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Believe Me

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In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

One out-of-work British actress pays the rent on her New York City apartment the only way she can: as a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers, hired to entrap straying husbands. When the cops begin investigating one of her targets for murdering his wife--and potentially others--they ask her to lure the suspect into a confession.

But with the actress pretending to be someone she isn't, differentiating the decoy from the prey becomes impossible--and deadly.

334 pages, Hardcover

First published July 24, 2018

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About the author

Tony Strong

15 books108 followers
Tony Strong also writes under the pseudonym J.P. Delaney.

Tony Strong was born in 1962 in Uganda, though his parents came back to the UK when he was six weeks old. He read English at Oxford under the playwright and poet Francis Warner and then went on to work as an advertising copywriter at Ogilvy and Mather, an agency which had already bred writers such as Salman Rushdie and Fay Weldon.

Tony Strong has made more than thirty television commercials, including the celebrated BUPA 'You’re Amazing, We Want You To Stay That Way ' campaign, and the American Express campaign. He has won a BAFTA for a campaign aimed at reducing solvent abuse - one of the very few drug abuse campaigns that have ever been shown to have a measurable effect. Tony Strong was recently poached by Abbot Mead Vickers, whose main account is British Telecom. He has published four novels: THE POISON TREE, THE DEATH PIT, THE DECOY and TELL ME LIES. THE DECOY has been bought for film by Twentieth Century Fox for Arnold Kopelson. TELL ME LIES was recently adapted by Granada Television into a series entitled LIE TO ME.

He has also written under several pseudonyms, including Anthony Capella.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,710 reviews
Profile Image for Debra .
2,125 reviews34.9k followers
July 28, 2018
Believe me when I say, this was not my cup of tea.

Claire is a struggling actor looking for work. Her one main obstacle is that she British living in the United States without a green card. This makes getting a job quite difficult and one does need money to survive.

She finds a job which will pay her cash. She works as a decoy, hired to entrap cheating spouses on tape. There are rules that need to be followed, the spouse withe the wandering eye needs to proposition her, and she needs to get it all on tape. Then one day, the wife of a suspected cheater is found murdered. The police believe her husband is to blame and have Claire help them get his confession.

The premise of this book sounded extremely interesting to me. Like a cat and mouse book where one often questions just who the good guy is and who is the bad guy. I so wanted to enjoy this, and I will say that I did enjoy it in the beginning and then things went downhill for me. I found myself losing interest and didn't really care who was telling the truth, who wasn't, who was acting, who wasn't, etc.

I enjoyed the Author's other book "The girl Before" and was hoping to be blown away by this book as I was by that book. Sadly, I just did not connect with this book. Yes, it is well-written, but I just didn't care about any of the characters to even care what happened to them. There are some twists and turns along the way with lots of lies, deceptions and revelations. Even with the twist and turns I was underwhelmed by this book. I may be in the minority on this one but it just felt flat to me.

At times this book is written like a play (or maybe a script) in keeping with the part of Claire being an actress and giving performance. There are also a lot of quotes from Baudelaire's Les Fleur du Mal (his book on S&M Poetry) thrown in.

The Author does note publishing this book years ago, then re-wrote it after "The Girl Before" became a best seller.


Thank you to Random House Publishing-Ballantine and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

See more of my Reviews at www.openbookpost.com
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
1,995 reviews15.7k followers
July 27, 2018
4.5 Mind Blowing Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5
WOW! What a crazy ride this book was! This book sucked me in from the very first page... and after it tossed me around and turned me on my head it spit me back out and left me spinning.... Claire I might need to crown you the most unreliable narrator of them all! Bravo! J P Delaney for writing such a unique and twisted thriller!

Claire is a struggling British actress living in New York without a green card... so what’s a girl to do? Claire being resourceful and an actress begins working for a divorce lawyer and becomes a decoy... trapping cheating husbands and making enough money to pay the bills, all seemeds good until... One of the wives she was working for ends up murdered... don’t even want to say anything else about the plot, because this is a journey best gone into blind...

This was an enthralling story that left me not trusting anybody! I thought it was so uniquely told I loved the script aspects... I loved all the psychology and the criminal profiling... The poetry discussed in this book will probably resonate with others more than me... poetry not my thing, to be honest I didn’t even know this was a real poet... color me ignorant! This was a group read and fortunately my fellow sisters were kind enough not to make me feel stupid when I excitedly told them that Baudelaire was a real live poet!🤦‍♀️


You do need to suspend belief for parts of this book and just go with it... but BELIEVE ME it is so worth it! The twists in this book they keep coming... this was a wild ride I was sad to have to get off of!

Strongly recommend to all fans of a well-done unique psychological thriller that will blow your mind🤯

*** many thanks to Valentine Books for my copy of this book ***

📚 you can find all my reviews on my blog @
https://audiokilledthebookmark.com/
Profile Image for Deanna .
647 reviews12.4k followers
July 17, 2018
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

I enjoyed this author’s previous novel “The Girl Before” and was really looking forward to reading this one too. “Believe Me” was previously published in 2001 under the title “The Decoy”. The author states that:

“although built around the same idea as the earlier one, and containing some of the same scenes, is completely different in plot, characterization, and structure.”

Claire Wright a 25-year-old British woman with dreams of becoming an actress is struggling to make it in America. Because she doesn’t have a green card her options for work are limited. She NEEDS to make it in the U.S. She can’t go back to work in London….not after what happened there.

America is her second chance.

She has a scholarship for an Actors Studio course, but it only pays tuition, not living expenses. She is allowed to work on campus but those jobs are few and far between. In other words, she’s broke.

