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Lies You Wanted to Hear

Lies You Wanted to Hear

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Lies You Wanted to Hear

4/5 (44 valutazioni)
391 pagine
6 ore
Nov 5, 2013


An intense debut novel that's "compulsively readable and stunningly written," (Jodi Picoult),  Lies You Wanted to Hear is hard-hitting story about a family torn apart from the inside out, and what happens when the mistakes you make cost more than anyone would expect.

Alone in an empty house, Lucy tries to imagine the lives of her two young children. They have been gone for seven years, and she is tormented by the role she played in that heartbreaking loss. You can hardly see a glimpse of the sexy, edgy woman she used to be. Back then, she was a magnet for men like Matt, who loved her beyond reason, and Griffin, who wouldn't let go but always left her wanting more. Now the lies they told and the choices they made have come to haunt all three of them.

With shattering turns, Lies You Wanted to Hear explores the way good people talk themselves into doing terrible, unthinkable things. What happens when we come to believe our own lies? And what price must we pay for our mistakes?

A searing story that will leave you wondering what choices you would make, Lies You Wanted to Hear is a stunning debut.

Nov 5, 2013

Informazioni sull'autore

James Whitfield Thomson is a former sales executive and U.S. Navy navigator in Vietnam. Along with Elizabeth Berg, George Packer, Christopher Tilghman, and Dennis Lehane, he was an early member of the late Andre Dubus's writers' workshop. He lives in Natick, Massachusetts. This is his first novel.

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Anteprima del libro

Lies You Wanted to Hear - James Whitfield Thomson

Copyright © 2013 by James Whitfield Thomson

Cover and internal design © 2013 by Sourcebooks, Inc.

Cover design by Kirk DouPonce/Dog Eared Design

Cover image © Xuesong Liao/Arcangel Images

Sourcebooks and the colophon are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

Published by Sourcebooks Landmark, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.

P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567-4410

(630) 961-3900

Fax: (630) 961-2168

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data is on file with the publisher.


Front Cover

Title Page



Part One

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Part Two

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Part Three

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Reading Group Guide

A Conversation with the Author


About the Author

Back Cover

for Elizabeth

another journey


New York City—January 1990

I hate flying, the woman in the seat next to Lucy says.

Me too, Lucy agrees, though it isn’t true. She never worries about her plane crashing, not with all the human failings that tear lives apart.

As the plane starts down the runway, the woman whimpers and crosses herself, and Lucy reaches out and takes her hand. When they are safely aloft, the pilot making a slow, gentle turn northward, Lucy lets go.

Thank you, the woman says. I’m going to visit my daughter in New Hampshire and missed my connection. I didn’t want to fly in this weather, but… She shudders and gives herself a hug.

Lucy nods but doesn’t respond. She is on her way home after three days at the midwinter conference of the American Library Association. She’d been hoping to catch the five o’clock shuttle to Boston but got stuck in traffic and ended up on the six; then the plane sat on the tarmac for nearly an hour waiting to take off and had to go back to the gate for deicing. If she’s lucky, she’ll be on the ground by eight.

The woman takes a sky blue ball of yarn from a canvas bag and goes to work, her knitting needles pecking like a pair of hungry birds. She’s about fifty, wearing a purple sweat suit and matching reading glasses.

I’m going as fast as I can, she says as she notices Lucy watching her. But I don’t think I’ll finish it on time.

What are you knitting?

"A sweater for my new grandson. My fourth. No girls yet."

Come on, you’re not old enough to have grandkids.

I got started early. The woman rolls her eyes. "Way too early. What about you? Do you have children?"

Two, Lucy says. A boy and a girl. Today’s my son’s birthday.

Wonderful. How old?


Oh, that’s a great age. Same as my grandson Conor. She wants to tell Lucy all about him and the other boys—long stories about their antics, one already a junior hockey star—and Lucy is grateful there are no more questions about herself.

When they land, the woman thanks Lucy for listening. Then she looks at her watch and says, At least you’ll be home in time to see your son blow out the candles.

Lucy smiles, trying to imagine what a joy that would be.


The taxi driver lets Lucy out at Le Lapin Vert, a little bistro on Centre Street a few blocks from her house in Jamaica Plain. She sits in the back with her suitcase under the table and orders escargots and a glass of chardonnay. There’s a map of France printed on the paper place mats. In the summer she likes to rent a car and explore the French countryside. She keeps to the back roads, no plans or reservations. The taste of the escargots brings back memories of a restaurant in Venasque, a late dinner where she was the only patron, the chef joining her afterward for a cigarette and a glass of wine. Lucy studies the map on the place mat and conjures up images from her travels: the wild horses of the Carmargue, the cave paintings at Les Eyzies, the brightly colored anchovy boats at Collioure. She’d like to buy a cottage in St. Benoit someday and plant a small vegetable garden, go to the abbey every evening and listen to the monks chant vespers in the ancient crypt.

