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The Masked Truth

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Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.

Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to discover that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.

340 pages, Hardcover

First published October 13, 2015

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About the author

Kelley Armstrong

270 books30.4k followers
Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.

Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the author of the NYT-bestselling "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series and "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 575 reviews
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
838 reviews3,755 followers
February 15, 2021

Actual rating : 1.5 stars - DNF at 50%

► Let's start with several questions, okay?

1) Are you able to repeatedly suspend your disbelief?

✘ It doesn't bother you if the therapy weekend aimed at teenagers is organized in an old office building without windows (because apparently when you're disturbed/suicidal/suffering from random mental illness issues, spending days without natural light is going to help you) and which is not up to fire code. You think that parents would willingly put their children through this.

✘ It seems natural to you that a teenager whose dad was part of a SWAT team actually knows loads of details about the way hostage operations are handled, but wait, hey, he knew that he couldn't say anything, so they only watch SWAT TV shows and debriefed them. I'm so silly sometimes.

✘ If someone tells you that ... Oh, damn, spoiler. Well, let's just say that I couldn't buy several scenes here.

The good news is, it's not predictable, because obviously if it's not believable every twist has the power to throw you off.

2) Are you excited about a plot which revolves around two teenagers who are running around in an office building for at least 50% of the novel? (I can't say more, I stopped there)

✘ You don't mind that most of their discoveries are constituted of doors, and doors, and more doors. They run. In an office building. Oh, a villain. Let's fight. They run in an office building. A door. Did you hear that noise? *insert random childhood event* They run. THEY RUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRUN.

✘ You intend to work on your frustration management : this book is perf for that!

3) Do you love ramblings?

✘ You just adore yelling to your characters to GO TO THE FREAKING POINT DAMMIT.

Info-dumping and random anecdotes about the characters' past are your thing.

✘A female-lead who spends her time internally dismissing herself for something GREAT she did doesn't annoy you one bit.

If you answered YES to every question, you should be good. As for me, I'm done at 50% : there's only so much time I'm willing to lose on books that bore me. Of course, of course, perhaps it gets better after. It's your call, as usual, and maybe my frustration management does need improvement.

Ps. Let's talk about Max. Okay, I feel bad. Shame on you Max to make me feel as if I was lacking common understanding and empathy. See, Max rambles a lot in his head. But Max is entitled to be a serial rambler because of his condition . I loved him at first. Really, I did. I swear. It remains that as much as his ramblings were understandable and defendable, sometimes I just wanted him to GO TO THE FREAKING POINT.

So, Max, you make me feel as if I was a nasty bitch. You don't want that now do you? DO YOU? I love him, and I thought that it was an amazing idea to incorporate such a different character. I did root for him and Riley to hook up. But it doesn't replace an actual PLOT!

So unfortunately even him reached the limit of my patience. However, you should know that my extra half-star is for him. I might skim the rest to get to the kiss scene.


For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews621 followers
December 11, 2015
5+ stars!

This was, quite simply, one of the best books I have ever read.

If you like --

*Intense, taut, unexpected, and suspenseful thrillers;
*An understated and powerful examination of mental illnesses;
*Death by adorbs and an OTP-worthy romance;
*Characters you will immediately connect with and root for...

Then this book is for you. I sincerely hope that is everyone, because The Masked Truth deserves all the praise in the world.

I started it on whim after picking it up at BEA, having no expectations either way, and it just blew my mind. From the beginning, I was hooked. Normally it takes at least a chapter or two before I really become emotionally involved in a book, but with The Masked Truth there was never a doubt that I would fall head over heels in love.

Riley Vasquez is our main character, and she is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for. She's suffering with PTSD and has completely withdrawn from her old life. Her mom is hoping that a weekend away at therapy camp with six other teens will be good for her, but it's there that three masked men enter the building and take the group hostage. What follows is a story full of twists and turns and tense sequences when you have no idea what's around the next corner. I could not have predicted where this story was headed at any particular moment, and the anticipation was delicious. I loved being so surprised by a book!

But I loved the characters even more. Riley is super sympathetic; I connected to her voice right away. She's really struggling with all that she saw the night of the murders and on top of that she desperately misses her father who died not that long ago. But wow does this girl have courage and strength in the scariest of situations. She stays calm, cool, and collected in the face of death, always thinking, always using her sharp survival instincts. It was incredibly humbling to be inside her head.

Then there's Max, who is without a doubt one of my favorite book boys this year. The book is told in dual point of view, but his chapters are in third person whereas Riley's are told in first. I thought this worked perfectly, especially in showcasing their very different personalities. Max is charming, sarcastic, funny, and just all around adorable. He's also suffering from his own mental illness - one he keeps from the other teens because he's ashamed by it. Even though you find out almost right away what he's been diagnosed with, I'll let you discover it on your own. I definitely wasn't expecting it, but it makes his perspective all the more complex, endearing, and unique. Also, Kelley Armstrong does a masterful job of depicting Max and Riley's different mental illnesses, treating them with all the seriousness they deserve.

Unsurprisingly, I found the romance between Riley and Max unforgettable. They are together nearly every page, navigating the halls of the building they're trapped in after the masked men's plot goes awry. Max had a crush on Riley before the book even began, but he didn't make the best first impression. He would have been the last person Riley thought she could count on, but he proves her entirely wrong. These two make such a terrific team, able to keep each other level-headed despite the real danger they're in. The outcome may not have been the same if they hadn't been there together. I also really liked how the circumstances create an immediate yet genuine intimacy between them. They learn to trust one another and use their strengths, and from there deeper feelings start to grow. Though emotions are high, seeing Riley and Max interact, deepen their friendship, and refuse to be separated, I knew their relationship was heartfelt and strong. Truly, they are amazing together, and I was shipping them like crazy. Max especially was killing me with how earnest and smitten he was, even though he didn't think he deserved Riley.

This review has already gone on long enough, but I think I could talk about the book for days! Riley and Max are two characters I never wanted to let go, and I know I'll be returning to their story again and again. If there's any book I want to do justice in a review this year, it's The Masked Truth. I hope you'll give it a try!

This review can also be found at Love at First Page.

Note: I received an ARC at BEA but this did not affect my review in any way!
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
September 11, 2016
3.5 Stars! While I definitely had issues with this read, I really enjoyed parts of it! I would definitely recommend it to others and think it's worth the read.

