The First To Lie by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Published August 4, 2020

Hardcover, 352 pages


(Thanks to the publishing company ARC)


Bestselling and award-winning author and investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan delivers another twisty, thrilling cat and mouse novel of suspense that will have you guessing, and second-guessing, and then gasping with surprise.

We all have our reasons for being who we are—but what if being someone else could get you what you want?

After a devastating betrayal, a young woman sets off on an obsessive path to justice, no matter what dark family secrets are revealed. What she doesn’t know—she isn’t the only one plotting her revenge.

An affluent daughter of privilege. A glamorous manipulative wannabe. A determined reporter, in too deep. A grieving widow who must choose her new reality. Who will be the first to lie? And when the stakes are life and death, do a few lies really matter?



The books starts out from “Nora’s” point of view, where we find out she is not actually Nora, which was a pretty interesting start. Then we pop over to “Ellie’s” point of view who is not who she says either, at least from what I gather in her first chapter. The air of mystery as to who these woman really are definitely had me hooked within the first two chapters. I’m a huge fan of alternating points of view chapters in mystery books in particular. I also have to mention that the chapters were on the shorter side, which is another big plus when it comes to mystery/thriller books. This makes me want to keep reading, especially the fact that most if not all of the chapters end on a cliff hanging point.

I love the fact that this book takes place in Boston, since that is where I’m from and all the landmarks named are quite familiar to me. Along with where the story is set I loved that we had unreliable narrators. Ellie and Nora were both liars in their own ways, for their own reasoning, all of which fit the drama of the story so well.

I guessed early on what at least one of the twists would be, but the story made me feel I was completely wrong and from then on I couldn’t trusts my instincts, it was perfect! All the side characters were great additions, they had me questioning their motives, I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone, including the main characters. Talk about feeling like you are on a rollercoaster ride! The ending was a complete shock even with the bits and pieces I figured out there was no way for me to see the true ending.

I, personally am a huge fan of this author, and tend to love every book more than the last, this book was no exception to that. The way the story unfolded and kept my interest is something I always expect from this author’s books. Overall I highly recommend this book is you are a fan of mystery/thriller reads, especially if you want one you can devour in one sitting. Not to mention the pacing throughout was pure perfection and made me never want to put the book down.



HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is a USA Today bestselling author of 12 thrillers, winning the most prestigious awards in the genre: five Agathas, three Anthonys, the Daphne, and the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. She is also on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV, with 37 EMMYs and dozens more journalism honors. Book critics call her “a master of suspense.” Her previous novel, THE MURDER LIST, is an Agatha, Anthony, Macavity and Mary Higgins Clark Award nominee. Hank’s newest novel: THE FIRST TO LIE. The Publishers Weekly starred review says “Stellar… Hank Phillippi Ryan could win a sixth Agatha with this one.”

Hank is a founder of MWA University and past president of National Sisters in Crime. Visit Hank online at, on Twitter @HankPRyan, on Instagram @hankpryan and on Facebook at HankPhillippiRyanAuthor

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