A handsome man in an Irish fisherman sweater smiles at her on his way to the men’s room, as if they share a secret past. Lucy puts some money on the table and leaves without waiting for the check.

When she gets home, Frodo and Sam are asleep on the couch. Frodo yawns and tries to shake himself awake while Sam curls up against the light.

Some watchdog you are, Lucy says as Frodo comes over and wags his tail. He looks like a cross between a boxer and a corgi: reddish-brown coat, short legs and a blunt snout, one bent ear, a tail that sticks straight up. When a man at the dog park asked what breed he was, Lucy laughed and said, Albanian goatherd.

Frodo goes to the back door, and Lucy lets him out into the yard. She takes off her heels and puts on a pair of slippers, checks the thermostat and turns up the heat. Sam comes into the kitchen and meows, and Lucy puts some fresh kibble in his bowl. The messages on the answering machine are from her mother and Jill and Carla—one melancholy, one anxious, one offhand—each in her own way acknowledging what day it is, but none of them willing to come out and say it. The mail is nothing but solicitations and bills. Lucy pours a glass of wine, then goes to the study and sits at her desk, its walnut surface scarred with nicks and glass rings and one long burn from a cigarette ash that could have set the whole house on fire. In the lower left-hand drawer, there’s a stack of leather-bound journals.

She takes out the one on top and opens it to the place marked by the thin red ribbon attached to the binding. For several years she wrote almost every day; now weeks go by without a word, her anger and sorrow shriveled to a hard kernel stuck permanently in the back of her throat. She smooths the journal open with the heel of her hand and does the math quickly on a slip of scrap paper, feeling guilty that she cannot recall the numbers instantly and recite them down to the minute. She writes with a fountain pen; there is something comforting in the permanence of the blue-black ink soaking into the page.

1-25-90 (6 years, 7 months & 15 days gone) Happy birthday, Nathan. Nine years old today! That is so hard to believe. I can almost see you laughing, a shock of dark brown hair falling across your forehead, your grown-up teeth still too big for your face. Did you have a party after school today or will you have to wait till the weekend? An afternoon of sledding on a snowy hillside (no girls allowed), hot chocolate and cake afterward, wet socks and gloves drying by the fire? Or will it be a picnic on a sunny beach, you and your pals playing Wiffle ball and riding your boogie boards in the surf? Is there a special present you’re hoping to get? A Game Boy? Baseball mitt? One of those flashy dirt bikes with a banana seat? I remember the day I turned nine. My grandmother took me to the Plaza for tea. I wanted to live there like Eloise and play tricks on the staff. Do you remember Eloise? That was Sarah’s favorite book. Yours was Goodnight Moon. You were only two, but you knew every word by heart. You liked to snuggle up close to me at bedtime and pretend you were reading. That was always my favorite part of the day.

Sam jumps up on the desk and nuzzles Lucy’s hand. She looks at her watch. 9:53. She goes to the kitchen and refills her wineglass, doesn’t bother to turn off the light in the study before she heads upstairs. On the bookshelf in the hall, she finds Eloise and Goodnight Moon. The copper washtub on the hearth in her bedroom is empty, no kindling or wood for a fire.

Lucy crawls under the covers in her clothes while Sam nestles beside her, purring and kneading. She opens a book and reads aloud. In the great green room there was a telephone… As the bunny is saying good night to the socks, Lucy hears Frodo barking in the yard. She groans and pulls the cocoon of blankets up around her neck.


The cat cocks his ears and blinks at Lucy.

Can you go down and let him in? She scratches Sam under the chin. "Please, baby, go down and get him. I’m all tapped out tonight."

Part One

Chapter 1


Cambridge, Massachusetts—July 1977

His name is Matt, Jill said. He drives this great little yellow fifty-six Thunderbird. You know, the one with the spare tire sticking up in back.

I was trying to ignore her, rearranging the uneaten cucumber slices on my plate while Jill scraped up the last few crumbs of cheesecake and licked them off her fork.

You should see the looks on people’s faces when he pulls up in that car. She let her jaw drop and made her eyes bug out. Might as well be a gold carriage with four white horses.

Sounds like a prince.

Come on, Luce, don’t be like that. He’s a terrific guy. Just have a drink with him. What harm can it do?

I shrugged one shoulder. Griffin took off four months ago, and Jill had been trying to fix me up ever since; any encouragement on my part and she’d have dates lined up for me like customers at a bakery on Saturday morning with numbered stubs in their hands. I lit a cigarette while Jill caught the waitress’s eye and gestured for another piece of cheesecake.

