First Lie Wins
The deviously addictive MUST-READ debut thriller for 2024
by Ashley Elston
You must sign in to see if this title is available for request. Sign In or Register Now
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add firstname.lastname@example.org as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 2 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 23 Jan 2024
You meet a stranger at a party. She looks like you, sounds like you. Even has your name...
'The best cat and mouse suspense I've read. I'm still breathless' LISA GARDNER
'I devoured it. Absolutely brilliant' HEIDI PERKS
'Unexpected and pacy. A brilliant central character' HARRIET TYCE
'A clever, cool high-stakes now-you-see-me-now-you-don't thriller' A J FINN
'An absolute CRACKER of a book' RACHEL ABBOTT
** MAJOR TV SERIES OF FIRST LIE WINS IN DEVELOPMENT **
Everything she is about to tell them is a lie...
Evie Porter has everything a girl could want: a doting boyfriend, a house with a picket fence, a fun group of friends.
The only catch: Evie Porter doesn't exist.
First comes the identity. Once she's given a name and location by her employer, she learns everything there is to know about the town and the people in it.
Then the mark: Ryan Sumner.
The last piece of the puzzle is the job. For Evie, this job feels different. Ryan has gotten under her skin and she's started to picture another kind of life for herself - one where her boss doesn't pull the strings.
But Evie can't make any mistakes. Because the one thing she's worked her entire life to keep clean, the one identity she could always go back to - her real identity - just walked right into this town. A woman, who looks just like her, has stolen her name - and she wants more. As Evie's past begins to catch up with her, can she stay
one step ahead to save her future?
'Clever, twisty, and suspenseful. Kept me on my toes right up to the conclusion' DIANE CHAMBERLAIN
'As emotionally moving as it is gripping. I loved every minute' MARY KUBICA
'Smart, fast-paced and twisty... kept me on the edge of my seat' MEGAN MIRANDA
'Will consume you... I devoured it' JULIE CLARK
'The most suspenseful game of deception I've ever read. Brilliant' ELLE COSIMANO
'Outstanding! An ingenious, unforgettable cat and mouse thriller' WENDY WALKER
'A suspenseful and taut page-turner that is impossible to put down' MEGAN SHEPHERD
Real readers are enthralled by this electrifying thriller:
'Suspense fans rejoice - this is phenomenal'
'Heartpounding . . . Definitely one of the best books this year'
'OMG . . . I was immediately sucked in'
'A thrilling ride from start to finish'
'Kept me guessing until the end'
'Twisty and engaging'
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 250 members
I was so looking for a different genre of book than I usually read to share with our readers. I loved the aspect of creating a new life for herself, but f course that comes with consequences. I was so excited and interested to read how this story panned out and I certainly wasn’t disappointed! This would make a great book club read or a book to be optioned for film…Reese Witherspoon are you listening! Perfect suspense read
First Lie Wins is addictive, each chapter unravels another part of the protagonist's past life and adds to her jigsaw.
Lucca is sent on an assignment by her boss Mr. Smith (Lucca does not know the identity of Mr. Smith) and she is currently in a relationship with Ryan. Lucca never knows where she will be sent or what her assginment is until she receives a message on a burner phone from Mr Smith.
The book opens with Lucca (going by the name of Evie) meeting Ryan's friends for the first time. Unbeknownst to Ryan and his friends - Evie is hiding lots of secrets - but so is Ryan.
The story is told from multiple perspectives but always from Lucca's where she is posing as an alias, completing an assignment for Mr Smith.
It's a pyschological thriller which keeps you on the edge of your seat. Elston knows how to write well, she has developed a really interesting plot with a fabulous (i didnt see it coming) twist at the end.
