The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain #bookreview @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks @1stMondayCrime

On my blog today I’m sharing my review of the latest psychological thriller by Jo Spain, The Perfect Lie. Jo is one of the authors who will be appearing on the First Monday Crime Panel on Monday, 7th June 2021. I’ll have all the details about who will be appearing and how you can access the event at the end of this post. But first let’s find out more about The Perfect Lie.


He jumped to his death in front of witnesses. Now his wife is charged with murder.

Five years ago, Erin Kennedy moved to New York following a family tragedy. She now lives happily with her detective husband in the scenic seaside town of Newport, Long Island. When Erin answers the door to Danny’s police colleagues one morning, it’s the start of an ordinary day. But behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.

Eighteen months later, Erin is in court, charged with her husband’s murder. Over that year and a half, Erin has learned things about Danny she could never have imagined. She thought he was perfect. She thought their life was perfect.

But it was all built on the perfect lie.


I’m a huge fan of Jo Spain’s books, and I couldn’t wait to get started on her latest. The Perfect Lie is one of the most gripping books I’ve read this year. It’s addictive, clever and so well plotted. I devoured it in just a couple of sittings.

The pace and tension is excellent, and the taut writing keeps the book flying forward. We meet Erin, a publisher, who has moved to America from Ireland. She falls in love with a police detective, Danny, and they marry. Five years later, Erin is left devastated when Danny throws himself to his death when police detectives visit them at their home. Still grappling with what has happened, Erin is horrified when eighteen months later, she is on trial for his murder.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding Danny’s death which I wanted to get to the bottom of. Erin’s frustration comes through very clearly as she tries to make sense of the man she thought she knew well. But it appears that he was keeping secrets from her. Why did he feel as though he had to end things this way? What prompted him to kill himself? Erin fights to get answers to this, and as she gets closer to understanding why he did what he did, she uncovers some uncomfortable truths. Like Erin, I had to know if what she found out about him was true; I didn’t know who to believe.

Jo Spain also takes us back to 2016 at Harvard University, where we meet Lauren and Ally, two students. It’s not clear when we first meet them how their story connects to Erin’s life in the present. I wanted to know how this was going to be weaved together, and Jo Spain does this in a very clever way. I had no idea how the plot was going to unfold as I was reading. It’s what kept questions ticking over in my mind as well, as I tried to work out what was really going on with Danny and what he was involved in.

Jo Spain keeps the tension turning up a notch as the book races towards its finale, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I was utterly gripped; once you start it, I guarantee you will not want to put this book down. It’s the perfect book which you could happily lose a Sunday afternoon too. I highly, highly recommend this book; you don’t want to miss it!

Publisher: Quercus

Publication date: 13th May 2021

Print length: 400 pages

The Perfect Lie is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones


If you would like to tune in to watch Jo Spain talk about her book and her writing, you can do so via the First Monday Crime Facebook page. The event is being live streamed on Facebook from 19.30 p.m. UK time. Alongside Jo we also have appearing, Imran Mahmood author of I Know What I Saw, Dorothy Koomson, author of I Know What You’ve Done and Patricia Marques, author of The Colour of Death. To access the event please click on the link below which will take you through to the First Monday Crime Facebook page.

First Monday Crime

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain Book Review @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks


Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.

In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good.

There’s just one problem.

Olive Collins’ dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.

The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive’s neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.


Dirty Little Secrets is an excellent example of how to write a psychological thriller. I remember being totally gripped by Jo Spain’s previous novel The Confession last year, so I jumped at the chance to read her second and I dived into it straight away; Jo Spain has delivered another brilliant book. Told from the perspectives of residents within a tight-knit community it makes for an utterly compulsive read that I could not put down.

The gated community known as Withered Vale is a collection of exclusive properties for the very wealthy. At the beginning of the book, one of the residents, Olive Collins, is found dead, but here’s the thing, her body was left rotting away in her house for three months before it was discovered. How could anyone not have checked on her in all that time, or realised that something was wrong? Already I could feel the tension as I wondered which of the neighbours knew something about Olive’s death and if any of them had played a part in it.

This book really will make you examine your own neighbours just that little more closely. Within such a small, tight-knit space there are some very different characters, who all have their own sets of problems. And it becomes very clear that none of them were particularly keen on Olive. So was one of them responsible for her death?

Jo Spain gets to know the psychology of her character’s really well, as I was reading I had suspicions of just about all of them. We also get to hear from Olive’s perspective, I found this unusual at first, because at this point, she is already dead, but as I got into the story, I thought it worked really well. We often don’t get to hear from the perspectives of victim’s in crime novels, so this is what made Dirty Little Secrets a really interesting read. I’m sure Olive is a character who will provoke strong opinions among readers.

This is an excellent, character-driven novel that I am a big, big fan of. Jo Spain has leapt onto my list of must-read authors. She creates a real sense that everyone in this book is hiding something and I just had to know what the truth was.

Thank you to Quercus Books and Netgalley for providing me with an advance review copy.

Publisher: Quercus

Publication date: 7th February 2019

Print length: 416 pages

If you would like to purchase Dirty Little Secrets, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

The Confession by Jo Spain blog tour

Source: Review Copy


Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?



Wow, The Confession by Jo Spain is a top-notch psychological thriller; I was lost for words after I finished this book. If you’re looking for a hard-hitting, nail-biting thriller, The Confession is the book for you.

On the front cover of the book, the publishers tell you: you find out who did it on the very first page, on the last page you’ll find out why. Jo Spain opens the novel with a startling prologue, Harry McNamara, wealthy banker and celebrity businessman is at home with his wife Julie watching a crime drama on television. Their evening soon turns into a blood bath when a stranger stumbles into their home and stabs Harry in a full-blown attack. But what is all the more bemusing is when the attacker hands himself into the police only hours after the attack and makes a full confession, he is devastated by what he has done. But was the attack as random as he claims it was or is there a reason behind why he decided to attack Harry McNamara? It is this that Detective Alice Moody tries to uncover as she looks into Harry’s murky past. But the truth is far more shocking than you would think.

From the very first page of this book, I was gripped. The novel is told from three viewpoints: Harry’s wife, Julie, Detective Alice Moody and a man called JP. When we hear from Julie and JP, the novel flicks back from the past to the present. Jo takes us through Julie’s marriage to Harry, from the very first day that the couple met right up until the day when the intruder breaks into their home and stabs her husband. Their stories were utterly gripping, and I stayed up reading, well into the early hours to find out if there was somehow a connection and what, if anything, possessed this man to attack Harry.

Harry and Julie are spoiled by Harry’s unlimited wealth. Harry is one of the top bankers in the country, responsible for the wealth flowing in and out of Ireland. When we are first introduced to them, you may feel very little sympathy for them, due to the amount of money that they have, but for me, I found that my opinions changed as the novel progressed, particularly towards Julie. I think this is a subject that will prompt a lot of discussion in book groups and it’ll be fascinating to see how different people feel about the characters.

You will be utterly gripped when you start reading The Confession, it is pure psychological drama that will keep you on your toes as you try to figure out what is going on. With perfectly drawn characters and a compelling plot, this is a must read for thriller fans. Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and to Quercus Books for the advance review copy.

Publisher: Quercus

Publication date: 25th January 2018

Print length: 400 pages



Blog Tour poster 6