Claire will do anything to keep acting…

Then she gets an opportunity to work for a divorce attorney. It’s easy money and the work is easy too. She is hired to entrap cheating husbands…though she prefers to think of it as “ behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances ”. Her ability to act, to become someone else came from how she grew up. Most of the time she feels like the husbands have it coming. Although sometimes she feels a little disgusted by what she does.

When her next "job" doesn't turn out as planned, EVERYTHING changes and things take a very dark turn. Claire is resilient and cunning, but can she do what she needs to finish this assignment?

What happens when even you don’t know who you are anymore?

I thought this was a really engrossing read and I had a hard time putting it down. The characters won’t win any awards for Miss/Mr. Congeniality, but I was intrigued by them. Usually, it bothers me if I can’t connect with characters, but it didn’t irritate me as much as it normally would. In fact, I liked not knowing who I could trust.

I didn’t care much for the erotic poetry (which may be because I didn't understand it). However, I still enjoyed the rest of the story, and I have to admit, I did end up Googling to find out more about “Les Fleurs du Mal” by Charles Baudelaire.

Overall, I found this to be quite an entertaining psychological thriller. The story had some great twists and turns, leading up to an intense and gripping ending that I never saw coming!



I'd like to thank Ballantine Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest revi
Profile Image for Chelsea *Slowly Catching Up* Humphrey.
1,387 reviews77.2k followers
October 4, 2022
4.25 STARS

Does anyone else feel completely refreshed and renewed when they pick up a book and finish it in 24 hours or less? Good, I'm glad to know it's not just me. I had to wait forEEEEEEEVVVVER for this one to come in at the library because I'm starting to review fewer books as arcs to accommodate our busier schedule as a family, and this was one I really wanted to take on initially, but just couldn't fit into the schedule. Can we all give a round of applause for the wonderful libraries across the globe and the wonderful people who work at them? It was 100% worth the wait, and it seems the forces that be knew exactly when I would need to pick this one up. Quite frequently I find myself craving a good trashy novel (I mean that as the highest compliment, truly), and this wacky, wonderfully suspenseful story was deliciously wicked in all the right ways.

I feel I need to state right off the bat that I can understand why this book doesn't work for everyone. It is indeed very bizarre, unrealistic, and filled with despicable characters. It's truly hard to sympathize with ANYONE in the book, but that wasn't a feature I was taking into concern while reading Believe Me. When I say this book was wackadoodle, what I mean is that there aren't any words in the english language that can do justice to just how over the top this tale was. For me as a reader, and what I was searching for to fill my reading tank at the moment, it ticked all the right boxes.

I hate to really say anything about the plot, because it is complex and ever changing throughout, but also because you really want to go in blind to be surprised at all the right places. Beware reader, you may receive major whiplash from all the twists and turns, but it was precisely this aspect that kept the pages turning so quickly. Even though I trusted no one in this story (TRUST NO ONE I SAY!!!), I found myself unable to look away from the train wreck of a cast that put most soap opera storylines to shame. If you enjoy racy, compulsive, and fantastical thrillers, this one is for you. It's the perfect read when you're needing something to blow through in a very short time period.
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,500 reviews24.5k followers
July 28, 2018
J P Delaney follows up the bestselling The Girl Before with this dark, and twisted psychological thriller set in New York with the starring role played by British actress, Claire Wright. Claire is attending a prestigious acting course that she came to NYC for. She is perennially short of money, behind in her rent money to Jess, whom she shares a Manhattan apartment with. Claire is forbidden to take up legitimate work as she lacks the green card to do so. She ends up working off the books, cash only for the law firm, Kerr and Adler, with their ex-cop investigator, Henry, filming married men coming on to her for their wives who have become suspicious of them. Every man falls for Claire until she meets Patrick Fogler, whose wife, Stella, she had met earlier. Academic Patrick Fogler is an expert on and obsessed with Charles Baudelaire, more specifically the poems within Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) with content that touches on the dark and unseemly side of sexual relationships. Patrick refuses Claire's open advances but later that night, Stella is found brutally murdered in her hotel room.

Claire loses her job, but is offered an opportunity to entrap Patrick by NYPD cop Frank Durban and Forensic Psychologist, Dr Kathryn Latham who believe Patrick is guilty of murdering his wife and 8 prostitutes that they know of in his life. Scenes of Claire in her acting classes demonstrate just how good an actress she is. She sees this as a role that offers her the opportunity to get the much desired green card, and besides she can do this. It's a job with different rules from the usual of being an actress, but it requires the same skills and the same process. However, nothing is as it seems, is Patrick the real target? For the reader it is like falling into a dark rabbit hole with Claire, the unreliable narrator, can she be trusted on anything? And what are the Baudelaire connections to Necropolis.com, an extreme BDSM site? Claire is falling in love with Patrick, willing to go wherever he leads, uncaring of how dark that territory may turn out to be, in fact, the darker and more dangerous, the better, all the time approaching all that she encounters with the line, what can I use from that?

Delaney writes a story with the kind of twists that make it difficult to predict where the novel will end up. It is a beautifully written story, with Claire, a central character who is hard to get a grip on as we wonder if there is anything we can trust about her at all? At the same time, I find myself unable to trust Patrick at all. I can see this providing the requisitely compelling material for a film! This is an entertaining and thrilling read, albeit you do have to suspend your sense of disbelief at times. Many thanks to Quercus for an ARC.
Profile Image for Christina Loeffler.
135 reviews17.4k followers
July 25, 2018
Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing for a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions presented are my own.

DELANEY (AUTHOR)
Writes Believe Me.

EXT.
SITTING ON A BEACH READING INSTEAD OF HANGING OUT WITH HER FRIENDS.

ME
4.5 knock it out of the freaking park stars!!!


Let me start this off by saying: NOTHIN' BUT NET Delaney, this redefined an unputdownable SLAM-FREAKING-DUNK of a book. This grabs the readers attention right out of the gate and doesn't let you go until literally, the last sentence. I am a marionette and Delaney was pulling my strings from the first sentence to the last.