This is an intriguing thriller that I didn’t fully appreciate until I reached the end and then the story was stuck in my head for a time after! This has a highly unusual plot line as the main character is a bit of a grifter, working false identities to achieve different underhand challenges for her mysterious boss Mr Smith. This time the main character is ‘Evie’ and she’s under pressure to achieve her latest task due to her failure to complete the previous one, when a doppelgänger arrives in the neighbourhood who has her true identity she knows she’s in real trouble and whilst you think you can understand how deep she’s in it you’ve actually no idea what’s really happening. This is very much about the long game which is pulled together by chapters telling of jobs she’s undertaken in the past tier in with the dramatic time she’s currently experiencing. This is brilliantly woven together and the ending is fantastic due to this. 9/10
What a superb book that I found captivating. I loved the whole approach by Ashley Easton that kept going backwards and forwards in the time frame and then to end with the present time. Each part so neatly folded into the other making it an easy read but still needed some concentration to understand the mind that was solving problems all the time. A premise of always taking on a new identity was so fluidly written and each person that was Lucca through into Evie were so clearly described that it was easy to believe they were real.
The characters, the scenery, all the events and emotions were all so clearly written that they could all be imagined.
I look forward to reading more by this incredible author.
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC! The publication date is the 9th January 2024. I will also leave this review my Instagram blog- https://instagram.com/mcbookshelf?igshid=MmIzYWVlNDQ5Yg=
This is the first book I’ve read from this author and it was nothing short of amazing, it’s everything you want in a psychological thriller. The suspense within the book had me hooked dying to know what would happen next there were lots of twists and turns that kept me on my toes!
The characters were likeable and very well written my favourite character was a Evie as I would wonder what would happen next for her. After, I read this book I thought about it for a while after as really stuck in my head.
Overall, a fantastic read and if you read this book you definitely won’t be disappointed! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read!
Loved loved loved! This is absolutely not what you will be expecting and I'm promising it will be one of the most unique and original thrillers you'll have read this year. The characters are well written and were got such an flawed but incredibly intelligent female protagonist who it's impossible not to root for! There's suspense, drama, romance, and oh so many lies! Absolutely amazing
This was excellent - one of the best books I've read this year. A great plot and very very clever. I look forward to her future books.
I found this book a little hard to connect with initially, but as I persevered I became engrossed in the amazing way the author wove the storylines together. Such a cleverly written piece I highly recommend.
Absolutely brilliant! Full review to come closer to publication, as I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC of this wild ride of a book. The characters kept me on my toes throughout, and the way the plot unfolded was masterfully done. Needless to say AE shall be added to my auto buy list
My new favourite author! I really enjoyed this book. So cleverly written with detailed plot twists and most I could never have guessed! Characters were well written and the storyline was intelligent. I can definitely see this one on the big screen and would be a big hit! Incredible!
An excellent read with an intelligent plot full of twists and turns.
Believable characters that felt authentic and sharp astute writing.
Thoroughly enjoyed it and it kept me guessing throughout.
Loved it ! Took me a little while to get used to the back and forths in history but a very gripping story and great characters. A couple of nice twists at the end keep you guessing and I’d love to see a sequel.
I loved this book! I read it fast and late into the nights over a couple of days, and found myself telling my 21-year-old daughter about parts of it as I went along. The first part builds the suspense and the 'what's going on beautifully, with Evie obviously lying and plotting but revealing no real clue as to why. In the second part, ALL the 'what ifs' I'd come up with were blown to smithereens and Evie's secret identity begins to become clearer, layered up by more intrigue as to what new boyfriend Ryan might be keeping secret. Although both seem to be lying about something, their relationship feels truer than Evie had intended it to be, but we still don't find out WHY Evie is pretending to be something she's not. This is a book so full of twists and layers you'd almost get whiplash, and even near the end, when I suspected who the mysterious Mr Smith, Evie's boss, might really be, and the book seemed as if it was about to prove me right, another twist comes up and I was wrong again. Every single twist took me by surprise while still seeming perfectly plausible and fully explained. I will highly recommend this book to everyone I know and seek out more from this author. This felt like something new and different, told skillfully by an accomplished writer and storyteller.
This was such an amazing book, l cannot praise it highly enough. I really struggled to put it down.The storyline was mind blowing, so complex and exceptionally well constructed, that you never knew who the good and the bad guys were, or how it all fitted together. I loved the way it seamlessly covered all the back story’s. Evie was such a clever and complex character, I just loved following her through all her ‘jobs’, but right until the end I had no idea what the end would be. So rewarding, this book has everything. I would love to see it as a film eventually. If this is the debut adult fiction novel I cannot wait for the next one.