L I K E S :

General Plot: As basic as it sounds, I just really loved the plot of this book! Kids go away to a therapy retreat and are held hostage by gun-wielding, mask-hidden thugs? Sign me up! (Well, don't actually sign me up for a weekend like that, it was just a really interesting idea for a story.) While I definitely had issues in the execution of the plot, overall, I think it's a very thought-provoking and exciting story.

Characters- Although we only really focused on 2-3 characters, I really enjoyed them! Max was someone I seriously identified with; I saw so much of my teenage hood in him and it was so comforting. I loved how strong & sensible Riley was; She definitely took charge and did things fearlessly with no hesitations for herself. Her only concern was protecting others and getting everyone to safety which I really admire. Brienne is another character we meet, who I feel is very underrated, but she is another extremely brave individual who was a pleasure to read about.

Portrayal of Mental Illness - As this book follows a group of teens at a therapy retreat, there's obviously an overarching theme of mental health despite it being a mystery/thriller. While I do think there were faults, i.e. We really only focus on Max & Riley despite there being a larger group of teens there; I seriously can only remember the reason why one other person was at the retreat and despite Riley being diagnosed with PTSD and in another extremely similar/triggering situation, her symptoms are rarely shown (will discuss later in review). That being said, there is a FANTASTIC portrayal of another illness very close to me - I'm going to hide this as "spoilers" because Max's diagnosis is technically left a secret in the beginning of the book, but I don't really spoil anything other than what he suffers from if you want to read it anyways.

Perspectives - Riley's perspective is told in first person while Max's is in third. I have not seen a lot of dual-tense books, so it was really interesting to read! For what was in Max's chapters, I think it was such an asset to tell his story in third person.

Ending - While I won't say too much, the ending really saved the book for me. I had so many problems with the first half that it was becoming not as enjoyable as a read, but the ending became more investigative, things started making more sense, and I think the last half was just much better developed. It definitely did not go as expected, and I really appreciated that. That being said, I don't like how I had to WAIT until the end for everything to make sense. I understand that's kind of the point of a mystery, but the missing explanations made the first half of the book extremely frustrating to read and I feel like part of the reason why I did like the ending was because I wasn't so pissed off at nothing being logical anymore.

D I S L I K E S :

Setting : By far, my biggest issue in this book. While I FULLY understand why the setting was significant and written exactly as it is, it still bothered me until the very end of the novel and I just can't get past the logic. Basically, this therapy retreat takes place at a "converted warehouse" so they have "no distractions." As someone who has been in outpatient and inpatient therapy as well as studying to be a clinical mental health counselor, I fully understand the idea of having those in treatment from mental illness far away from home life/society so they can recover without exterior influences. THAT BEING SAID. I have no idea why this was even considered as the setting for this story. First of all, it's stated that there are only two exits. They aren't guarded (like most facilities) and there's apparently no windows. While the whole "no distractions" thing fits nicely, it's not logical and absolutely a fire hazard. Secondly, there's a scene in the book where they approach the kitchen that is only stocked with granola bars, water, other little snacks despite them needing to provide food for a group of teens for an entire weekend. Like I said, I'm no stranger to inpatient therapy and you'd be surprised the selection the shithole even I was in was fairly expansive. My biggest red flag while reading was that the sink and other appliances where not even connected. Are you telling me that parents are going to send their kids away to a warehouse with little food, unfinished plumbing, etc.? It's obvious that not every parent is the most conscientious of their child's well being, but it was so ridiculous to me. Especially when Riley had so much trouble finding a good therapist before and her mother was very supportive of getting her the best help possible. Thirdly, other than two counselors and the group of kids, no one else was there for this "retreat". No guards, no doctors, no one but this group of about 8 people in a GIGANTIC warehouse far away from society. I understand therapy retreats are generally very closeknit, but the thought of people actually renting out this HUGE unfinished warehouse for ONE therapy group was super unrealistic to me. It does all come together in the end, but that doesn't make up for the 300 pages I spent shaking my head in stupidity as to how any character or reader could makes sense of this.

Romance - There are a lot of things I would change about this book if I could, but if it was up to me, I'd absolutely take out this romantic plot. Again, it's significance is explained in the end, but I am not the type of reader to justify issues just because the last few chapters say "oh no it's okay, this is why it makes sense." The thought of two characters running and fighting for their lives, one who had already experienced an extremely similar traumatic event, but also doing things like contemplating their "crushes" and even KISSING while being chased and hunted down was so unbelievably stupid to me. I would have been SO satisfied had the romantic feelings sprouted more FROM the experience and the couple got together at the very end; I had no qualms about the two character's chemistry and am really happy with how they compliment each other's characters. But I cannot make sense of two teens who think an extremely dangerous hostage situation where people have already died is the right time to figure out their romantic feelings. It was seriously unnecessary and there was a much better way it could have been expressed.

Characters- While I did love the characters, there are definitely things that irked me! While I appreciated Riley's dedication and selflessness, I thought her calm demeanor was super unrealistic. This is a girl who has been traumatized for the last two years after watching her employers murdered while hiding under the bed with their daughter. I can't recall a single moment where she slipped up, fell into a flashback, even HESITATED. I am not trying to undermine or diminish her character or her illness by saying that, I just found it really hard to believe that this girl who has suffered so much in her past was able to stay entirely cool throughout this whole experience.

With Max, I may just be picky. I may have grown out of the "attractive, sarcastic, British love interest" trope. Maybe it's because I've been dating a native-born Brit for four years. But using slang and words indigenous to Britain does not make a character British. There was something about Max that felt like any ounce of his "British-ness" was just picked up off Google and his heritage didn't go any further than that. I sincerely forgot it was a part of his character until he used another term like "bloody" or "mobile." There's just more to it than language when incorporating a character from a different country or culture, and I didn't feel it with Max.

Also one line that got so under my skin was as one of the counselors is "indisposed", he tells the other counselor to get Riley & Max to a cell phone and then "they can handle it from there." I had to set the book down at this. Are you telling me that a licensed, adult counselor would be telling ANOTHER licensed, adult counselor that two teenagers are more qualified to help a group of people in a hostage situation? And AGAIN for the fourth time, it makes sense in the end but it does not lessen my frustration and still boggles me as to how no one picks up on all of the extremely ridiculous aspects during this story.