Cody called, I said. He got us tickets for the David Bowie concert. Cody was my best pal from college. We dated for a few months until he admitted he was gay.

Just this one time, Jill said, ignoring my attempt to distract her. Please. For me? She folded her hands like a beggar and tucked them under her chin.

You little witch. You’ve set something up with him already, haven’t you?

She laughed. Wednesday after work. The piano bar at the Copley Plaza. Just one drink. You’ll thank me.

The guy Jill wanted me to meet was a Boston cop who played softball with her husband Terry. He came with the usual bona fides: nice-looking, great personality, loves his job, not on the rebound, which was more than I could say for myself. So why wasn’t he already taken?

"Come on, Jill. A cop?"

Yin and yang. You need a change. You can’t spend the rest of your life waiting for that asshole to come crawling back.

Funny, he’s crazy about you.

You have to forget him, Luce. The man skips town three hours after you have an abortion and you act like—

No! I slapped the table and the dishes jumped and people nearby turned and stared. I lowered my voice. Don’t start with that shit.

I’m sorry. I hate the way he treats you, that’s all.

I know I know I know. Believe me, Jilly, I don’t want him back. I really don’t. I just…I have to do this at my own pace, okay?

She rolled her eyes, then plucked the cigarette from my fingers and took a guilty puff.

Jill was my oldest friend. We grew up two houses apart in a small town in Connecticut, dancing a pas de deux in the ballet recital, getting suspended in eighth grade for putting a dead mouse in Betsy Farrell’s locker, coediting the high school yearbook. We both went to college in the Boston area—she to Lesley, I to BU—and shared an apartment for a year after graduation until she got married.

The waitress brought another slice of cheesecake. Barely five-two, Jill was five and a half months pregnant and had gained at least forty pounds already. Her appetite seemed to defy some basic law of physics.

Look, I said, it’s not like I sit around every night, bawling my eyes out, waiting for Griffin Chandler to call.

That’s good to hear, Jill said. You’re down to what, five nights a week?

I laughed and squeezed her chubby hand. A couple weeks ago, she had to go to a jeweler and have her wedding ring snipped off because it was cutting off the circulation and she couldn’t slide it over her knuckle. Still, sometimes I’d look at her and feel sick with envy; if I hadn’t had the abortion, our babies might have been born on the same day.


My college roommate Rhonda got pregnant junior year. She had been dating two guys at the time and wasn’t sure which was the father. It seemed odd to talk about the father when Rhonda had no intention of telling either boy about the pregnancy or including them in her decision. Rhonda’s parents (like my own) had money, so even though this was before Roe vs. Wade, she didn’t have to worry about going to some back-alley quack. For a few weeks it was all we could talk about. We considered ourselves feminists and railed about laws written by men to control our bodies and limit our options. Rhonda went to the Bahamas over spring break and came back with a tan. She said it was easier than getting your tonsils out; she had been expecting to feel some sense of guilt and loss, but mostly what she felt was relief. I can’t remember if the topic ever came up between us again.

I had always assumed if I ever had an unwanted pregnancy I would handle it with the same aplomb as Rhonda, but the key word in that phrase is unwanted. When I realized I was going to have a baby, I was more ambivalent about having an abortion than she had been. The father in this case was Griffin, the man I loved, and if I carried the child to term, my life would be tied inexorably to his.

Accident, my ass, Griffin said when I told him I was pregnant.

I had been on the pill but got mixed up and missed a day or two. He had no doubts about what I should do about the baby. Our quarrels got nasty. I cried and broke things and wouldn’t let him touch me.

Jill found out she was pregnant about a week before I did. The happiest day in her life, she said, but when it came to my predicament, she was torn. She had been raised Catholic, and while she wasn’t strictly opposed to abortion, she thought it should be an option of last resort. In spite of my feminist bent—which, for me, was more about how I wanted the world to be than how I actually lived my life—I found it hard to disagree. I was never comfortable with the die-hard stance of women who seemed to regard abortion as a high-priced form of birth control. Jill wanted me to have a baby, but not Griffin’s; she hadn’t wanted me to get involved with him in the first place.

Once I made up my mind to go ahead with the abortion, I didn’t flinch. I found the clinic through a friend. Griffin drove me there on a Friday morning and paid the bill in cash. There were various forms and waivers, which the staff offered to explain, but I signed them all without a second glance. The doctor was a bald, middle-aged man who took my hand and asked if I was certain I wanted to go ahead with the procedure. It was the same word I’d been using when I thought about what I was about to do, trying to make something so elemental and irrevocable into something banal. I told the doctor yes.