This. THIS, is a master class in thriller writing. For all of the moving parts of this story absolutely nothing fell flat for me. The setting, the structure, the formatting, the character development - this absolutely blew me out of the water *maybe slight pun-intended since I finished this on a beach*.

It's been a hard time coming, but I've really come around to structural changes to your typical story telling (when done right). Delaney truly created something wholly unique here. We only have one POV (Claire) however, she views her life as a movie and we switch between traditional story-telling and script writing. I had originally and right away been turned off by this. For me, the goal of every book is to enter what I call the "reading zone" but what many call "deep reading" and when you really shake things up with formatting it can be hard to drop into. I'd say this took me about......a grand total of.....two chapters to drop into that zone because of the script writing.

I'm only somewhat familiar with scripts (having read a few for my dad who free-lances B-movies on the side) and so I was a bit wary of this. However, Delaney executed it in a way even someone entirely unfamiliar with this format could enjoy. It not only added to the suspense and broke up the novel a bit but it further aided to the excellent character development. I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again - thriller/suspense novels generally suffer in this area. The focus is on the development of the mystery instead of the characters. However, Delaney didn't falter here one bit. I really felt I knew Claire and Patrick - and to a lesser degree Kathryn, Henry and Frank.

The girl lies naked, sensuously sprawled,
Her limbs spread wide to curious eyes;
Her secret places shamelessly exposed


Poetry (due to the overarching theme of Baudelaire) is interspersed throughout with the scripting. I'm honestly really picky about poetry but it was utilized in a way that really created some seriously sinister undertones here. I think Delaney used so many clever techniques throughout the story and it created a very unique, anxiety and character driven psychological thriller (this is just one of many examples).

Sometimes, when you wear a mask too long, you find it sticks to the skin.

The use of red herrings here made me understand why so many authors implement these. Why they are so important and how they are properly used. I absolutely loved the implementation of psychology as well and that it was (for the most part) correctly used. I only have my bachelors in this field of study but I do have a very dear friend who has Histrionic Personality Disorder so this aspect really appealed to me, especially since it was accurately portrayed. So much of mental health is misused and misunderstood and I appreciate that Delaney clearly did the research here.

I completed this as a Traveling Sisters group read and what a true and fun joy it was! Thank you ladies for such an enjoyable read and so many fun discussions! This would easily fit well into any book club out there!

Are you looking at reading this book? BUY. IT. PUT. IT. ON. YOUR. SHELF. This was a *insert another sports analogy for some kind of goal (I don't watch sports so I only know a few)*. To say the least, it's easily a 10 out of 10 for me. I don't want to do a synopsis because Delaney does that expertly - don't try to give anything away because this was a wild (and truly fun) ride from start to finish. Pick it up. Don't question it. READ IT.
Profile Image for Mackenzie - PhDiva Books.
413 reviews14.4k followers
July 29, 2018
A dark and twisted thriller that lured me into the story and captured my thoughts until the very last page! There is no one in the psychological thriller genre who can write such captivating, loathsome, alluring characters as well as J. P. Delaney. Earlier this year I was enthralled by his last book, The Girl Before. This one is somehow even better. I could not separate myself from this book. Everything about it was so carefully crafted, from the story to the characters to the writing techniques.

And what to say about those twists!?! I read this with a group of my traveling sisters and because we were always at very slightly different points in the book, our opinions and theories kept misaligning in a good way. That is how often Delaney has you rethinking everything in this book! Nearly every chapter led me in a different direction.

About the Book

Claire Wright is an actress who was blacklisted in the UK, and takes up coursework in New York City for a fresh start. Despite incredible talent, without a green card Claire isn’t much better off in the U.S. Struggling to live her dream, Claire finds some unconventional work ensnaring cheating husbands for a divorce firm. Sure, it doesn’t make Claire feel great, but it is work that uses her beauty and skills and intelligence, and allows her to continue her studies.

Claire always follows the rules...

Always appear available. Don’t approach them first. Always let them be the one to proposition you. Don’t actually sleep with them. Get the evidence, return it to the wife, and don’t speak of it to others. Claire has never struggled to seduce men. She finds this is a job she was made for.

Until one entrapment doesn’t go as planned and the game changes…

Claire finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. The first mark who doesn’t go for Claire’s charms ends up with a dead wife by morning. The police want Claire’s help to capture a dangerous killer. Claire goes undercover, but finds herself confused as she gets to know him. At what point does the mask we put on become who we really are?

Reflection

In college I was a double major in literature and psychology. Though in my doctoral degree I chose to pursue psychology, literature has a very special place in my heart. I took a French Literature course where we read Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal in the original French. This book is heavily crafted around Baudelaire and so I was immediately drawn in.

One thing I always remember about studying Baudelaire was his passion for contrast. Highlighting the incredible beauty of the grotesque and challenging our sense of propriety. Baudelaire pushed boundaries beyond many poets and writers of his day. His poems tend to leave me breathless. They leave me mesmerized but disgusted. The beauty of his words and verse contrasted with the dark imagery are really something to behold.

“Never fall for anyone who prefers to speak someone else’s words.”

I think some readers will find themselves hating his poetry that appears in this book, and that is a completely valid reaction. But I always think of Baudelaire as testing people. Showing people that they can actually be attracted to things that horrify them. Delaney showcases this power in his book, both through Baudelaire’s life and poetry, and through the story of the novel itself. I don’t want to spoil anything about the plot, but I will say that the characters of Claire and Patrick are so perfectly crafted to mirror the feelings that Baudelaire’s evokes in readers. I am absolutely captivated by this story.