While I definitely did enjoy the story, I think I liked the "idea" of it better than the execution. While it was thrilling and exciting and a great plot, the way it came across was very inauthentic, unrealistic (yeah, I know it's fiction) and frustrating at a lot of points. I could definitely appreciate the plot twists and decisions the author made for the story overall, but there was a lot of conveyance that was totally looked over all throughout. I still think it's an enjoyable read and I would definitely be interested in more novels like it in the future.
Profile Image for Amelia.
173 reviews49 followers
March 21, 2018
Another great read by Armstrong! Highly enjoyed this book and never found it boring.

I love the exploration of mental illness. This added into the story made a great mystery-thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat.
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,243 followers
April 18, 2017
I am sitting here unable to put into words how I feel about this book. The Masked Truth is heart-stopping. I cannot think of any other way to put it. This book is the perfect blend of mystery, thriller, horror, suspense, and just the right amount of action and romance. Seriously, it has it all with the right amounts of everything. I am not quite sure what I expected from Kelley Armstrong’s first ya non-fantasy book, but this exceeded any expectations. I am now hoping beyond all hope that she writes another psychological thriller soon.

The story starts with a prologue showing how Riley Vasquez gets stuck babysitting for the Porters where a brutal and horrific murder occurs leaving Riley with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After a few months of therapy and no sign of Riley getting better, her mom suggests she attends this overnight therapy weekend. There are six other teenagers attending. The therapy camp is in a renovated warehouse building with no windows and only two exits. Just as counselors are getting everyone situated in group therapy, three masked men barge in taking the group hostage. They sealed the doors shut and really mean business. It won’t take long for them to start killing if necessary.

There is a second POV from Max Cross. I really enjoyed being in Max’s head and seeing his perspective. The thing with Max is he is suffering from a mental illness of his own. It is something he keeps very private and is even ashamed by it. It is something worth finding out as it gets revealed (relatively early in the book). I will say that I immediately noticed his thoughts were very manic making me need to know more about him. The book does a great job of dealing with mental illness. It is both very fascinating and realistic. It clear that a lot of research went into the ones used in the story.

The Masked Truth goes places you do not expect. There are twists around every corner and a hell of a lot of suspense. The tension is palpable. The story entertains all the way through. In ways it reminded me of an Abigail Haas novel, which is the highest of compliments when it comes to YA thrillers. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Profile Image for Alex is The Romance Fox.
1,461 reviews1,087 followers
October 31, 2015
1,5 stars

I am a big fan of Kelley Armstrong’s The Otherworld Series and after reading some of my GR friends reviews, which were mostly positive, decided to read her latest YA book, The Masked Truth.

By the time I had read a few chapters, I thought…hey this reminds me of something like The Breakfast Club movie!! Remember, a group of “troubled” teenagers are stuck in detention together and for the next hour and half, we get to listen to all their woes and tribulations and they get to know each other….
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in The Masked Truth, we have a group of troubled teens who are going to spend a weekend of therapy together with their respective psychiatrists in a closed off derelict office building, cut off from the outside world and work out their issues!!! Within a very short time, they are taken hostage by masked gunman, who the teenagers give the most ridiculous names to!!!!

No, I don’t think I’m into this story!! But, okay, let’s try a few more pages….no….nothing is grabbing at me…
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Allright, close the book….maybe come back to it later! After all, how can so many readers be wrong about this book? Everyone is raving about it.

A couple of days later…..let’s give it another try!!! Maybe there’s something here that will get me to say….OhMyGee…I was so wrong…this is fabulous! But NO…..NO…..NO…..Total disbelief……that’s what I felt as the pages turned….
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Let me tell you why:

The characters:

Riley Vasquez can’t deal with the fall-out of not being able to help the family she was babysitting for being murdered and feels guilty about how she hid away with their young daughter instead of coming to their aid. OMG…her constant internalization that she’s not the hero people make her out to be and brushing off anyone who tells her they admire her courage…..hell, I just wanted to tell her to…
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And she learnt how to be a hostage negotiator from her now dead SWAT member dad!!!! Wow, he must have been an amazing teacher!!!

Max is quite an odd character.
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British accented schizophrenia sufferer, who just by the way, was the only one I liked…..despite the rambling musings he kept having over and over again…..some of the chapters are told in his third-person POV which drove me batty trying to make sense of what he was thinking….

The plot

Over half the storyline takes place in the office building and Max and Riley and some of the other hostages, if not having been shot and killed off, spend most of their time running down corridors, up the stairs, through office doors and more office doors, whilst dodging the rather inept hostage taking gunmen!! Back and forward, from one exit door to another….hell, these poor kids…..
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Just then, the setting changes…okay, I can’t say more…don’t want to do any spoilers here…..and that’s where my disbelief made my mouth open wide wide wide……..is this for real??? Is it at all remotely possible that these things can actually happen?

Yes, there are a lot of twists and turns and huge red herrings but when anything is revealed….I was like…NO, WHAT!!!!!

I am sure there are a lot more readers out there who will like this book….but me….hell, by the last page, I was a total ……wreck
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I gave an extra ½ star because ---- I did like Max and Riley together!!!
Profile Image for Briar's Reviews.
1,823 reviews506 followers
November 20, 2019
To begin this review, I have to admit I'm a little biased. I have always enjoyed Kelley Armstrong's books and doubly so because she's Canadian (represent!!). My review will absolutely reflect that I thoroughly enjoy her writing style and I am always down for a reading ride in her books.

So, off to the races...

This book is unique and different. It's not the typical Kelley Armstrong book I have come to expect, but I did enjoy going off the beaten path.

Riley is our lead, and the poor girl just witnessed a murder. She was just getting set up to babysit and suddenly masked men came in and murdered the parents of the little girl she was babysitting. She didn't see it happen, she hid under the bed, but it was still brutal and horrible for her. She was even under the impression people made fun of her for hiding under the bed with the little girl, even though that's what saved them both.

Riley's parents decide she needs to take part in a little therapy retreat in an old warehouse (it has been renovated, but it's still a warehouse with no windows... definitely not my ideal place to stay). When she gets there, she meets some new friends and comes across some old ones. Good old Max is there, a strange fellow who she has seen and briefly talked to before. He's... different (you'll find out why in the book, no shame in me ruining the "plot twist" that isn't a plot twist for you). All of these kids have mental health issues - cutting, anxiety, PTSD, narcissistic personality disorder, etc.

