weeks forward from where we left off, with Ffion adopting Dave, a very needy, couch-eating, people-jumping, fart-bombing, humongous dog from the shelter. DC George Kent, an introverted, closed-book, work-oriented woman, has recently transferred to their team as DS Leo starts dating a very pushy lady and tries to spend more time with his son. He erases Ffion's number after she didn't return his dinner invite, as we remember from the end of the first book (but also remember what Ffion was dealing with when she received the text). It seems like their lives are moving forward in separate ways until they meet in another case related to one of the highest-rated reality shows, "Exposure." Seven contestants have signed up and are trapped in the Welsh mountains, each with ugly, dirty secrets that could ruin their lives if exposed. The producer, Miles Young, the founder of Young Production, chose the contestants without giving them information about the secret revelation part and made them sign a contract that restricts them from leaving the competition. Now they are stuck in a place where their entire futures are at stake. As if this circumstance isn't frightening enough, they also have to face their fears in a pond, including falling snakes and spiders if they refuse to come clean about the truth.

Ffion and George pay a visit to the Exposure camp to examine the bones found around the campsite. But Ffion finds herself involved in the competition because her sister/daughter Seren is dating a young production assistant, Caleb. The contestants also pique her interest, including Ffion's drinking buddy, postal worker Ceri Jones, who is competing against Pam Butler, an authoritative headteacher, Aliyah Brown, a beautiful childcare practitioner, Jason Shenton, a flirting, charming firefighter, Henry Moore, a tall, dark-haired, wise accountant, Lucas Taylor, the reverend with dark secrets, and Ryan Francis, a man with a troubled past. When one of the contestants goes missing before the revelation process, turning it into a murder mystery, the authorities get involved in the investigation. Leo joins the team as the lead investigator, making things extra challenging for both Ffion and him. Their unresolved feelings lead them to act like stubborn, immature children who make false assumptions about each other, while George is caught in the middle of their hot-cold war. The focus on the investigation turns it into an enigmatic murder case with many motives but no suspects. Anyone could go to great lengths to prevent their secrets from coming out or to avenge the person who already ruined their life. But who did it? The clock is ticking, everyone is a suspect, and most of them have iron-clad alibis. How will Ffion, Leo, and George piece together the complex puzzle to find the perpetrator?

I thoroughly enjoyed the well-constructed, twisty murder mystery and the structure that goes back and forth to reveal the secrets and motives each contestant carries and acts upon. The different perspectives shed light on hidden clues within the chapters, keeping us guessing. I appreciated the writing style, and the characters already feel like close friends. Plus, my romantic inclinations swayed my opinion. I can't wait for the next book in the series. By the way, George Kent is an impressive, fresh character, and learning more about her backstory at the end made me love her even more. I'm definitely looking forward to getting to know her better in the next book.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for sharing this amazing book's digital reviewer copy with me in exchange for my honest thoughts.

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MacKinnon knows how to pace a perfectly thrilling story - even in a small Welsh town with limited suspects.

In Game of Lies, we visit Ffion again in her small Welsh town. Ffion Morgan is hanging on to her detective job by a thread and still harboring a flame for Leo. Her squad is called out to a the set of a reality show to investigate.

It's a bare bones set but the 8 actors/stars have been signed under false pretenses and the few staff on hand have their hands full when one of the actors disappears.

Ffion has to juggle all of her complex relationships - with her office, her ex, her love and her daughter/sister and mom as she tries to locate the man before the worst happens.

Completely believable, endlessly bingeable, I cannot wait for what happens next to Ffion! #AGameofLies #ClareMackintosh #Sourcebooks

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy of this book.

7 contestants are stranded in the Welsh mountains for a new reality show. Each of them has a secret they don’t want exposed. The aim of the game is to reveal somebody else’s secret while keeping your own. Then a contestant goes missing and Ffion Morgan is on the case, supervised by her should be boyfriend Leo and chaperoned by her dog Dave.

Loved this. The contestants were spoiled and not particularly nice people. I found myself rooting for them to be exposed and eliminated from the show. The book had so many red herrings and the ending was teased out. Ffion is a great character. She seems totally disorganised, disregards rules but is good at her job. She’s a strong woman and I hope there are more books to come. Especially after that cliffhanger!

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A Game of Lies returns us to Wales and DC Ffion Morgan, this time to investigate a missing person who walked away from a reality TV show being filmed nearby. Contestants had been lured by the promise of a survival-type reality show, only to find out that it was actually about exposing major lies in their lives. Now the suspension builds to see whose lie will be exposed next and which one will lead to murder.

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