First Lie Wins is a cracker of a novel, and will keep you at the edge of your seat with every page. I finished this book in one go, I could not put it down!
Probably the most enjoyable book I have read so far this year.
The author has conjured up a remarkable story of false identities and throws the reader on and off course in so many ways. Breathtakingly audacious but also perfectly constructed with no redundant plot lines or characters.
My grateful thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to receive an ARC of this exceptional book.
This was my first novel by this author and the premise immediately drew me in.
Evie Porter has everything....however she doesn't exist. What we learn quickly is that Evie is a woman with many faces and identities, covertly moving from job to job in service to an unknown employer. Throughout the novel we are drip fed the backstory to Evie's life as well as moving forward in the present day. The book does get slightly over-complicated in my opinion however it doesn't take away from what I think is a well-written book, clever plot and pacing and a satisfying conclusion.
Thanks to Netgalley and Headline for an ARC in exchange for an honest review
This was a fab read that I raced through. We’ll paced and easy to read I was completely transported for a few hours
this book is so addictive. Evie Porter has fallen in love with Ryan Summer they move in together. his friends think it is too fast. but Evie has secrets and so does Ryan. I can't say much otherwise spoilers. Evie is a very clever lady. who will do anything to better herself?the plot has so many twists and turns once you start you won't want to stop an amazing addictive read.
What a corker of a book. Absolutely spellbinding! It took me a while to really get in to it but once I did I couldn’t stop reading. Such a very, very clever and complicated plot, and it makes you wonder how on earth did the author think all this lot up?! As the story progresses, more and more twists are thrown in and unravelled so that you have to forget what you already thought you knew. Such a complex web – it almost gave me headache! Fantastic, and I loved Evie and Devon – and the ending. Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read one of this year’s best thrillers. Here’s hoping there’s a sequel.
What a fabulous read. Really different storyline and lots of twists and turns. Couldn’t put it down. Just sad that, when they make into a film, I’ll know how the plot unfolds. Likeable characters and an engaging storyline. Can’t wait to read more by this author !
What a thriller of a book. Excellent writing and a book to keep you on the edge.
How one person wants to make her life better after her mother died when she was so young. The book's real thriller of cat and mouse flits from present day to past events effortsley and really engages you as a reader.
The main question who is Mr Smith? I thought I had this one sorted quite early on, but as the general trend in the book I was wrong.
This book would make an excellent drama program.
Thank you Netgalley for letting me read this. A new author for me to follow with interest.
Brilliant novel. Unusual, psychological thriller but brilliantly written by an author I´ve not read before but will certainly be looking out for in future. Extremely clever storyline. Don´t want to give anything away, but I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.
My thanks to NetGalley and Headline for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy in return for an honest review.
This book is incredibly captivating. Evie Porter finds herself deeply enamoured with Ryan Summer, prompting them to take the bold step of moving in together. While Ryan's friends express concern over the speed of their relationship, both Evie and Ryan harbour hidden secrets.
The narrative is a rollercoaster of twists and turns that ensnare you from the very beginning, making it nearly impossible to put the book down. The story revolves around Evie's relentless pursuit of a better life after losing her mother at a young age. The book masterfully weaves between present-day events and past occurrences, seamlessly engaging the reader.
Evie is a brilliantly intricate character, and I relished following her through all her endeavours. However, right up to the very end, I had no inkling of how the story would conclude. The book is incredibly fulfilling, encompassing a wide range of elements.
The storyline is mind-bogglingly intricate and expertly crafted, leaving you constantly questioning who the heroes and villains are, and how everything fits together. I particularly enjoyed the seamless incorporation of backstories. I can't praise this book enough. I found it incredibly hard to put the book down and felt a real sense of a disappointment when my adventures with Evie came to an end.
I loved every moment of this book. Twisty, turny, exciting and thrilling. The plot is amazing, a well set out and choreographed dance of players. I nearly reached for a white board and dry marker to set up something like the tv crime boards with all the characters and lines to each with their details and dates. Even then I'd have missed a few of the twists. I loved Evie, and Ryan too, I was willing him not to be a bad guy. the other characters, Devon, a sweetie, Rachel, "Go Rachel!" George, I really wanted to trust him! And I can't say anything more, it is too deep, too complicated, to intriguingly interwoven. Too wonderful! Yes, I got some of the twists but a few genuinely made me jump. Just an incredible, well written and planned out thriller. WOW! More please!!