Everything seems like it's going to be a normal day at a therapy retreat... until it's not. Masked intruders come in and say they are holding them hostage, and chaos ensues. Death, murder, lots of pain and psychological horror gets thrown at the kids until the amazing plot twist at the end.

So, what did I think?

You need to suspend your belief a LOT for this book, but it's a psychological YA thriller so it should be expected. Being locked in a warehouse without windows? Creepy and seems illogical. Masked intruders - highly unlikely. Lots of fake outs - even crazier. A daughter of a police officer is as good as a SWAT team - hmmmm. Does that affect my view of the story? No. I was along the ride and was able to suspend my belief. This book wasn't meant to be "realistic" in whole, it's a thriller.

To be honest, this book was wild. I didn't know what way this book was going to end. Once the plot twist was coming into view, I could totally sense it buuuuuut... it's not what you think during the first couple of chapters in this book. I really liked that it wasn't there from the beginning but you could connect the dots if you paid attention enough. Well played Kelley!

So you add in intensity and thrills, a fast paced writing style that leaves you hooked to every word and a character that isn't the perfect Mary Sue/Mary Jane and you've got yourself a good one. But there's more... Kelley throws in an interesting romance (because most YA these days has to have some sort of romance in it). At first I wasn't sure about the romance since it seemed force, but by the end I was totally fangirling and loved every second of it. Somehow it works, even if it seems like a bad idea.

Other points: I have no idea if the mental health portions of this book are well represented. I have my own dabblings with OCPD but none of the mental health issues shown in this book. So, as always, buyer beware.

Overall, this book was one epic journey! I enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to someone wanting to jump into a more mature YA novel with psychological thrills.

Five out of five stars!
Profile Image for Jody McGrath.
352 reviews52 followers
April 22, 2017
This was a different type of book for Kelley Armstrong, and I absolutely loved it! She writes a terrific thriller, but also delves into the real world of mental illness. What it means to the person who has it and has to struggle with it every day, how it affects those around them and their struggle, and then the public and the lack of knowledge about mental illnesses that makes them ignorant and afraid. Ms. Armstrong really did her homework.

The thriller was great. The ending whodunit was predictable, but you really didn't even care about that. There already had been so many OMG and hold your breath moments in the book that by the time it was solved you were just glad it was solved.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good thriller, or anyone who wants to know a little bit more about the real story of mental illness. A+
Profile Image for Heather.
214 reviews63 followers
January 12, 2020
A thoroughly entertaining and worthwhile departure from the norm for Kelley Armstrong! Gobbled this one up in an afternoon.
Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,988 reviews194 followers
March 2, 2016
Dark, twisted, suspense with complex characters dripping with issues.
I loved her paranormal series and expected something other-ish to fill these pages. Yes, I do pick up books I know nothing about and start reading, it's fun to be surprised. Back to the point, I was reading about these troubled teens who had been brought together for this weekend therapy, in a remote location, with no windows and I expected ghosts, vampires, special powers ? They had no powers, no para-anything and not a touch of sexual tension, and I was glued to the pages. Why ? The story was interesting, there was something off about everything happening the answer just out of focus. I also grew to adore the two main characters, Max was a jumbled mess, living bare footed on broken glass. Riley, was the girl who lived a horrendous night. She is filled with survivors remorse. Together this most unlikely duo become more than society accepts.
There is a lot of death, blood, murder in this story. It is graphic, and happens through most of the book. Suicide also comes up. I am not sure I would call this YA reading.
I loved the book. It held me, made my adrenaline spike, my heart break and kept me guessing to the end. I hope she writes more stand alone reads like this.
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,348 followers
June 20, 2016

The Masked Truth is one of the best YA thriller/suspense books I've ever read. It was brilliantly crafted and executed to perfection. Kelley Armstrong proves, with this book, that it's possible to write a YA thriller that gives equal attention to its characters and its plot.

Riley Vasquez, one of the two protagonists of this novel, was from the very beginning, a character I liked. In her 17 years, she had endured way too much pain and horror than any person should in their lives, having had her father die on the line of duty as well as having to watch the gruesome murder of her babysitting couple. She was suffering through PTSD and was drowning in her survivor's guilt. Then to have her be part of this horrible hostage situation that her and her therapy group find themselves in should, in retrospect, have broken her. I kept trying to imagine myself in her situation, and holy shit, I probably would have lost my cool and been killed within the first five minutes. But Riley was nothing like me though. She was tough as nails and throughout the whole book she not only remained courageous for the sake of her sanity, but she made smart and well-thought-out decisions needed to survive the brutality of her captors. As she navigated the masked men while the body count kept rising, she remained calm and used her intelligence to evade the terrifying position she was put in, making her easy to root for.

I was happy that by her side, Riley had the incredibly charming, Max. Cute, British and entirely too loveable for words, Max was also a character who was fleshed-out beautifully. We get short chapters in his POV and being inside his head was fascinating as he too tried to keep his cool in the hostage situation, while also battling with schizophrenia. His sarcasm and wit added a lightness to this otherwise very dark and bleak story. I loved how Max and Riley stuck together in The Masked Truth, especially because they made for a terrific team, despite the odds being against them. They stand by each other, and act as each other's rocks through thick and thin. This experience also leads them to becoming inadvertently closer, and as the friendship and tender moments between them grew, I couldn't help but cheer for them to make it out alive and go live their happily ever afters. This is definitely a couple whose romance I truly adored from start to finish.

Kelley Armstrong propels readers into an action-packed story line from the beginning. It was a fast-paced story that never lost its momentum and continued to remain nightmare-inducing until very end. I have to give it to the author for surprising me time and again while I was reading The Masked Truth - this rarely happens when I'm reading a YA thriller book. The twists were intense, shocking and terrifying. This was the kind of book that had my heart racing and gave me chills with every rise in body count. Every time I thought these villains couldn't get anymore deplorable, I was proven wrong. Additionally, I appreciated how the mental health illness aspect of the story was handled with care and respect and I actually liked that the author added it to the story. I thought she did a fantastic job at giving readers insights on PTSD and schizophrenia.

