Title: The Truth and Other Lies
Author: Sascha Arango
Review: The keystone to this book is being on the side of the anti-hero,
Henry Hayden. Everything seems to be going his way until it suddenly isn’t;
and instead of trying to repair any damage he decides to double down on his
As he keeps riding his bets, a wide path of lies and death is left in his
wake. I like the portrait of a human unencumbered by any sense of morals
or general decency. He is totally motivated about what is best for him in
the moment, nothing else. By all rights the reader should despise Henry,
unless they are a sociopath themselves.
I came away with ambivalent feelings about the hero. I should have hated
him for such violent hedonistic behavior but I didn’t. I didn’t like him
either. On the larger book I felt that way about all the characters,
neither here or there on them. They die or they live; things work out for
them or they don’t. I just didn’t care. That said, it is a very talented
author that can get you to think nothing about Henry.
This was a fairly short book that could have done with an extra 50 pages of
character development. A good story without any character I could root
for. I believe the characters would play well on the screen, where the
nonverbal communication would be screaming.
Publisher: Atria Books
Quick Review: 3.5 stars out of 5
Why I Read It: I love European crime fiction.
Where I Obtained the Book: Sent to me by the publisher for review.
Synopsis: On the surface, Henry Hayden seems like someone you could like,
or even admire. A famous bestselling author who appears a modest everyman.
A loving, devoted husband even though he could have any woman he desires. A
generous friend and coworker. But Henry Hayden is a construction, a mask.
His past is a secret, his methods more so. No one besides him and his wife
know that she is the actual writer of the novels that made him famous.
For most of Henry’s life, it hasn’t been a problem. But when his
hidden-in-plain-sight mistress becomes pregnant and his carefully
constructed facade is about to crumble, he tries to find a permanent
solution, only to make a terrible mistake.
Now not only are the police after Henry, but his past—which he has
painstakingly kept hidden—threatens to catch up with him as well. Henry is
an ingenious man and he works out an ingenious plan. He weaves lies,
truths, and half-truths into a story that might help him survive. But bit
by bit the noose still tightens.
Smart, sardonic, and compulsively readable, here is the story of a man
whose cunning allows him to evade the consequences of his every action,
even when he’s standing on the edge of the abyss.
Author Biography: Sascha Arango was born in Berlin in 1959 and is one of
Germany’s most prominent screenplay writers. He has also authored audio
plays and stage plays and has been awarded several prizes, including the
Grimme Prize twice. The Truth and Other Lies is his first novel.