I found it interesting that Delaney actually did the translations for this book himself. They are incredibly good translations! Translations of Baudelaire’s work tend to bring some controversy, because it is incredibly difficult to capture the meaning, beauty, and horror of Baudelaire’s poems in a translation. I am in awe of Delaney for the skill it took to craft such great translations. The inspiration for this book is the work of Baudelaire, and to capture that essence of his writing for an audience that has less knowledge of him is incredible.

“Sometimes, when you wear a mask too long, you find it sticks to the skin.��

Onto some other reflections on this book. This book really plays with the line between reality and fiction. Claire is an actress and early in her career she learned the difference between pretending and acting. To act, she learns, you have to feel what the character is feeling. You have to let a part of yourself become the character. And then, as she learns throughout the book, it can be difficult to tell when you are acting and you have become the character. I loved reading about Claire, both in what she acknowledges, as well as what Delaney allows us to see as observers of her story.

And then there is a strong theme of trust and deception. Many of the characters in this book talk about trust. It becomes central to every element of the story. The most fascinating use of this theme is in the way that characters are unsure whether they are deceiving not only others, but themselves. The characters have so much introspection, despite how narcissistic they are. Like Baudelaire, the contrasts and paradoxes are the beauty in this book. A character might be both strong and fragile, honest and deceitful, alluring and repulsive. A character may both desire the spotlight but spend their life hiding. A character may be trusting and mistrusting. These contrasts kept me on my toes. I wasn’t ever sure where the narrative would spin next, and I loved every moment of it.

“Those are always the most interesting characters: the ones who deceive themselves. Because sooner or later, the deception always falls apart.”

I read that Delaney had actually written a book like this nearly seventeen years ago, under a different title. The book was published but didn’t take flight. When Delaney went to republish it following his recent success with The Girl Before (which you should really go read), he felt that there were flaws in the original work. He rewrote it from scratch and says it is “completely different in plot, characterization, and structure.” Well, Mr. Delaney, I did not read the original version of this book, but I would like to go on record saying that this recreation of your original idea is a true masterpiece.

This book is pure chaos and terror and love and torture and poetry. I loved it!

See my blog for more: https://PhDiva.blog

Thank you to Random House and J. P. Delaney for my advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Crumb.
189 reviews504 followers
September 12, 2018
Sick, Twisted, and Utterly Captivating.

Claire is an accomplished actress, one of the best in her class. She identifies as an "actress." That is who she is. But, what happens when the line between fantasy and reality blur? What happens when Claire gets too deep in her role? And what happens when Claire loses sight of herself.. When she can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction?

This was a beast of a thriller. It was everything I had hoped and more. I am always a little hesitant to read a book that is receiving a load of hype, but I am happy to say that this book stands firm against its reputation. This mind bender sent my brain into a psychological fury. I couldn't tell what was real and what wasn't - It was almost as if the protagonist had climbed inside my mind and began turning somersaults. I also can't express how much I love unreliable narrators. They can either make or break a story. In this case, it only enlivened the novel even more.

As for my rating, I am always weary about giving a psychological thriller five stars. There are just so many out there, and the competition is fierce. It really has to have that "something, something" that pushes it over the edge. This one had it, but I can't quite explain what it was, and perhaps that is what made it so special.

Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,003 reviews3,516 followers
August 6, 2018
Well if you are looking for a thriller than will shock you at every turn...then look no further!
This book was so full of surprises and twists that I was in danger of getting whiplash,

Claire is a young actress from England now living in New York City looking for her big break! She attends acting school yet is always in need of money to continue school...and of course to just survive in the big city.

Her latest gig is to to work for a law firm’s investigator. Only one assignment may be more than she can handle.now where does her acting stop and reality take over. Will she survive to act another day....or will this be her swan song?

An absolute fast and furious read! Who to believe? Who to trust? What is real? And what is fiction? This book will keep you guessing right up until the very end.

A buddy read with Susanne!

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and JP Delaney. For an ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Melisa.
324 reviews513 followers
July 24, 2018
Well, I don’t know about you, but my heart nearly burst out of my chest on this one! Holy smokes, the twists and the turns and the turns and more twists. I’m spinning!

Such a unique structure, I love how this one was set up - scenes structured as a script as it is playing out in the protagonist’s mind. As a former acting student of a studio in New York City, this one was super relatable. I loved hearing all about the acting exercises and techniques that I once studied.

And may I please point you to my friend Mackenzie’s review for her personal take as a psychologist who once studied Beauledaire. Her background casts a unique perspective on how the author has taken these topics and melded them into a fresh, fast paced psychological thriller.

This was a Traveling Sisters group read, and we were a slightly split group on this one. Always enjoy reading the perspectives from my fellow reviewers.

Thank you to Random House and JP Delaney for my advance copy. This book is available today!
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
306 reviews2,324 followers
August 3, 2018
FOUR STARS
IMG_4290

I felt the author's previous book, The Girl Before was written well; but, for an architectural mystery based on minimalism, it was a big ole mess --structurally speaking, of course.😊

I really like BELIEVE ME. I was absolutely crazy about the first 2/3 of this addictive story. The plot had me second guessing my way through. Sadly, the last 1/3 just went so overboard it got ridiculous. I have a hard time understanding why the author (actual name: Tony Strong) wants to throw in everything he knows about his subject. It's too much. He overshot that line of believability and my five star rating dropped to a four.

This novel is mostly set in the theater world and our main character, Claire, is a young actress trying to make a living in NYC and eager to do anything to pay her rent. I think Claire is one of my most favorite unreliable narrators in recent memory. She's not a drunk or a sociopath or is she? We never know because she is ALWAYS acting. How CLEVER is that?

The performance aspect of her personality is a refreshingly innovative way to style an unreliable narrator! Hmmmm. Talk about "method actor method actor method actor".