This is a brilliant, twisty suspense novel which kept me guessing all the way through. The pacing is spot on, and somehow Elston has made deeply flawed characters immensely likeable, so you can't help but root for Evie, and the situation she finds herself in. All too often, books like this just miss the mark in the ending, but this was an incredibly satisfying conclusion. Totally a recommended read.
From the first page the characters leap out at you and the chapter by chapter reveals of Evie's past life, real identity and secret missions keep the pages turning.
Very cleverly plotted out from 2 points of view the twists seem obvious at first then the complexity of the situation reveals itself in a mind blowing ending!
Love love love this book! Fantastically written! Kept me guessing and as for the characters, so much description and depth to them - really understood why things were done! Will be looking forward to reading Ashley Elston’s future books!
Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book. It was the best book I’ve read so far this year. Absolutely brilliant well written story. The storyline and characters were fantastic. I was kind of thrown near the end as I thought it was one person and yet turned out to be someone totally different. As in Mr Smith. Definetly worth 5 stars and more. I loved it. It was a brilliant, brilliant book.
Amazing! The best book I've read this year. I'd never heard of the author before but the synopsis interested me. I'm very glad I picked it. Thank you to the publishers and NetGallery for the advanced copy.
This is a fast paced thriller that keeps you gripped from the very first page. The lead character is not who everyone thinks she is... who is she? You won't be able to stop reading until you find out. Even though I guessed the big twist it didn't make the story any less enjoyable.
I will definitely be looking out for more books by the author.
Absolutely compelling read. This was an amazing story of so many twists and turns. It rook me a while to realised what was going on with Evie. This really did keep me guessing just when you think you have it worked out there is another twist. Brilliant.
Oh this was AMAZING!!!
Right from the start you know that you're dealing with an unreliable and untrustworthy protagonist and it just keeps getting better and better.
This is one of those rare books with so many twists and turns I defy anyone to predict them all and it's all brought together in such a deliciously satisfying manner.
If you love thrillers then you absolutely MUST read this!
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC without obligation.
Loved this book, the twists and turns really made me think. It wasn’t violent and gory (although there was loss of life) just a really intriguing thriller. It was also very readable and with some great characters.
Great book! Full of suspense. A really clever story that kept me hooked all the way to the end.
I would highly recommend.
I love a twisty narrative - when you’re trying to work out who are the good guys and who are the bad, who isn’t the person they claim to be and what their motives are and that’s what you get here. A well developed plot line with some hints (I guessed who George was from the start). Likeable characters, particularly Evie/Lucca and a believable narrative voice. I’d definitely read books by this writer again.
This book is a very different take on the running of a con. The heroine finds a way to survive in this cut throat world. Very well written. A real page turner and look forward to the authors next book.
This was a fabulous book. Quirky and different, it was a fresh change from other thrillers. The plot certainly kept me thinking. I look forward to more from this author. Highly recommended. Thanks to Author, Publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
First Lie Wins is a very original storyline, full of suspense and intrigue. It is very well writtem if a bit of a jigsaw which you have to put together, but even then i doubt you'll get there before the end of the book.
I loved it and can well imagine it benig made into a film or television series.
My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for introducing me to a very promising author.
Lucca Marino was a loving daughter, she would do practically anything to buy the medication for her mother's cancer. Her skills as a small time thief brought her to the attention of a man who wanted to exploit and enhance her talents for his purposes. What follows next are a series of 'stings', very embedded and complex, entertaining too. Lucca is bright too and realises her worth but she is wise enough to know she could become a liability too. The 'man', a Mr Smith is clever too and seems to have eyes everywhere. It's almost a game of cat and mouse.
Will she get out alive?
First Lie Wins is a very cleverly conceived thriller. I cannot recall anything quite like it. I give it my thorough recommendation.