The Masked Truth is probably a book that you're going to lose sleep over after you're done reading, but it's a book that's very much deserves to be read because its engaging cast and thrilling story line. It's not to be missed!
Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,644 reviews405 followers
January 17, 2018
It was so hard to give this a 3 star... but it just was not up to Kelley Armstrong's usual badassery for me... I was not grabbed from the get go and it didn't get better. The idea was great, but the execution fell flat for me. Very disappointing. Now I need to go reread an older novel to feel better haha.
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews712 followers
October 13, 2015
Actual Rating 4.5

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

I am a major Kelley Armstrong fangirl so I knew I would love this book but I still ended up being surprised by it. The Masked Truth is so different from Kelley Armstrong's YA novels in that it’s more mature and also happens to be a thriller (her YA books so far have been Urban Fantasy/Fantasy.)

One thing Kelley Armstrong has been good about is incorporating diversity in her novels and she does it again with a Hispanic female lead and also by discussing mental illnesses in a way that is heartbreaking but REALLY realistic and enlightening. I also appreciated that therapy was portrayed positively in the book (even with some of the things that happened.) The main character isn’t always on board with some of the things her therapist asks but getting help is NEVER mocked and I loved that.

Riley is suffering from PTSD after witnessing a couple she babysat for get murdered. She saved their daughter, but in her mind, because she hid under a bed, she is a coward and the fact that everyone considers her a hero makes it worse. When she and a bunch of other kids are held hostage, Riley really steps up her game to keep everyone together but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have flashbacks or panics. I think her entire character is so fantastically developed. It’s realistic and makes it so easy to believe in Riley.

My favorite character is obviously Max who is unlike any love interest I’ve met so far. He is schizophrenic. And it’s really his struggle that makes this book stand out to me. When we first meet him, he seems like a classic case of bad boy and I was like *shrug* but the more I read and the more Kelley developed him, the more I fell in love.

Through Max, Kelley really looks at the stigmas surrounding mental illnesses and specifically schizophrenia. Before reading this book, I didn’t know much about the illness but The Masked Truth really put into perspective the kind of prejudice people have and how hard it can be to deal with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia. In my limited knowledge of the illness, I’d say that Kelley did a fantastic job with dealing with the illness and never undermined its seriousness in any way.

As one can imagine, the romance between Riley and Max would be all kinds of interesting and it was. Given the situation they are in, being held hostage and all, the time frame within which their romance develops might make some readers see it as instalove but I was okay with it because Kelley really makes me root for these two. Their romance is built on understanding and team work rather than attraction (although there is that too) and I really liked that.

The thriller aspects, unsurprisingly, were amazing too. This book does get twisty but in a way that works and I enjoyed it. Of course, that could just be my bias since I adore Kelley Armstrong but I also think she just did a great job with the twists. She never throws unnecessary red herrings and nothing is predictable. Her twists also aren’t bizarre or unbelievable. They just make sense within the context of the story. It’s like watching pieces of a puzzle click rather than experiencing sheer surprise or shock.

The book does start off slow, and it wasn’t until the second half that I was really sucked in but Kelley has a way of writing stories that work for me and many other readers. I loved this book and hope that Kelley will write many more like it.

Note that I received an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Roxanne.
794 reviews51 followers
January 11, 2016
Believe the hype! It's seriously that good!!! I was pretty much on the edge of my seat the whole way through, and I just loved every minute! Recommended to everyone (except middle graders due to the violence).
Profile Image for Joy (joyous reads).
1,468 reviews291 followers
July 13, 2016
Very few books have surprised me this year. Whether it be a twist I never saw coming or book I didn’t think I would like, this year has been a year of expected experiences. Admittedly, I chose The Masked truth on account of the author. Kelley Armstrong has always been someone I admire. I was surprised to find that this book is not Paranormal or Urban Fantasy, for that matter. So I was very excited to read something out of the ordinary. This book reminded me of The Breakfast Club featuring a group of slightly more troubled teens. I’ve enjoyed every bit of this read. It was full of suspense and nothing ever turned the way I expected. Kelley Armstrong truly busted out some fresh new chops for this one.


Riley Vazquez has been through so much in the last couple of years. After her father was gunned down while doing his job, she witnessed the killing of the people she was babysitting for. Needless to say, she’s been in a dark place lately. When she agreed to join her therapy group at a sleep-away for the weekend, she didn’t think the scare tactics would be a part of the session.

Masked men armed with guns held them hostage all in the name of the almighty dollar. But is it really all about the money? She’d soon discover that it was all a part of a grander, much more elaborate scheme.


A lot of people would probably tell you that this book can be unbelievable at times (and they would be right). I don’t know anything about therapy, but I’ve never heard of a sleep-away camp held in a warehouse without doors and windows. That alone is a dead-give-away that something’s afoot. Couple that with Riley’s incredible expertise on investigative methodology and you’ve got yourself a Ripley’s Believe it or Not contender. Oddly enough, I didn’t mind it at all. Fiction is funny that way.


The Masked Truth is one heck of a ride. Thrilling, suspenseful, a real page-turner. Oh and it’s got a nice romance to sweeten the pot. Riley Vazquez is a tough cookie who uses her smarts and intuitive candor to get out of sticky situations time and again. This is one instance when I wish it’s a series!
Profile Image for Tez.
840 reviews218 followers
January 11, 2016
CONTENT WARNINGS: The Masked Truth deals with mental illness, predominantly PTSD and schizophrenia. Throughout the novel are ableist slurs, racism/cultural stereotyping, size shaming, sexism, and the threat of a sexuality conversion camp. While these problematic things are for the most part called out by other characters, sometimes they go unchecked. ("Crazy" appears frequently.) There's also gun violence.

I understand what the author tried to do here, but the execution is iffy.

The novel comprises two distinct parts: thriller and mystery. In the former, a weekend therapy camp for teens with mental illnesses quickly turns into a hostage situation led by three masked intruders. Deaths and injuries ensue.

In the latter, survivors are few, but they're left to make sense out of what happened. This is quite interesting at first, as it tackles the prejudice people with mental illnesses and disorders face, particularly if there's a crime involved. But as the survivors connect the threads, the story gets rather farfetched. Even the very last chapter has a final twist, but it seems like more of a twist for the sake of having one, rather than making sense.