Some scenes come alive in Claire's head in the form of an actual written play. At first this can be confusing, but you'll catch on quickly. When she gets into serious trouble by being accused of murder, the real fun begins! This is a cat and mouse game with lots of twists.

BELIEVE ME is sophisticated, slick, beautifully written. It's a dark and addictive book, just know an over the top ending is waiting for you!

Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book before publication on July 24, 2018. All opinions are mine.
Profile Image for Holly  B (busy month catching up).
788 reviews1,739 followers
July 4, 2018
My first by this author, I own The Girl Before. but haven't read it yet.  The beginning of this novel had me hooked and flipping pages to find out how it would play out after a quite intense beginning.

Claire is a British actress who is looking for work in America, but can't get hired without a green card.  She is resourceful though, and uses her acting skills to lure unfaithful husbands into a sort of divorce trap (so the wives can be certain whether their husbands are cheaters).  The wives are her so-called "clients".  Is this called a "honey trap"?

The temperature starts to rise in more ways than one when one of her clients is found murdered in one of the hotel rooms on the same night Claire met up with her hubby.  This is where the twisted show of cat and mouse really begins.  When I say twisted, I am talking....tangled, distorted and disturbing!

I have mixed feelings because I really enjoyed the first half and was looking forward to a compelling end, but it turned out to be more confusing and bizarre than what I could even imagine. Why, did we have to go there? The unreliable narrator turned out to be quite the actress in my opinion.  This is only my take , so check it out and see what you think of all the strange twists and turns that spin this one!

Thanks to the publisher a copy of this Arc. Publishes on July 24, 2018
Profile Image for Meredith B.  (readingwithmere).
231 reviews158 followers
July 25, 2018
5 STARS

What. Did. I. Just. Read. My mind is totally blown right now. I devoured this book in a matter of hours and I just could not get enough of it! This was my first J.P. Delaney (yes i know, I need to read the Girl Before) but wow this did not let me down!

The opening scene of this book is a big BOOM. Claire is an aspiring actor, an also an immigrant from London without a Green card, that is just trying to make rent. In order to make rent she may have to do some questionable things.

And Where are you from Claire? I'm trying to place that accent.
I'm from...wherever you want me to be from.
I never met a girl there before.
What's the most you've ever paid a woman, Rick?
Five hundred but that was --
Double it.
What's your Room Number?
I'll knock on the door in five minutes. Don't make eye contact with the concierge.


I know what you're thinking, Claire's method's come off a certain way but I'll tell you that what you're thinking is not AT ALL what happens. You'll have to read to find out more.

Through Claire's "profession" and best way to make money, she gets herself into some trouble. She literally puts her life on the line in order to get the job done. One day, Claire is asked to work on a recent murder case and try to have the husband of the wife confess that he was the one who killed her. Claire does this in exchange for money and a green card. They make a completely new identity for Claire and she quite literally has been given the role of a lifetime...

Reading through this book I had no idea where it was going to go. The author did a phenomenal job at tricking me into thinking that at different points different people had killed the wife. I also doubted at times if Claire could have been dreaming or if she was hallucinating some of the things she described. There were also points that I questioned, Is she just this great at acting?

Something I loved about this story was that it intertwined Claire's real life and her love of acting. There were chapters were she was either in class or acting in a play and I could see the connections between the two. It was almost like the author wanted to foreshadow some of the upcoming events but I thought this was done in a really creative way.

The book is fast paced, like I said, I read it in under 24 hours. This is definitely a thriller and one of the best that I've picked up in a really long time. It was new and different from the stuff I've been reading and I just devoured it. 10 out of 10 would recommend picking this up for all your thriller lovers!

Thank you to Random house for my Advanced Review copy of this book!
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,051 reviews30k followers
June 8, 2018
4 dark, sultry stars to Believe Me! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Claire is British and living in the United States as a struggling actor. Not only does she need money, she is desperate for a green card, too.

Her ship comes in when she is hired as a decoy for a law firm of divorce lawyers. Her aim, to catch husbands cheating on tape...with her.

All seems to go as planned until the wife of one of the target’s is murdered. Claire is asked by the police to ensnare the husband in a confession for the murder. Is she prepared for this starring role?

Believe Me is both enthralling and icky for different reasons! Are the traps ethical? Does Claire cross the line? Throughout, I never knew whom to trust, including Claire.

If you enjoy darker, twisted thrillers, Believe Me should be on your radar!

Thank you to J.P. Delaney, Random House/Ballantine, and Netgalley for the ARC. Believe Me will be published on July 24, 2018!

My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,036 reviews1,499 followers
July 4, 2018
Believe Me by J.P. Delaney is a psychological thriller that brought out that side of me that argues with myself. My reaction while reading this one…. What?? Yes… well, no… yes… no way! Yeah, you get my point.

The book begins with Claire doing what she does to earn money, propositioning a man in a bar. But it’s not what one would think in any way, Claire works for a law firm going undercover to catch cheating spouses since acting jobs are hard to come by for someone without a green card.

Normally these jobs go very quickly for Claire, all she has to do is wait for the mark to approach her and flirt a bit all the while getting them on camera. But Claire is surprised when a mark doesn’t fall for her attempts but even more surprised when the wife is upset her husband didn’t cheat. What Claire never expected after the job was over was to find herself in the middle of a murder investigation.

This is one that I’m not sure if it would be for everyone as it is certainly different. They style the author chose was one that took a little getting used to. A lot of the conversations and such are in an interview type of format but since the story was intriguing I went along with the differences well enough. Once the twists in the book begin to happen my internal debate meter shot off the chart and it wasn’t as if you are thrown a whole pile of suspects but the psychological side showed in playing mind games with the reader. In the end I was glad I picked this one up as it certainly was an entertaining read.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Caro (Bookaria).
583 reviews18.4k followers
July 6, 2018
This was a great thriller! Claire is a British actor living in NYC. To make ends meet she works for a law firm luring unsuspecting husbands into making her a sexual proposition, once she gets them on tape she walks away and gets the evidence into the attorneys or wives' hands.