Such an exciting book. Eve Porter seems to have everything you could want in life , house, garden, loving boyfriend etc but then the reader discovers that she has been placed in that life by her mysterious boss. She isn't sure why she was asked to inveigle herself into this person's life, there is always a reason. Getting information is the usual one or saving someone from blackmail, that kind of thing. Eventually she decides to find out her boss's identity to try to extricate herself from the situation. Too many people die once they have served their purpose and Eve doesn't want to be one of them. A tense game is played out with the reader unable to put the book down!! I loved it in case you can't tell :)
This book really surprised me, was not expecting to like it as much as I did. Brilliant storyline which kept me guessing. Different from anything I have read before. The characters were brilliant and jumped out of the page. Definitely a page turner
With many thanks to Netgalley and Headline books for this free arc and I am leaving this unbiased review voluntarily
Well this might just be the best book I’ve read all year. An absolute rollercoaster of a book with a plot that is just so clever. Perfectly executed and very well written, with so many twists and turns and a pace that moves at a million miles per hour. An absolute page turner that you can’t and don’t want to put down and that early twist at the beginning sets the tone for the rest of the book. An addictive and ingenious 5⭐️ read
This is the first book I have read by Ashley Elston, and it did not disappoint. I really enjoyed reading this book. The characters were interesting, the story line in itself keeps you on your toes, I found it unpredictable, and the pace of the book keeps you wanting to read more.
Evie Porters life at present is everything she could have wanted, the boyfriend, the house, friends, she has come a long way from humble beginnings. The only problem is that Evie and her life is a lie.
Evies job entails her playing different roles in order to insert herself into the lives of others in order to gain information for her boss Mr. Smith. The pay is good, and Evie has no problem in changing roles once her current job is completed.
However, she is enjoying her present life, and not looking forward to the time she will need to give it up to change roles. Then, the unexpected happens. While out with her boyfriend, Ryan, they meet an old friend of Ryans and the woman he is with. Ryan introduces his friend, James, and James in turn introduces his date. Evie is shocked to hear that his date has Evies original name, comes from the same place as Evie originally came from, went to the same school as Evie did, in short, told details of Evies life as her own.
This ensures that Evie can never go back to her original life, someone else has claimed it, just as she claims others lives.
This book is full of suspense as Evie tries to find out who this woman is, and why she has claimed Evies life. There are secrets and lies galore, and a plot that twists and turns, until an explosive ending. A compelling read.
I love it when a book takes you by surprise - and I loved this. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop - it was so unique and so addictive. The plot is so clever and well thought out. It does get slightly complex towards the end but in the best possible way. There's a reason for everything and ultimately everything makes sense. I loved how the plot unfolded, never guessed or even suspected Mr Smith's identity and the ending was everything I wanted. I also loved main character Evie - smart, warm and badass. Apparently this is the author's first foray into adult fiction from YA but hopefully not her last as one of the most unpredictable, fast-paced, entertaining thrillers I've read all year. I can not recommend it enough.
Loved loved loved it! I couldn’t put it down and every chapter kept me wanting more!
A really good and well written read from this author. I would love to read more if it’s written as well as this one!
This is a great book!
The plot is clever, the characters felt authentic and relatable... despite being all very shady I could empathise with them on some level. The mystery builds slowly in a crescendo of things that don't add up, until the big blow when the 'true' Lucca meets the 'new' Lucca. Honestly I couldn't get my head around what was actually happening and why and had to stay awake late at night just to find out!
The plot was complex but not difficult to follow, very cleverly built and with a few twists (none of which I was able to predict) that kept me glued to the sofa. And the ending was very satisfying, I very glad all characters got what they deserved.
A must read for thriller fans!
Thank you Netgalley and Headline for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
I absolutely loved the cat and mouse chase vibes in this book. I love a twisty thriller so this was right up my street!
Wow. Twisty, clever, gripping, great story and characters that felt real, I couldn't put this down. Evie is working for Mr Smith but she is falling for her latest mark and nothing is feeling right - especially when a woman arrives at a party saying she is Lycra - Evie,a original name. Brilliant and original thriller - just buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Readers who liked this book also liked:
Rick Riordan; Mark Oshiro
Children's Fiction, LGBTQIA, Teens & YA