I think the author tried to show that teens with mental illnesses and disorders can face adversity and save themselves. Thing is, Riley and Max's relationship is very co-dependent - so instead of saving themselves, they save each other. So yay for teamwork, but that may hinder independent spirit. Not as inspiring as you'd expect.
Profile Image for Nastassja.
423 reviews986 followers
December 17, 2015

2.5 stars (maybe)

I have a rather complicated relationship with Kelly Armstrong's books. More like "it's not you, it's me" kind. Her books are entertaining with good language and intriguing plot but I am not invested in her characters, there's no connection. I am like a passerby observing them from the side but not feeling anything particular toward them. The same was with The masked truth. I rather liked the story and suspense, but MCs and dialogs did not touch me nor I wanted to sympathize with MCs. There's nothing wrong with the book and moreover, we have a very intriguing thriller here with rather unexpected twists that do not let the story turn into a cliche. MCs are not whiny and have real issues which they try to overcome during the book. It's a REALLY good psychological YA thriller. This book also has a believable romance, which was really nice and sweet. I am turn between rating this book and not giving it any stars. I'd say, for me it was more between it was ok and I liked it. It is only my personal perception and I would advice to read this book to everyone who likes YA thrillers with romance. It's a very decent book, just not my cup of tea.

Profile Image for Alissa Patrick.
418 reviews184 followers
June 1, 2016
I won this ARC from a Goodreads giveaway awhile back in exchange for a review. Thank you GR!

Riley is suffering from sever survivor's guilt. The parents of the girl she babysits for were gunned down in front of her as they were leaving their house. Riley reacted with quick thinking and hid herself and the little girl under the bed. She saved the girl's life but feels like a coward for hiding under the bed.

She begins to go to therapy to deal with her depression and PTSD, and it is highly encouraged for her to attend a therapy sleepaway weekend, where a bunch of depressed, manic, and anxious teenagers are housed together in an old abandoned warehouse (with no windows) for an overnight Kumbayah adventure. What could POSSIBLY go wrong???

How about a trio of masked intruders who bust in, take the group hostage, and demand a ransom from one of the teenager's fathers, who happens to be a Richie Rich type of kiddo. Get the police involved with a smooth-talking hostage negotiator, play by the rules, and no one gets hurt.


This book wasn't half bad. You do have to suspend a LOT of realness and common sense for this to work, but it wasn't entirely hokey. The "twist" of the novel actually happens pretty early on and it set the pace for a complex cat-and-mouse game. 3 Stars.

Profile Image for Nichol.
90 reviews
June 25, 2015
*Full review to come closer to the release date*

I honestly don't know how to write a review right now. I'm still reeling from that wild ride. Wow. I'm quivering, shaking, absolutely dying right now. The Masked Truth deserves every single one of those five stars--it deserves more than just those five stars.

I honestly cannot recommend any novel more than this. If there's a single book that you preorder in 2015, I ask that it be this one. It deserves each and every one of these five stars. Congratulations to Ms. Armstrong for writing such a fantastic, real, and entrancing novel!
Profile Image for Michael.
177 reviews770 followers
November 7, 2015
This was definitely out of my usual reading comfort zone, but I'm glad I gave it a try. I've never read anything about a hostage situation before, and so it was pretty jarring at first. There were some seriously heart stopping moments of suspense in it, and twists and turns that'll leave you fumbling. And it's more than just reading about the crime, you have to try and solve it as well. I have to say I'm pretty proud of myself for catching before the big reveal. Overall, a really intense read!
Profile Image for Rebecca.
616 reviews500 followers
October 16, 2015
Actual Rating: 4.5

YAAAAAAASSS. That was seriously one of the best mystery/thriller books I’ve ever read. It is so much more than a "crazed gunman loose in a camp of kids” story. So so much more.

I expected one thing when I picked this up, and I got it alright. I got it and I got MORE. The story was intense and filled with suspense. I couldn’t put the book down, I just wanted to know what happened next! And just when I thought there was nowhere left for the story to go, it went somewhere and I was left on the edge of my seat.

The characters were amazing and diverse. There was a wide range of mental illnesses that were depicted - what I believe to be - beautifully. PTSD, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, schizophrenia. Nothing was stereotyped and everything was awesome. The only thing stereotypical was some of the characters’ reaction to schizophrenia but it’s okay because they got smacked. down.

Not only were they diverse in terms of mental illnesses, but also in terms of ethnicity. One of my favourite exchanges in the whole book was the discussion on Hispanic/Latinx. With a Hispanic and Latina lead, this pleased me greatly.

There was an adorable romance that made my heart all fluttery. And while I knew in my brain that their relationship is probably not the healthiest in the world because of what they’ve been through and all that jazz, I can’t find myself caring. They were just too adorable. #Sorry.

It was just all round really-fucking-great and a perfect October read.
Profile Image for Katie.
2,665 reviews144 followers
October 20, 2015
So I started thinking about how this book wasn't what I expected that was probably my own fault. And then I thought about how I say that a lot and maybe I should stop blaming myself for it and does this indicate a larger personality flaw?

So, hey, the book made me think!

I knew this was thriller/horror, but I wasn't expecting this level of violence. I've read most of Armstrong's work and, sure, they have violence, but it's primarily in a fantasy and/or adult context, so it reads differently to me.

And then it was a lot of running and hiding which is just not my favorite.

I did like the second half better than the first, but it still felt rather generic. The main character came off as generic to me, too. Very nice and not that interesting.
Profile Image for Kathy Davie.
4,675 reviews704 followers
December 7, 2015
The Masked Truth is a heart-stopping psychological thriller.

Don't expect this to be anything like a typical Armstrong story, for it's not. It is, however, extremely(!!!) well done, and I wish I could give it a "10".

My Take
Part of me was desperately turning pages as fast as I could, and another part of me wanted to put the book down, to catch my breath, to find a moment. Ah, god, Max, oh god, Max is such a sweetheart. All that promise and now all the struggling he must endure.

And what an excellent depiction of what schizophrenia must be like for people. No, I have no clue for myself — thank you, God — but Armstrong's descriptions feel so true.

I'm so impressed with Max…

"…he hadn't cared when he was corrected, hadn't been embarrassed to use the wrong word, because you won't learn if you don't try."