All is well until one day one of the wives shows up dead and Claire is enlisted by the authorities to get a confession out of the suspected husband. This novel was a very quick read, fast paced, and intriguing. 

The story takes place in NYC and is narrated from Claire's point of view. I found the characters complex, dark, and interesting. In some parts, the novel is written like a play which was very unique and original, fitting perfectly with Claire's role as an actor.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel and recommend it to readers of thrillers, mysteries, and contemporary fiction. 

I received and ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Review posted on Blog
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
478 reviews37.2k followers
January 26, 2019
This book was literally 334 pages of dumpster fire .

I was scammed . So hard.

Thriller?
Almost nonexistent
Unrequited love and romance?
..........

The payoff sucked. And I am exhausted.

Ok. J.P. Delaney will be another author who isn't for me. I didn't like his other book, The Girl Before, either, and this one is no exception. Throughout the book, we follow this main character who I immensely disliked; she was so dramatic and over the top. Even though that may have been intended and purposeful, it was just not good. The main character is an aspiring actress who is supposed to 'act' / infiltrate this role to catch a 'killer'. A really interesting concept. And the book also provides several scenes as if you were reading from a movie script, another really cool concept. And that was probably the only good thing it had going for it.

This was a mess. I literally did not believe any semblance of mystery or story this book had to offer. It was so unbelievably far fetched and unrealistic to the point I was just laughing at the final twist(s) and outcomes.

Not good. Not memorable. Not worth. Skip it.

ONE STAR.

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Profile Image for Susanne.
1,153 reviews36.2k followers
August 5, 2018
3.5 Stars* (rounded up)

A Wicked, Wild and Wacky Novel.

What is real and what is not? That is the question. The mind is a tricky tricky thing and if you trust it, you are being very silly.

Claire is an Actress and a Brit in the U.S. without a Green Card. She can’t get a decent job and the kind she can get is heavily frowned upon: she becomes a decoy, a woman who seduces men, just to catch them cheating on their wives. Then something crazy happens - one of the wives who hires her is murdered and then everything blows up Claire’s her face.

Just like that however, things turn around on a dime - and what you see is not what you get. Claire has a new employer. Her new job is quite dangerous. Can Claire be trusted? Can her employers? Can her new boyfriend Patrick? Color me intrigued. And scared half out of my wits.

What JP Delaney does here is as cray cray as Ben & Jerry’s best ice cream flavors: picture Cherry’s Garcia or Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream. It’s shocking, delectable, wacky and wild all at the same time.

This was a buddy read with Kaceey. Thanks for keeping me company during the wackiness Kace! This storyline was so out there that I had no idea where it was going to go and while I admit that the ending was a bit too much for me, it was an entertaining, enjoyable read.

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing - Ballantine and JP Delaney for an ARC of this novel in exchange for for an honest review.

Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 8.5.18.
August 1, 2018
One group / Two Coulees

Believe me, I wasn’t believing anything here. (I took this idea from Debra) We are Traveling Sisters we can do that. lol

I was lost in a coulee reading Believe Me with five of my Traveling Sisters and we ended up in two very different coulees with the way we felt about this one. Four of my TS really enjoyed this one and one other TS and I just couldn’t suspend disbelief enough to enjoy this one.

There is some depth here to make this an interesting and intriguing read and a few elements to the story that makes this a uniquely written story. However, for me, it went just a little too far and really tested my ability to suspend that disbelief and in the end, I lost my struggle to do so and I couldn’t wait to jump out of that Coulee. I must admit I get really disappointed with myself when I am unable to suspend that disbelief and just enjoy the story.

Anyways enough about me let's talk about what the TS thought. They really enjoyed this fast-paced entertaining story that took them on a wild ride through a coulee passing by me and my other sister while we sat grumpily by. They really were having way more fun than we were. They really liked the way the story was written in the form of a script and that really added to the story here with our main character Claire who was an actress. They thought Claire was an interesting character and enjoyed many things about her that I can’t say because you need to find out by reading it.

I recommend this one to readers who are looking for a fast-paced interesting and unique story that you will need to suspend one’s disbelief to really enjoy this story.

Thank you to Edelweiss, Random House-Ballantine and J.P. Delaney for my copy to read and review.

This is Traveling Sisters GR Reading Group Review and it can be found posted on our themed book blog Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading.
https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com
Coulee: a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley. Coulee references are symbolic to our reading experience

Profile Image for Linda.
1,166 reviews1,213 followers
October 16, 2018
Believe me......

This is a walk on the Wild Side. It's an unfocused trip banging into walls down a dark, dark corridor. No flashlight, and certainly, no light at the end of this tunnel. Just pure adrenaline pumping.

It's all about risks. Claire knows that up front and personal. She finds herself as an out of work Brit actor in America with no green card and debt piling up. Her roommate is about to kick her out because of months of non-payment on the rent.

It's all about desperation. Claire has few options about now. She hooks up with Henry who runs a business outing wayward spouses for a big fee. Claire's acting abilities turn the tide in order for her to entice lovestruck men into following her upstairs. The "gotcha" moment brought to you by recordings and video taping. Academy Award performances minus the Oscar.

It's all about the emboldenment effect. Placing the Wild Card down a few too many times. Claire's latest woman singing "I've been done wrong" ends up dead. The police have plenty of questions for Claire.

It's all about taking this to new heights. Claire agrees to be a decoy in order to catch the killer. She's prepped by a very skillful psychologist. But who gets played by whom?

