Is Three Perfect Liars by Heidi Perks worth the buy?
If you’re looking for a new mystery, Three Perfect Liars by Heidi Perks may come up on your list. Released in March 2020, it’s a novel that will take you on a twisty ride, as you figure out what secrets the three main women in the story are keeping.
Of course, the biggest question throughout is who started the fire. That’s the question for the police to figure out, but will it be a straight answer? Why were all three women at the Quay the night of the fire?
Thanks to NetGalley, I was able to get a review copy of Three Perfect Liars in return for an honest review of the novel. That’s exactly what I’ll offer here.
Three women, three secrets
The story focuses on Laura, Mia, and Janie. All three have one man in connection: Harry Woods. Janie’s husband and Laura and Mia’s boss, Harry is the owner of a marketing company. However, it’s soon clear that it’s not him but another connection to him: Miles Morgan.
Throughout the book, we’re taken on a journey with the three women. Laura is a new mom trying to make returning to work possible. She’s trying to have it all, a successful career while being a good mom. We all know that the world isn’t set up for work, and throughout the book, Heidi Perks makes no mistake to point out that stay-at-home dads are considered “amazing” because it’s just not the “done thing” just yet.
Laura and Noah’s story is the one that I connected to the most. I empathized with Laura, trying to have both. I empathized with the annoyance when women around her would say just how amazing Noah was for being a stay-at-home dad, like fathers aren’t expected to do the parenting. It’s something that my husband and I found when he became a stay-at-home dad for three years due to circumstances. I would be the first one the school would call, despite him being named Parent #1.
Then there’s Mia, who took on a temporary role when Laura went on maternity leave. She turned that temporary role into a permanent one through lies, and naturally, Laura is sure that Mia is out for her job.
There is certainly a plan that Mia has had since taking on the role for maternity cover. There’s a reason Harry’s company is the one that she wanted to work at. However, it takes to about halfway through the book that the pieces for Mia’s story start to come together.
With her ulterior motives, it’s hard to feel for her. It’s clear that she has some dark reason to be with Harry’s company, and she’s there to stir up trouble. However, once you find out the details and her reasons come to light, it’s easier to see how misguided she is.
Finally, Janie is Harry’s wife. A former defense barrister, Janie gave up her job five years ago to move out of London and become a stay-at-home mom. It’s something she partially resents, but at the same time, she needed to get out of London and that job. The name Miles Morgan continually comes up in the book, making it unsurprising that she shows up at the office.
Janie’s secret is linked to her regret of the past. She doesn’t quite regret what she did in her job for the way the case turned out, but she regrets things that happened afterward. And that’s only because she knew Miles’s next victim. It makes it a little harder to connect to her and feel for her, but at the same time, it makes her a real character.
I do feel like Perks has only really scratched the surface of the three women. We don’t really get to know them deeply or see them interact too much with people around. When Mia is interacting with individuals in the office, it’s usually told from Laura’s perspective, so we don’t get to know Mia’s feelings all that much.
Perks keeps each chapter to a viewpoint. She doesn’t mix them around within a chapter, letting us know how Mia feels when Laura does something if we’ve started with Laura’s viewpoint. We only learn Mia’s feelings later, and it’s usually after the event rather than during it. This limits the development of the characters a little. I felt myself wanting more throughout.
Never really getting to know the antagonist
Like only scratching the surface with the women, we only scratch the surface with the men. That’s especially the case with Miles Morgan, who turns out to be the main antagonist of the story.
Instead of really seeing him in action, we mostly hear about what he did in the past. It’s mostly from Janie’s point of view, sharing stories of what she remembers as a defense barrister. She touches on how she feels after things that happened to a friend.
The only time we see Miles in action is close to the end, and even then, it’s not a lot. It’s hard to get a sense of what he is really like; why we should hate him as much as the women in the story.
We also don’t even get to know why Harry continues to remain friends with the man. We don’t get a sense of anything good that Miles could do in the world or even anything good that Harry is doing. These men are just side parts to the story, and yet, it feels like we’re supposed to feel something since they’re the clear victims of the fire.
Overall, there could have just been something more. It’s a shame Perks didn’t go into more details within the story, allowing us to fully understand the characters and appreciate them.
Switching between past and present
One thing that I enjoyed about Three Perfect Liars was the way the story jumped between the past and the present. We’d get the story starting with eight weeks before the fire, but see the questioning shortly after the fire play out.
While the past would give us clues about who started the fire, the questioning could lead us through some red herrings. It would make us consider something we’ve already been told in a different light. It would also foreshadow some of the things to come as we see the story lead up to the fire.
Once caught up with the night of the fire, we get to see where the women are in the future. There’s an essence of it not quite being over for all, but part of it feels a little too neatly tied up. Something just didn’t sit right, especially when it comes to Mia’s story. At least there is an ending though. I don’t feel the need for a sequel to the story.
I will admit that I didn’t catch on with who started the first until about 60% of the way through. Was that because I didn’t notice some of the foreshadowing in the earlier chapters? I don’t think so. I actually think it was more linked to being a smartly written book in terms of the mystery, even though the characters could have done with being fleshed out a little more.
Book rating: 3.5 stars
Three Perfect Liars wasn’t perfect, but it was an enjoyable read. It’s certainly one to add to your mystery collection if you like Little Fires Everywhere and similar books. And like Little Fires Everywhere, I think this could be adapted into a strong limited series.
Which books are you currently reading? What’s on your list for this week? Share your thoughts in the comments below.