I'm really impressed by how well Armstrong maintained her consistency in Max's dialogue. And yes, it was rather irritating to read because I wanted to get on with the story! And. Yes. It was effective in providing a sense of what Max has to endure.

"'Couldn't quite get the grades for med school, I presume?'

The man's eyes narrow.

'You don't appreciate the insult? After you suspected me of stabbing Riley? I'm not sure which is more egregious — the presumption that by dint of having schizophrenia, I clearly did this, or the presumption that I'm not bright enough…'"

Armstrong isn't clear that Riley cancels her dream date to do this favor for Shannon. It sounds more as if her dream date got canceled, so she's doing this favor for Shannon, after all, what else is she going to do? My trying to figure this one out — added to the confusion created by Riley's reflections at the start of chapter 1 — and I lost some of the terror that Armstrong had already started to build.

Not to worry, though. It soon ratcheted back up!

Loved Maria's T-shirt: "Crazy on the Inside". I want one. And, I hate what happens to such a rebellious young lady! She had such promise. As for Max, oh lordy, that boy has got some mouth on him! He was cracking me up at the start. It's a contrast that will emphasize how hopeless his future is. I also loved it when Brienne spoke up at the start, lol. "…Are you still here? Didn't they drug you guys or something?" Too true, too true. Aaron is an odd kid. A snotty rich kid who turns out to actually be a good guy but with a cynical attitude.

The story is primarily a switching between Riley's and Max's viewpoints as we learn of the emotional and mental issues wreaking havoc in their lives. Riley's is so frustrating with her sense of guilt warring with what her father might have done and what she believes she should have been able to do. Part of me wants to slap her upside the head, but I also understand that logic doesn't work in a situation like this.

As for Max, he does make me laugh even as I want to cry. The talking he does in his head about his parents' interactions, his interactions with them, his own thoughts about what's happening to him will break your heart. Make you want to take his parents in hand and scold them. It's so hard for Max, after all the talk about how successful he would be, how successful he already…had been, how emotionally torn he is between being a typical teen and one who has had his life ended, metaphysically.

The way in which Armstrong wove in all this mental angst with the situational horrors was amazing. It read like real people were the characters with real reactions in a terrifying nightmare that doesn't seem to ever end.

So typical of authority figures…it makes me want to scream!
"Two minutes ago you were telling me to calm down, because I was clearly distraught. Now I've done as you asked, and you're faulting me for it?"
The kissing scenes cracked me up as well. Max keeps insisting Riley stop him, and she finally tells him that it's his own fault. If he wants to stop, he should.
No worries…, it'll be "right as rain."
The Story
Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for, and Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn't dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with "issues". But that's exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can't get out, they'll be next — but they're about to discover that even escape doesn't equal freedom.

The Characters
Seventeen-year-old Riley Vasquez is experiencing one traumatic episode after another this past eighteen months. Sloane is her older sister with an interest in karate and dance. Their father was a cop who had been on the SWAT team. Their mother is a fashion designer.

Eighteen-year-old British Max Cross (don't call me "Maximus") has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. A boy with tremendous promise and now he has to cope with this "life sentence". He loves to read and write. He's brilliant. And he's terrified. His very protective mother is a history professor specializing in ancient Rome at Oxford. His father is a lieutenant general with his own PTSD issues. His parents never married. Justin was his best friend. Ilsa Morton was the next girl in whom Max was interested. Mr. Robb is Max's lawyer.

Therapy weekend camp is…
…set in an old warehouse and is intended to help the teens deal with the trauma in their lives. Aimee Carr and Lorenzo are the counselors for the weekend. Sandra, Aaron Highgate, Maria Lawrence, Max, Brienne Ruskin, and Gideon are the teens attending camp along with Riley.

Lewis Highgate is Aaron's very wealthy dad. Chris has been Aaron's friend since their childhood. River is Brienne's bad-boy brother.

Gray, a.k.a., X-Files, is wearing the alien mask, Predator wears a mask from the Predator movie, and Cantina is wearing a mask from the Star Wars cantina scene.

Agent William Salas is the hostage negotiator. Detectives Buchanan and Wheeler investigate the so-called kidnappings.

Lucia is one of Riley's friends; Shannon had been her friend. Travis was the gorgeous boy for whom Riley had planned the date. Claire and David Porter need a babysitter for their daughter, Darla.

The Cover and Title
The cover is warm urban decay with a cracked, pitted, and yellowed concrete wall…one crack is wide enough for Riley to peer through. The author's name is in a strong white with the title, in a sense of reflection, exactly the same size directly below Armstrong's name but in a faded, more transparent white. There's blood as well, but it separates the author's name from the title. Or maybe…it's pulling them together.

The title is too accurate as Max and Riley find out The Masked Truth.
Profile Image for Laurie • The Baking Bookworm.
1,402 reviews368 followers
January 6, 2016
My Review: The Masked Truth is an interesting action-filled read suspenseful murder mystery for teens that also focuses on various mental health issues. I've been a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong's 'Women of the Underworld' series but some of her other series (her Nadia Stafford series) haven't resonated with me as much. This book falls somewhere in the middle of those two poles.

This book starts out strong and I was invested from the beginning of the book because I wanted to learn about Riley's past and the reasons she suffers from PTSD. Riley herself was an interesting main character and fairly strong in her own right. She's been through a lot, isn't the cookie cutter heroine (I loved that she was Hispanic) and she has suffered several losses.

The plot then switches to the weekend teen group therapy session that Riley attends and this is where my interest started to waiver a bit. This is partially due to the fact that I couldn't imagine sending my teen to a 'retreat' that is set in a huge building with no windows. My maternal warning bells started dinging loudly. It just seemed odd. The action ramps up big time as the truth starts to come out with lots of chasing and hiding and a rather large body count. There are a few suspenseful situation but after awhile I started to question how these kids kept getting away from these gun toting professional bad guys in a building that's in lock down. But I was willing to suspend reality a bit to keep the literary ball rolling.

The basis of this book, and what I will take away with me, is Armstrong's compassion and obvious research into the heart of various mental health issues. From depression, suicidal thoughts, to anxiety and even schizophrenia Armstrong brings some heavy issues to the forefront with sympathy, authenticity and compassion. She shows some of the issues and social biases towards mental illness as well as giving her readers an insider's view on the daily struggles for those who suffer from these diseases.