I was home by noon, feeling groggy but not much pain. Griffin made me tea and sat on the edge of the bed; he said he’d been thinking about taking a road trip, a little alone time to get his head together. Jill had predicted he would bolt. I was afraid she was right, but I thought he’d have the decency to wait until I’d had a chance to shower and brush my hair, maybe hang around for a week or two and take me out to dinner, pretend our happiest days were yet to come. I told him to go, I could use some alone time myself. He didn’t wait for me to change my mind. When I thought about it now, some part of me knew he had proven how heartless and selfish he could be; another (bigger) part kept hoping he’d realize how much he needed me and come running back.

I called Jill and she came to my apartment, and we talked and laughed and cried and slept in the same bed like we were back in junior high. I had some cramping and bleeding over the weekend but went back to work on Monday. Ten days later I crashed: night terrors, crying jags, the tapeworm of guilt. Griffin didn’t call for over a month.


I forgot the name of the cop Jill wanted me to meet five seconds after she said it. Tom? Bob? Something short and common. Some people I knew still called the police pigs, but I wasn’t as put off by the idea of going out with a cop as I’d acted with Jill. When I was in college, Rhonda and I got picked up by some off-duty cops who took us bowling and didn’t act like jerks when we refused to let them take us back to their apartment. I had gone skeet shooting a few times with my dad, so I wasn’t freaked out about the idea of dating a guy with a gun. As for the handcuffs…well, I tried that with Griffin once and liked it—a bonding experience, one of those little kinks in my sexual history I never divulged to Jill.

Close as Jill and I were, she didn’t like to talk about sex. She had gone steady with Robby Durant all through high school but refused to say how far they went. Not far enough for Robby, I guessed, seeing him droop along beside her like a lost puppy. (As for me, I surrendered my virginity in the tenth grade to a boy so sweet and desperate he cried afterward, and it almost felt like love.) Jill dumped Robby for Scott Fowler freshman year of college; Bernie Katz stole Jill from Scott. Bernie was the captain of the Harvard squash team, a great guy who was crazy about her but not crazy enough to risk alienating his rich father by marrying a shiksa. Next up, Terry O’Shea. Jill never went six weeks without a boyfriend, convinced each time that this was the one. This time she was right. Terry was in his final year of law school at BC when they met; now he worked as an assistant district attorney. He was good-looking, thoughtful, incorrigibly cheerful, and one of the most boring men on earth. Terry could spend ten minutes telling you about the great deal he’d gotten on a new rider mower from Sears with a sixteen-horsepower engine, detachable grass catcher, and a three-year service guarantee. Being a friend of Terry’s didn’t automatically disqualify the cop from consideration, but I had a feeling he wouldn’t be my type.

Of course, when I was being honest with myself, I knew there wasn’t any type; there was only Griffin.


I hadn’t mentioned it to Jill, but I had started going out again, not on dates, just drinking and dancing at some of the upscale bars and hotel lounges in Cambridge and Back Bay, lots of gigolo wannabes with their gold chains and bad cologne, out-of-town businessmen with silver money clips and pale outlines of wedding bands on their fingers. Occasionally I’d meet someone interesting and give him my number then kick myself if he didn’t call back or turn him down if he did. One night I met a pilot who flew corporate executives around the country in a private jet. He was easy to talk to and told me a great story about learning to fly a crop duster from his father when he was still a kid. At the end of the evening, he drove me home and wrote down my phone number, ready to leave, it seemed, without so much as a good-night kiss. I asked him in for a glass of wine and put Van Morrison on the stereo. The pilot studied the prints on my living room wall—six framed woodcuts in bold colors depicting various Tarot cards—discreetly ignoring the photographs of Griffin and me on the bookshelf below.

These are great, the pilot said. Who’s the artist?

My friend Cody. He’s very talented. My favorite is the magician. I pointed.

"Le bateleur. My mother likes to give Tarot readings for fun."

She’s French?

He nodded. A war bride. She and my dad only knew each other for nine days when they got married.

The pilot’s mother had been part of the French resistance and sounded like a fascinating woman. She was from Rennes, not far from Saint-Malo, where I’d spent two weeks as a teenager visiting a friend who had been an exchange student in our high school. The pilot and I were sitting on the couch. He kissed me tentatively; I responded in French. My sweater and bra were on the floor, my nipple in the pilot’s mouth when he sat up abruptly.

We don’t have to rush into this, he said. "I really like you. I don’t want to mess things up."

Great line, I thought. He may even have meant it. It was a caution worth noting; the self-help books don’t advocate having sex with a guy you’ve known for less than three hours if you’re interested in building a long-term relationship. But I wasn’t thinking long-term. After months of wallowing in anger and self-doubt, I needed to be desired. I needed to find a way to put Griffin behind me. I got up from the couch and led the pilot into the bedroom.