Let me just say that there were some high point moments that sparked in the beginning. The premise was a good one and highly creative. But then I felt like J.P. Delaney went down too many dark passages like a runaway pinball machine bangin' every bell for effect. The storyline was bogged down by revisiting acting classes far too many times, relentless references to the questionable poetry contained within, and Claire's capabilities that caused me not to believe in Believe Me. Simply........Overkill with too many "shock and awe" repetitive moments.

I enjoyed The Girl Before (Upcoming movie by Ron Howard). Believe Me suffers from trying too hard. Take it out for a spin and see what you think.
Profile Image for Amanda.
710 reviews233 followers
June 24, 2018
Wow I didn’t like this book I loved it!!! After reading the girl before I was very excited at reading this book and I wasn’t disappointed, the beginning Draws you in and before I knew it I had read half off the book!!
The relationship of Claire and Patrick gave me goose bumps it’s a thrilling ride that fascinated and scared me at the same time and as always I didn’t see the twist coming.
A must read book but be prepared to clear you’re diary as this book is addictive.
Thank you to net galley who provided me with this book in exchange for a review
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :) .
958 reviews2,558 followers
July 19, 2018
This is the second book that I have read by this author. Here’s what I thought about this “thriller”.

There is definitely a sociopath or two in this book so it meets that criteria for a thriller, but there it stopped for me. Claire Wright is a 25 year old Brit living in New York who wants nothing more than to be a star of the stage. She has taken acting classes for a long time and now is in New York to study at the Actors Studio, after all Marilyn Monroe studied there. She will do anything, anything to get to where she wants to be. She has the well used family history of being an orphan, living in various foster homes with no good having come of it, etc, etc.

The story revolves around a murder which is committed and for which the police have no significant leads. Claire may or may not be a suspect, she is summoned to the police station and makes some sort of deal with them for which she will be compensated with a green card which will allow her to stay in the US. She meets Detective Durban who will play a part in the unfolding of this story.

A good portion of the story is told in the form of a play which I found rather annoying to read. When Claire meets Patrick Fogler they find that they are both more than a little obsessed with the French poet Charles Baudelaire who wrote poems about death and depravity. In particular they talk about Les Fleurs du Mal, “The Flowers of Evil”, and once you are introduced to this poet and his work you will be made to read on and on and on about him and his depraved works.

Patrick, having apparently fallen hard for Claire, writes a play just for her, she will be the star, just the break that she has been waiting for. From there the story revolves around the play and the relationship between Claire and Patrick.

For me this was the neverending thriller. By the end I was so tired about hearing about Baudelaire and all of the depravity that I just wanted to finish the book. The ending actually was a good one and that’s why this is a 3 star rather than a 2 star review.

This is the second book by this author that I have read and I had concurred that his style just doesn’t work for me. I’m sure many will enjoy it as there are some good reviews out there.

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.

Profile Image for Jenny.
269 reviews91 followers
July 14, 2018
It’s been a while since a book has made me second guess myself as much as JP Delaney’s book, “Believe Me.”
Believe Me is that twisty thriller that will have you constantly changing your mind about “who did it.” Nothing is as it seems in this cat and mouse murder mystery.
This is one of the few books that you will read in spite of the main characters unlikeability, just to see what happens.
Main character, Claire, is a struggling British actress, hoping for that big role on stage and her green card as well.
Unable to find acting gigs, Claire finds herself working for a divorce firm acting out the role of seductress to entrap soon to be ex-husbands.
When one of the firm’s female clients is murdered, the police believe the likely suspect is the husband and enlist Claire’s help to catch him or do they? Are the police really out to nab him or Claire? Are the police who they say they are?
So many questions you will ask during your journey while reading Believe Me.
There is no straight road to the truth in this book but instead takes the reader ona zigzag hairpin ride until the end.
#netgalley #BelieveMe #JPDelaney #thejwordpress
Profile Image for Liz.
1,914 reviews2,350 followers
July 5, 2018

Claire has a very unique job. She works for a divorce lawyer, helping him discover if husbands are actually open to cheating on their wives.

The book is told from a first person POV as if Claire was speaking directly to the reader. Other parts are written as if they are a screenplay. “Is it just me who does this -who feels they’re constantly watching themselves in the movie of their own life?” It took awhile to get adjusted to, but it does make for a fast read.

Claire has an interesting ethical standard. She says what she does isn’t lying, it’s “behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances”.

I vacillated in my feelings about this book. At times, I found it totally unbelievable. But I found myself appreciating Claire’s observations, especially relating everything to acting. The writing isn’t overly dramatic. But a few good turns of phrase to paint a complete picture. “Only Kathryn is as full of restless energy as ever, a terrier eager for the kill.”

As the book goes on, you’re not sure who is right or wrong. And then the book takes a big turn I didn’t see coming and goes off in a totally different direction.

The title is very aptly named. Whom to believe? Whom to trust? Not just others, like Patrick, Kathryn or Frank, but is Claire herself even believable? “Those are always the most interesting characters: the ones that deceive themselves. Because sooner or later, the deception always falls apart.” This one kept me engaged right until the end. But I’m sorry, the ending went too far into the unbelievable category. So, I would have happily rated this a 4 star but the ending just lowered it to a 3.

My thanks to netgalley and Quercus for an advance copy of this book.

Profile Image for Malia.
Author 6 books542 followers
May 31, 2018
3.5 stars
I was very underwhelmed by J.P. Delaney's previous novel, The Girl Before, but maybe it helped me manage my expectations. Believe Me is, in tone and style, not dissimilar to his prior book, but I am found it to be a little more clever and more twisty. Claire is an enigmatic character, and I never knew whether anything she said could be trusted, but I often like books with unreliable narrators, so I didn't mind this much. It did feel a little stagey, but given the fact that Claire was an actress, this may well have been strategic on the author's part. All in all, a gripping and satisfying holiday read.
Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
Thanks to Netgalley for supplying me with a copy of Believe Me in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for JanB .
1,113 reviews2,144 followers
July 24, 2018
What a wild ride that was! So many twists and turns I had whiplash. This was a Traveling Sisters read and it made for a fun discussion with a lot of speculation as we read.


