Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
A teen is forced to make a fresh start after witnessing a violent crime—but love and danger find her anyway in this novel from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.
Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.
After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.
But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.
As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…
What I Liked:
I think this is probably my favorite Fitzpatrick book to date. I liked Hush, Hush (book one), but the rest of the series was very ehhh for me. I LOVED Black Ice, and I think I like Dangerous Lies just as much as Black Ice. They are two totally unrelated contemporary thriller/mystery novels, and both are excellent. Fitzpatrick shines in this genre!
Stella Gordon wasn't always Stella Gordon. She's in a witness protection program, and she's been shipped off to Thunder Basin, Nebraska, with a new name, new legal papers, and plenty of secrets. Her mother is in rehab, and Stella is hiding from the man who committed a horrible crime that Stella witnessed and will testify against. Stella's new life in Nebraska is rough, as she isn't planning on sticking around. But her "foster mother", cute neighbor, and Sunday sermons start to grow on Stella. Can she be safe in Thunder Basin? Is anywhere actually safe?
Stella is quite the brat in the beginning of the book, refusing to cooperate, pitching attitudes, arguing and retorting angrily at everyone. Which I totally understood - she had to say goodbye to her old life without actually saying goodbye. Her mother, her boyfriend, her house, her clothes, friends, phone, communication, life - all gone. So I personally felt for Stella, because if I were in her situation, I'd probably be just as angry and uncooperative. Her old life is gone, never coming back. As the story goes on, Stella's character develops and grows, and I like her still. She's so spunky and prickly, taking no crap from anyone, especially not from Carmina, the woman she's staying with, or Chet Falconer, the boy who mows Stella's lawn and is way too ruggedly sexy for his own good.
Chet is such an important character in this book, and not just as a love interest. Stella has - had - a boyfriend, Reed, who is also in a separate witness protection program. Stella can never go back to him, but she's still loyal to him, and doesn't want to get close to Chet. Too late - he becomes her closest friend in Thunder Basin, and they fall for each other. Chet is a good guy, taking care of his younger brother, working hard on ranches and with cattle. He's rugged, cowboy-esque, and totally drool-worthy. He's also a sweet, thoughtful guy. I'm rethinking my position on cowboys. All those cowboy romance novels, and now Chet - maybe I need to make a trip out West for a spell...
The setting - Nebraska is so country! Chet is basically a cowboy (which I found to be pretty hot). I love how authentic the West feels! Fitzpatrick really did her research with the setting of this book. I could visualize just about everything!
The suspense/thriller part of this book is SO well-written. I'm not really sure how to describe the genre of this book, but whatever it is, it's great. Fitzpatrick did a great job of writing this one so that we feel Stella's desperation in being forced into this program, her feeling of lack of safety, her anger at her mother. The tension and insecurity of this book increases as the novel goes on, having me on pins and needles. Someone wants to hurt Stella, and it might not only be the man she's testifying against. Chills are breaking out!
But there is also a sweet romance in this novel, probably one of my favorite romances of the year. Stela and Chet are the sweetest, steamiest couple. They're friends, but the chemistry between them is fire. And when they collide... boom. Stella tries to keep them as just friends (she's still thinking of her boyfriend, as well as she doesn't want to drag Chet into her mess), but it doesn't work. They fall for each other, and it's pretty sweet, cute, and hot all at once!
There is one secret that is kept from the reader throughout the entire novel, until the climax. I love how Fitzpatrick did that! We know something is odd about the murder, but we don't know what. I like how the author kept that from us, even if many other secrets were being revealed throughout the story. Stella has her own secrets, besides the witness protection program and a new identity...
The climax of this story is heart-pounding, the kind that has you at the edge of your seat. All the players come out, and Stella is in a constant state of fear, and in danger. She's concerned for herself, Chet, Carmina, and in the end, something will have to give. The conclusion is so fast-paced, in your face, high stakes, insanity. But it's a good ending, a satisfying one, which I am really happy about. There are so many ways that Fitzpatrick could have made this book's ending really tragic or heartbreaking or dissatisfying. Thank goodness for a HEA!
Ehhh. Hmm. I wanted a little more of a conclusion for a secondary plot involving Dusty, Chet's younger brother. I guess we get a resolution to his story, but it could have been more fleshed out. Or maybe I'm being picky.
Would I Recommend It:
I loved this book, and I highly recommend it, especially to those who enjoy thriller/mystery/suspense types. It's more than a contemporary novel, and the romance isn't the most important part of the book. The heroine is tough, the hero is swoony and hot and protective and sweet, and the story is really engrossing with such high stakes and thick tension. Seriously one of the best contemporary novels I've read this year!
4.5 stars. I'll round down to 4 stars but really, it's a 4.5-star read. I could see myself picking this one up and rereading it - which is pretty rare (I have no time for rereads these days)! Between this one and Black Ice, I'm really enjoying Fitzpatrick's contemporary!
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