There was a diverse set of characters but the person who really stood out for me was Max. I liked his personality and being given the chance to get a look into his mind set as he struggles to deal with his own mental illness helped solidify him as the most memorable character in the book. Max also takes up the reigns of the narration once in awhile but his voice was quite different from Riley's and I enjoyed the fact that I could easily tell these two apart just from their tone and vocabulary.

There is a romance, and while it was expected, I found it to be sweet and I liked how it wasn't formed just on physical attraction but slowly formed based on friendship and getting to know each other under such severe situations.

While I didn't totally connect with the hostage story line I quite enjoyed the mystery aspect and its twists that came towards the end of the book. There was quite a big twist that I will admit I didn't see it coming. I think that if less time was spent in the hostage situation and more in the mystery scenes I would have given this book a higher rating.

Overall, this was an enjoyable mystery with a healthy dose of suspense, lots of action-packed chase scenes all woven around a slightly unbelievable premise but with a cast of interesting characters that helped to make it a good, solid read.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars (increased to 4 stars for this site)

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to DoubleDay Canada for providing me with a complimentary hardcover copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Nicole .
656 reviews180 followers
January 27, 2016
As seen on The Quiet Concert

This book was bloody brilliant. WOW. I could not read fast enough nor put it down. And my mind is still reeling from what happened. It was amazing and I loved it and everyone needs to read it.

Armstrong doesn't waste any time before kicking this story into high gear. The masked men show up on page 21 and it's all suspense, anxiety, uncertainty, anticipation, and other thriller-y goodness from then on out. Shit hits the fan around page 56 and that's when Riley and Max team up and begin looking for a way to escape. But even after they escape (it's in the synopsis so I didn't spoil anything!), they aren't safe and that was one of the things I loved most about this book. The last third or so was perhaps the most exciting as Riley and Max (and readers) try to figure out what the hell is going on. At this point, I really couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I was so curious and really had no idea what was to come.

I LOVED the incorporation of mental illness into the story. I think that is a large part of what makes this book so brilliant and why Armstrong deserves a HUGE pat on the back. Not only does having unreliable narrators add to the suspense - at times I questioned everything and found myself preparing for reality to turn on its head - but Armstrong simultaneously highlighted some very prevalent stereotypes and prejudices. It was so incredibly well done and relevant and eye-opening - seeing what individuals with these conditions might go through and how the world might react to them. Everyone can learn something from this book.

And Riley and Max... these two were incredible. Just good human beings through and through. I was so easily pulled into their struggles - their voices rang so true - and amazed at how they approached and dealt with their situations. And together - they just melted my heart. I wouldn't say there is romance in this book, not really, but a relationship built on trust and understanding and desire does develop and it is so freaking beautiful. They are definitely going to stay with me for a while. I love them.

This book is perfection. On the surface, it was a very well-executed thriller with ample amounts of action, mystery and suspense. But then there were the layers and layers of depth that gave readers a very real glimpse into mental illness, human nature and choices. I'd have to agree with Danielle @ Love at First Page and say that this might be one of the best books I've ever read, especially in this genre. It easily deserves every one of those 5 stars. I'll leave it at that.
Profile Image for Donna.
1,050 reviews51 followers
November 2, 2015
I liked the themes of this, but the crime plot was unbelievable to the point of being frustrating.

A group of teens with various mental or behavioral challenges go on a weekend therapy retreat. Rather than participating in some kind of formal, recognized program, they're just going to hang out with two young therapists in a windowless converted warehouse that someone stuck beds in just for this event. Everybody's parents seem okay with this arrangement.

Shit goes down immediately, before we get to know or care about anyone other than the protagonists. Despite the awkwardness of this setup, I was still pretty interested thanks to the heroine's backstory and the author's comfortable prose. Then the book got all action thriller on me.

The next chunk of the story was about sneaking through corridors, outsmarting kidnappers, and bonding through terror. The body count rose, but that didn't have the impact it might have because those characters were basically labeled as redshirts right from the start. Their deaths mostly mattered because of how they impacted our guilt-ridden heroine.

After an engaging twist the book resets into more of a mystery, but that's bogged down by coincidence as well as repetitive thoughts and conversations. It also requires us to believe in a group of criminals smart enough to pull together the earth's most convoluted plan but inept enough to have it foiled by those meddling kids.

There are some really unique elements here, they just didn't come together.
Profile Image for Siobhan.
4,490 reviews468 followers
October 2, 2019
I’m a big Kelley Armstrong fan, and am always eager to read more of her work. The Masked Truth is one I’ve been curious about for a long time, since it was released a few years ago, but it’s only when I noticed the library had a copy that I decided to dive in.

If I’m being completely honest, The Masked Truth is not a favourite. In fact, it’s a rounded up three-point-five-star rating. It required a bit too much suspension of belief for me to love this one, but I did enjoy the way mental health was dealt with throughout the book. When I forced myself to stop thinking about how out there the story was, I found myself addicted.

Although The Masked Truth is a gripping story with a great message, it will not be for everyone. In addition to the suspension of belief required, this one also has a lot of internal monologues. I know not everyone enjoys this, but it does play into the story and what the characters are going through.

In fact, I feel The Masked Truth is a story that will divide people. It will either hook you or you’ll find it grates on you. For those that are willing to give it a try, the way things come together plays out really well and makes it well worth it.
Profile Image for Amy.
2,578 reviews400 followers
November 11, 2015
3.5 stars
What a thriller! Action packed and intense. Though not the most believable of stories, The Masked Truth had lots of plot twists and likable characters. What got me, however, was the writing. Tight, varied, beautiful. Got a little long at the end, but still enjoyable (and by enjoyable I mean disturbingly full of murder and mayhem and motives. But, y'know...)

Side note, I'm glad I didn't "realize" who this author was before I picked up the book. I probably would't have given it a chance. Glad I did.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews368 followers
October 14, 2017
Being a huge fan of Armstrong and also on a thriller/mystery kick lately, there was no way when I caught a glimpse of The Masked Truth on her website that I was going to be able to resist it.

Told between dual point of views, The Masked Truth was so much fun. A story that was every bit as gruesome and frightening as it was interesting and entertaining.
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