Tell No Lies by Gregg Hurwitz is a mystery/thriller that follows Daniel Brasher, a counselor for individuals on parole with a quiet, fulfilling life, as he tries to uncover who is leaving cryptic messages of impending murder in his work mailbox. With each message Daniel receives the helplessness and intrigue builds up to an exciting climax. With that said, however, the pacing of the book is slightly disjointed as it gets bogged down in dense detail.
Daniel Brasher is an incredibly interesting character, and Hurwitz excels at portraying him as a strong, yet regular guy with a shadowy family history. Daniel’s moral fiber is clearly a focal point throughout the story. As a public probation counselor, he clearly feels the weight of the run-down, impoverished headquarters and the parolees he hardly has the resources to help. He is quickly faced with a personal dilemma when he decides to write a new chapter for himself and his wife at by starting a private counseling firm. To further the inner conflict that surrounds Daniel he comes from one of the wealthiest families in San Francisco, and has already turned his back on the opportunity to amass great wealth as a financial planner in the family business. This choice brings the ire of his mother, Evelyn, direct onto his shoulders.
The suspense in the novel revolves around a series of cryptic notes that are seemingly delivered wrongly to his work mailbox. Eventually Daniel realizes that the notes he has found are both death threats and ultimatums that have never been read by the intended recipients. This discovery leads Daniel to do everything he can, within his everyday Joe powers, to uncover the author of the notes.
While Hurwitz’s characterization of Daniel stands out throughout the novel, so does his attention to environment and atmosphere. Hurwitz’s use of detail works on both a micro and macro level within the book. His descriptions of the San Francisco cityscape draw the reader into the larger environment within the story, while the details about the psychological atmospheres within each and every scenario add suspense, violence, and desperation into the story. As stated before, however, at points these details, especially within the larger environment, drag the pace of the story down.
Overall, Tell No Lies is a gritty, well-developed thriller if the reader can overlook how it is paced. Fans of Gillian Flynn and Tana French will find strong similarities in style, while fans of James Patterson will enjoy the, for the most part, quickly paced suspense.
After obtaining a Masters in Liberal Arts and Literature Marcus has dedicated most of his time to teaching English Composition for a community college in the Midwest. In his down time, he spends time avidly reading an eclectic selection of books and doing freelance writing whenever he gets the chance. He lives in Kansas with his wife.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.