First Lie Wins: A Novel

Image of First Lie Wins: Reese's Book Club Pick (A Novel)
Release Date: 
January 9, 2024
Pamela Dorman Books
Reviewed by: 

“This is Ashley Elston’s debut adult novel and it’s a real page turner, so good you hate to turn the last page.”

“My mind splits, showing two different paths; This is definitely a crossroads moment,” recalls Lucca Marino alias Wendy Wallace alias Mia Blanchard and a whole long list of other names. “Taking the job Matt offers moved me deeper into the world but comes with the support that would make the feel of these cuffs biting into my wrist a distant memory. The other path requires me to go straight. To get out before I'm in any real trouble because as Saturday night proved, it will only be a matter of time before something else goes wrong.”

Lucca, known by the people in her life as Evie Porter when we meet her, chooses the darker path. She’s agreed to work with Matt and his boss, Mr. Smith. The latter is just a mechanically altered voice over the phone, a devious man who likes to play his operatives against each other, but the pay is very good, and Evie is an expert at her work. Her job? To take on another identity and infiltrate the mark’s life, securing the necessary information that Mr. Smith wants. Sometimes it’s so he can blackmail them, sometimes to take over their business, or steal some vital data.

As Evie, she starts a romance with Ryan, her latest victim. She isn’t sure what Mr. Smith wants from him; her instructions are parceled out over time. But she soon learns that Ryan, who invites her to live with him and meet his family and friends, is more than just a successful small town businessman who has taken over the family business. He’s somewhat shady, just as she is, helping move stolen goods.

But Evie has a heart, as she has proven in her other jobs, and now, she’s falling for Ryan and the nice life he has to offer. Unfortunately, no one easily leaves Mr. Smith’s business. It’s not exactly the kind of job you retire from as she finds out when several other operatives meet untimely deaths.

Whom do you trust? Evie is discovering that she doesn’t really know. Even Ryan may be more than a unwitting dupe, he may be in the plot to destroy her that Mr. Smith has put in place, framing her for a murder she didn’t commit.

First Lie Wins is the ultimate cat-and-mouse caper, leaving you guessing until all the loose ends are neatly tied up. This is Ashley Elston’s debut adult novel and it’s a real page turner, so good you hate to turn the last page.