Our lovemaking was quick and pleasant, nothing I’d celebrate or regret in the morning. Afterward, we were sitting on the bed, smoking, my head on his shoulder, his hand idly caressing my thigh when the telephone rang. I tried to ignore it, but my body grew taut, each ring more insistent than the last.

You better get that, the pilot said, dejection in his voice, as if he knew as well as I did who was calling.

I picked up the phone and cradled it to my ear. Nothing much, I said. Just sitting here, thinking of you. Which was true.

I was still on the phone with Griffin when the pilot let himself out the door.


Wear something sexy, Jill said. That white Charlie’s Angels one-piece or the salmon mini-dress.

I thought you said this was just for a drink.

Yeah but, you know…first impressions.

What exactly have you told him about me?

She laughed. Very little. I didn’t want to scare him off with the truth.

So what if I really like him?

What do you mean?

Can I take him home with me?

You do and I’ll wring your skinny little neck.

Chapter 2


It was the hottest day of the year, temperatures up over a hundred. A crushed Pepsi can kept the front door of the Sweet Spot propped open for ventilation. The place used to have live strippers when I began patrolling the Combat Zone, but now it was just private video booths, couple of minutes of porn for a quarter. I went in the open doorway and said hi to Lenny.

Officer Drobyshev. He saluted from his perch behind the counter with an electric fan blowing on the back of his neck. He was reading a battered hardback copy of The Mayor of Casterbridge, elbows resting on a display case filled with sex toys.

Scorcher today, I said.

You’re telling me. I got four, five more weeks of this shit, and the boss won’t spring for a fucking air conditioner.

How’s business?

Couldn’t be better. Summer, winter, guys never stop jacking off.

You been checking IDs?

Please. Lenny frowned. "There are real crimes happening out there, my friend. Don’t tell me Boston’s finest give a flying fuck about a couple of guys giving each other blowjobs in a private video booth."

The brass wants us to crack down. Undercover picked up a young hustler at the Pussy Cat last night. Third or fourth juvie this month.

Enterprising youth. I’m sure he makes a helluva lot more money than I do.

I smiled. How’s the book?

There were underlinings on the page, the margins filled with notes in minuscule handwriting in different color inks.

Michael Henchard. He shook his head. "The trouble with the past is, it’s never really over. Just keeps coming back and biting you in the ass."

Lenny had been working on his dissertation for years. He told me Jude the Obscure was one of the three greatest novels in the English language. I had a copy of the book on my nightstand but couldn’t get into it. I preferred history—Sacco and Vanzetti, the Nuremberg trials, General Sherman burning his way across Georgia. Stuff that really happened.

I stepped through the black curtain to the peep-show booths in back. The room was divided into two narrow corridors with video booths on either side. The piney smell of disinfectant couldn’t hide the human stench underneath. Several men lurked in the corridors. I turned my head and caught one of them staring at me. In the half-second our eyes met, the man’s face seemed to change from desire to fear to shame before he turned away. What a life! Poor schmuck probably had a wife and three kids at home. I heard a guy whisper in the booth behind me and another man let out a moan. I pounded on the door with the heel of my hand.

One person to a booth, I said and went back out front.

Thomas Hardy, my friend. Lenny held up the book like a gospel preacher. He understood how weak the human race is. Every fucking one of us.

Back on the street I checked my watch. Twenty minutes till knock off. That left me an hour after work to go home and shower and get ready for my blind date. I was supposed to meet her for a drink at the piano bar at the Copley Plaza. Not the sort of thing I did often, but Terry O’Shea’s wife, Jill, cornered me at our last softball game and asked me to do it as a favor. The girl she set me up with was her best friend.

Lucy’s gorgeous, Jill had said. Smart, funny. Body to die for.


Terrible taste in men.

Ah, no wonder you asked me.

Jill laughed. No, no, that came out wrong. The last one was a total shit, that’s all. She’s been sitting at home, moping for months now. I figured if she went out with a really terrific guy… She batted her eyes like Betty Boop. Jill knew how cute she was, even with all the weight she’d put on with her pregnancy.

I said okay to the blind date. She wasn’t going to stop bugging me till I did.

Anything else you want to tell me? I said.

Well, she’s not… She crinkled her eyebrows. Let’s just say she has an edge.

An edge was fine with me. The last girl I dated was as edgeless as fog. I met her as I was passing through Filene’s cosmetics department. I was on my way to the basement to look for some shirts and she caught me ogling her cleavage.

Would you care to sample the new fragrance from Chanel, officer? She blocked my path. For that special lady in your life.

Sorry, I don’t have one at the moment.

Maybe I could offer some assistance?

Some women have a thing about men in uniform. It’s one of those unwritten perks that comes with the job, like never having to worry about getting a traffic ticket. Something to help make up for the scornful looks cops get sometimes from strangers on the street.