Claire is an aspiring actress hired by the police to work as a civilian undercover in a sting to catch a suspected serial killer. Or is she? Is she an actress playing a part in her own movie where only she writes the script? Is she unhinged or is this all really happening? Is she the ultimate unreliable narrator or is she just playing a part? Is she the hunted or the hunter? I was never sure. The story kept me off balance and questioning everything.

The book also features poetry by Charles Baudelaire, a French poet known for his controversial volume of poems, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil). The serial killer is thought to be re-enacting the perverted scenes from the poems. I didn’t enjoy the poems and skimmed most of them.

There are a few plot holes with many twists and turns, and a surprising conclusion. If you can suspend disbelief and just go where the story takes you, it will be a fantastic read. For me, less is more. I would have preferred a few less twists and turns and it needed to be a little higher on the believability scale.

*many thanks to Netgalley for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Nazanin.
1,036 reviews588 followers
August 18, 2018
3.5 Stars

The story started off really good but it wasn't a steady read for me! At some point, it got really slow without anything to happen! But it’s still compelling enough to make you read page after page! I didn’t like the characters especially the main character, Claire! The story (killing) was based on Baudelaire’s poems (French Poet) and I’m not a poetry person! It’s hard for me to understand their meaning or the story behind them (but don’t worry in this one the author elaborate on them and you don’t feel completely lost). I don’t know how I feel about this one but I think I expected something stronger/more exciting! All in all, it was an okay read for me and I hope you enjoy it!
Profile Image for Sarah Joint.
445 reviews985 followers
July 27, 2018
This would be an amazing book for a book club. (Um, just make sure everyone is comfortable with some dirty parts.) I read it with a lovely group, and we had so much fun discussing theories and trying to figure out the characters. This is how twisted this book is: I figured things out relatively early, then the story changed so much that I convinced myself I was actually wrong. It was like every new chapter threw me for a loop. Some (okay, a lot) of suspension of disbelief is necessary here, but it's worth it. If you aren't a psychologist, get ready to play one. You'll be trying to figure out what the characters tick. I'm used to playing armchair detective, but armchair psychologist was a new one.

Infamous in her home country, Claire would give anything for success as an actress in the United States. Pretty, talented, and British seems like a winning combination... but she doesn't have a green card, so she can't actually work. At least not on paper. She needs money to pay for rent, food, and acting lessons somehow... so she has started to work under the table for a law firm. Using her feminine wiles and ability to read just what a certain man is looking for, she tempts married men and sees if they'll bite. Not to worry, their wife is totally in on it... curious to see if their significant other will pass on temptation and paying good money for that knowledge.

Claire's unusual but relatively easy job completely changes when the wife of one of her marks is found murdered. The husband immediately falls under suspicion, but they haven't the proof to charge him... even though there are people who believe she was far from his first victim. Outwardly charming and incredibly intelligent and well read, Patrick clearly has a dark side... but does it go that deep? Sensing the immediate connection between Claire and Patrick, the authorities enlist her on a long con, trying to get a confession from the professor who may be a murderer.

An incredibly juicy, outlandish, addicting story that I had a blast reading. I read this one with The Traveling Sisters, and I think every last one of us enjoyed it. It gets 4.5 stars from me, rounded up.

I received a copy of this book from Net Galley and Ballantine Books, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
Profile Image for Marialyce (absltmom, yaya).
1,904 reviews727 followers
July 4, 2018
3 stars for holding my attention on a long car journey from New York

This was quite a foray into a very twisty psychological thriller mode. We meet the main protagonist, Claire, who is a British actress wannabe struggling to remain in the US and attain a green card. Previously there had been a "misunderstanding" in her native country and she came to the US in search of her big break. Claire flounders, is in need on money, and accepts a position in a law firm trying to ensnare wayward husbands so their wives could find out the truth about their mates.

She gets involved in a very convoluted manner with a professor who is totally into an erotic dead poet's works and it is this professor that Claire needs to ferret out. Along the way there are some pretty intriguing plot twists and everything about both Claire and the professor becomes murky and quite dark. Opps, forgot to mention that the professor's wife was murdered.....

I enjoyed about eighty percent of the book but that ending was so unbelievable that it took away something from the enjoyment of the book. The book did have an interesting format written at times somewhat like one would expect a script to be written. So, in a nutshell while the premise kept me going this book did in the end disappoint this reader. It happens....

Thank you to J.P. Delany Random House Publishing and NetGalley for providing this reader with an advanced copy of this book.
Profile Image for Felicia.
254 reviews916 followers
June 16, 2018
"Sometimes when you wear a mask too long, you find it sticks to the skin."

That quote sums up this story so perfectly. What a whiplashing ride! I read this book in one sitting...not in one day but literally in one sitting. I kept telling myself "just one more chapter" until I finally just gave in knowing my mind wouldn't be able to move on until I knew the truth. Figuring out the truth is a slippery slope in this story.

Told in first person through the eyes of Claire, a struggling British actress trying to reinvent herself in New York City, much of the book is written as if it is a script with Claire in the leading role. Although it is a novel idea in theory, I found it quite distracting at times.Through a series of circumstances, Claire is hired by law enforcement to try to seduce a confession from a murder suspect... or is she? I sat up and gasped more than once while reading this book having been completely taken off guard. I thoroughly enjoyed this read. A strong ⭐⭐⭐⭐ from me.

I was provided an ARC of this book from Random House and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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