None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell [6/10]

Twenty novels under her belt, and, according to the front-cover blurb, a “ten-million-copy” bestselling author, Lisa Jewell is new to me. Her latest, None of This Is True, fizzes with plot inventiveness but will not entice me to read more from her. When a 45-year-old podcaster bumps into another woman born in the same hospital on the same day, she starts a new podcast, “Hi! I’m Your Birthday Twin!” (and Penguin, the publisher, has actually produced a four-episode podcast mirroring the book, which makes me cringe). The interviewee turns out to have a dark present and a dark past, and the author skillfully unravels all these murky strands as the darkness invades the podcaster’s own life. Written in the present tense, and cutting between both main characters, interposed with podcast and (weirdly) Netflix segments, sufficient tension is spun to make None of This Is True a quick meal. But, despite earnest interior explorations of both characters, the plot intricacies (familiar to anyone reading in the sub-genre launched, perhaps, by Harlan Coben) swamp any sense of reader identification, and the twisty, fierce climax leaves only an empty palate.

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