The Chanel girl and I met for coffee after work and ended up in bed that same evening. At first I was taken by her sunny disposition. She had been a cheerleader in high school and still had that chirpy, never-say-die spirit that keeps those girls leaping and chanting when it’s cold and rainy and the home team is down forty-two zip. But after a while it got irritating. She didn’t want to hear about the unsavory things I had to deal with on the job. I started calling her less and making excuses not to get together. One night over dinner, I told her I thought we should take a break.

But why? she said. I thought we were doing so well.

I sank low in my chair and tried the it’s-not-you-it’s-me maneuver, but she kept probing.

I don’t know, I said. "I guess it’s just…you’re too damned happy."

Not anymore, she said.

Out on the sidewalk, heat rose from the cement through my crepe rubber soles.

Mr. Pleeze-man. Mr. Pleeze-man. A woman was yelling and waving her arms on the opposite side of the street. You come quick.

I couldn’t place her accent. She was short and round with dyed black hair. She didn’t appear to be hurt, but the front of her yellow waitress’s uniform was splattered with blood. I ran across the street, and she led me down an alley to a brick building with an apartment on the second floor. We hurried through her living room, and she pointed toward an open doorway.

In there, she said. My husband.

A hairy man was lying face down on the bed, naked except for the boxer shorts pulled down around his knees. Blood oozed from a lump the size of a tennis ball on the back of his bald head. For a moment I thought the man was dead, then he let out a loud snore. I felt so relieved I almost laughed. In five-plus years on the job, I’d found the dead

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  • (4/5)
    This book really burned my hide. There are SPOILERS in this review, be warned. It does ring of shades of Gone Girl, but I felt this was more palatable than Gone Girl. However, instead of despising both characters, I actually ended up rooting for Lucy. She was NOT so despicable to have deserved what Matt did to her. I wanted Matt to be punished and it infuriated me he felt no remorse whatsoever for his disgusting actions. That the book riled me up so much is a GOOD thing!
  • (4/5)
    This is a novel about a marriage gone wrong and about the choices peope make that they may regret. An impressive novel from a debut author and one i wouldn't hesitate to recommend.
  • (4/5)
    These characters and their story filled me with rage...and also made me cry. This book is just solid writing with a roller coaster of a story line. It's a dual time narrative so you truly get both sides of the story...but I bet you can't decide who is in the right.
  • (3/5)
    Relationships built on lies, betrayals and secrecy very seldom turn out well and so this proved in the marriage of Matt and Lucy. Going into a relationship with very different reasons, Matt and Lucy are at a disadvantage from the get go, the reader knows this but of course in the novel they do not. Tiny cracks, widen and get deeper as the reader reads their story. This is a grim, at times depressing viewpoint of marriage. It is, however, a truthful one for some and maybe a warning for others. Very slow to develop, I suppose like real life, the getting to know each other, the discussions of past relationships, etc. but I almost gave up reading this a few times. I kept on and I do applaud the not happily ever after ending. Sometimes things have just gotten so off course it is realistic to expect them to all correct themselves. Also, I disliked both characters at different points so it was more the writing that kept me or the kind of morbid fascination one gets when watching a train wreck. Anyway definitely applaud this author who has published his first novel at the age of sixty seven. We should all be so industrious.
  • (4/5)
    the end? come on.......five words to be's done, not over, done

  • (5/5)
    I was irritated by what Lucy does at the first glance of reading this book. She is so addicted to Griffin and so self-indulged like a lunatic. And when Matt takes kid away from her, I feel relieved as if I have taken the revenge. But later on, I can’t help taking pity for Lucy, for she has got what she deserved and that should be the end. At last, Matt may take his trip alone and again. This poor man, falls in love with one that he shouldn’t. Don’t try to love a whore, maybe that’s it.
  • (1/5)
    Unfortunate. When a man writes the most hackneyed paragraphs imaginable about a woman having an abortion, I have to stop reading. It was pretty grim up to that point anyway.
  • (5/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    "The lies you wanted to hear were the easiest ones to tell" pg384Lies you Wanted to Hear is a compelling story of love and betrayal, of a marriage destroyed by the secrets we keep from one another and the lies we tell ourselves.When Matt meets Lucy on a blind date he knows she is the 'one', she is beautiful, bright and sexy, "everything a guy could want", but Lucy is wary, Matt, a strait laced police officer, is completely different from her on again-off again lover Griffin who she can't seem to let go of, no matter who badly he treats her. But Griffin has gone and when Lucy falls pregnant she allows Matt to convince her that she can be what he needs, that he is what she wants.Told from the alternating first person viewpoints of Matt and Lucy we witness the evolution of their relationship, from their first date, to marriage, to parenthood, and its eventual, inevitable devolution. The relationship is compromised before it even begins, marred by secrets and dishonesty, which only become more divisive as time passes. The Lies You wanted to Hear explores the the ambiguity of guilt, blame, and fault and forces the reader to consider if right and wrong is always easy to determine.The characterisation in Lies You Wanted To Hear is superb, Lucy and Matt are realistically complex and change through the novel. I found it difficult to like Lucy who is arrogant and self centered and I wasn't able to muster much sympathy for her despite a troubled family background or even the losses she suffers later in the novel. Matt is easier to like, loyal, loving and eager to please, but he has his faults and eventually he loses the moral high ground that seemed his right. Thomson skilfully exposes the choices each character makes and the consequences for their marriage and their family.An impressive debut I wouldn't hesitate to recommend, Lies You Wanted to Hear is provocative, gritty and poignant. A gripping family drama.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (5/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    What a wonderful book! The characters come to life and you feel as if you know them personally. The author writes the book in alternating POV, her side and his side. Matt fell in love the first time he saw Lucy on their blind date. He loved her deeply and with an open heart accepting her just as she was. Lucy only went on the blind date to make her best friend happy, she had broken up with her boyfriend and was still very much in love with him. The longer that her boyfriend stayed away the more Lucy thought he would never come back so she eventually let Matt into her life. Lucy discovers that she is pregnant and is planning on telling Matt the day that Griffin, her "x" drops in to see her. She takes off with Griffin and is gone over night, but returns to Matt the next day. When she tells Matt that she is pregnant he drops to his knees, puts his head in her lap and cries with joy. She never tells Matt that she slept with Griffin the night before. This is a very emotionally charged book with lots of ups and downs for the couple and a somewhat surprising ending. I loved it and look forward to more from the very gifted author. **GoodReads Win

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (2/5)
    This is a family drama about a marriage gone wrong. Matt and Lucy meet and fall in love (Matt much more so than Lucy), marry, and have two children. The marriage is never the strongest but things really start to unravel when Griffin, a bad boy from Lucy’s past, reappears. Soon afterwards Matt makes a decision regarding the welfare of his children, a decision that has dramatic and long-lasting consequences. The novel is narrated by both protagonists in first person point of view (alternating chapters). This approach adds depth in that the thoughts and feelings of both are revealed. What become obvious are the lies each tells the other and him/herself. Lucy eventually tells Matt, “’The lies you wanted to hear were the easiest ones to tell,’” but Matt could have said the same to Lucy and it would have been as true.One problem with the book is its slow pace at the beginning. Matt and Lucy’s relationship is developed in great detail. The problem is that this development has little suspense; readers know from the first meeting between Matt and Lucy that theirs will not be a forever-and-for-always relationship. After devoting three-quarters of the book to a five-year time period, the author then glosses over 18 years in the last quarter. Characterization is weak. Lucy is not a likeable person; she is the typical spoiled rich girl: shallow, arrogant, and self-centred. The reader is to believe that she matures, but even in the end, she is still focused on herself. She doesn’t berate Matt for how his actions impacted the children; instead, she rants about what he did to her. Matt’s initial portrayal is just too good to be true. He is the ever faithful and ever reliable husband and father. In case the reader misses the point that he is a good man, the author gave him the name Dobryshev which is derived from the Polish word "dobry" meaning "good." The minor characters fare no better; they are flat stereotypes. Griffin is the proverbial bad boy, a foil for the stalwart Matt, and Jill is the steadfast friend. And there are issues with realism: Would a therapist be so judgmental as to tell a client that she finds it difficult to support her because she is very good at making poor choices?There are other weaknesses in terms of realism. A woman becomes pregnant after missing one birth control pill? (And is she likely to say “Now that I had said it – I’m pregnant – I couldn’t conceive of my life in any other way”?) At one point Lucy says, “’I love [Matt]” but then later she says, “I was tired of trying to love him”? Why would Matt promise to call Lucy on a particular day if he has no intention of doing so, especially since that missed call will arouse suspicion and jeopardize his plans? The novel spans the years 1977 to 2000. The author took pains to establish the year in which events occur. The flaw is that he always uses music, movies, and fashion to convince the reader of the time period. For her first date with Matt in 1977, Lucy debates between “That white Charlie’s Angels one-piece or the salmon mini dress.” Later, they go and see the movie Annie Hall, and there is reference to a poster for The Spy Who Loved Me. To indicate that it is 1982, the author has Lucy listening to “John Cougar Mellencamp singing ‘Hurt So Good’.” For 1999, the movies The End of the Affair and Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo are mentioned. The impression is that the author did a pop culture search on Wikipedia for each year he wished to differentiate.The book was disappointing because of its slow pace, stereotypical characters that arouse the reader’s frustration and annoyance, and issues with realism.Note: I received an ARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley.
  • (4/5)
    James Whitfield Thomson’s gripping psychological debut novel, THE LIES YOU WANTED TO HEAR, is one of complex and troubled characters, where your loyalties for these two, switch back and forth more than a tennis match.

    Set in the late 70s in Boston, Matt, a copy is set up by his colleague’s wife on a blind date with her oldest friend from college, Lucy. Lucy who likes to live life on the edge, from a well to do family, obsessed with her former (future) lover and bad boy, Griffin.

    In earlier days (back story), she gets pregnant and has an abortion, as Griffin is most definitely not the daddy type. However, afterwards, he is nowhere to be found. He tends to show up unannounced throughout the book at his convenience, and pulls Lucy once again back into his web of deceit.

    Lucy likes to smoke pot, have sex, drink and live on the wild side; however, she decides after Griffin, to settle for the nice, well controlled good-looking, stable blue-collar cop, Matt. (or so, he appears) Matt is intrigued with Lucy, even though he does not like some of her nasty habits. She feels she cannot live up to the perfect Matt. Each is trying to fit into a mold and be what the other wants.

    They marry and have two children; however, she gets bored, depressed, and being a typical mother is not in her DNA, after all her mom (an alcoholic) was not the best role model. During their marriage, Matt gives up being a cop and is now an international courier and travels often. She misses the thrill of Griffin and the bad boy while her husband is away with the demands of motherhood.

    When Griffin appears once again in Lucy’s life, the trouble begins, leading to a nasty divorce with the children in the middle. This is when the tables turn. Before this point, readers will dislike Lucy and root for the wonderful Matt. However, when Matt decides to play God and kidnap the children, and begins lying to the children about their mom, Lucy gets her act together. By the end of the book you sympathize with Lucy and dislike Matt. She is left without her children and never gives up hope.

    A story of loss and love, and the power of redemption. Each character continues lying to the other, with a web of deceit each playing a part—leaving your head spinning as to which character is most troubled. In the end there is a price to pay for their mistakes.

    An addictive, frustrating at times, and intense page-turner for every parent, who longs to protect their children. I listened to the audiobook (7/15/14), narrated by Nan McNamara and Andrew Ingalls, with an outstanding performance!

    Richly developed characters, well written suspense family and relationship drama, hooking you from beginning to end. Looking forward to reading more from Thomson----A master storyteller as he weaves a tale hard to put down. (Would make an ideal choice for book clubs, to discuss further each of these personalities Lucy, Griffin, Matt, and the children).

  • (4/5)
    This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.
    Often when I read a book, I read the notes the author adds to the beginning of the book…this author added a note to the front a book about a conversation with his daughter that caught my attention. He was asked to summarize the book in 15 words; he described this book as what seemed like a simple love story. I have to disagree, there is so much more to this story then to label it as that. There’s love there, but it’s jaded and heartbreaking, as well as eye opening and intriguing. It's a love story written real world style, even though there was beauty and money added in to the story, they were fixes....This is not a story about the sad lonely rich girl marrying mister right, and settling down in the white picket fenced house with two kids and a dog and happy ever after. This is a story about how hard it really is to make a marriage work, and that sometimes you cannot. Matt and Lucy's story is one that is sad and yet beautiful at the same time.
    The story is written in two separate points of views, Lucy’s and Matt’s. It flips between them every other chapter. This type of story does not always work, but was well done in this book. I was impressed at how well the author kept the chapters separate and allowed you to truly see both sides of the story. As I read, I found that I actually kept my sympathy more on Matt’s side all the way up until the very last chapters of the book. As a mom and a divorcee I was surprised to find my sympathies lying with Matt. It wasn't that I couldn't sympathize with her, as a mother it is often second nature to question whether you are good enough, it felt that Lucy took so much longer to grow up and accept her parental responsibilities then Matt did. It was not until Lucy finally seemed to turn her life around that I felt like she deserved that sympathy.
    In the end my greatest sympathy was left with the children and how much they went through and the scar’s that they most likely bare from their parents. It was an eye opening book for me in seeing that relationships can really be very complex-it was interesting how much Lucy clung to unhealthy relationships, and that she never felt quite completely when she was in a boring normal one with Matt.
    This book is a must read, but with that I will give a caution. If you are looking for a feel good book with a feel good love story to make your day complete, you may want to look elsewhere. If you want a story that will get you thinking-read this! I love a story that makes me really think. I was constantly putting myself in their shoes and thinking about how I would handle the situations. It really is an amazing book that allows you to step outside yourself and think a little deeper.
    I have to thank James Thomson for the opportunity to read this book. It is a story I won't soon forget.