Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Truth Behind the Lie” as Want to Read:
The Truth Behind the Lie
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Truth Behind the Lie

(Kouplan #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  779 ratings  ·  167 reviews
The Truth Behind The Lie is Sara Lövestam’s award-winning and gripping novel about blurred lines, second chances, and the lengths one will go to for the truth.

When a six-year-old girl disappears and calling the police isn’t an option, her desperate mother Pernilla turns to an unlikely source for help. She finds a cryptic ad online for a private investigator:
“Need help, but
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 27th 2019 by Minotaur Books (first published March 1st 2015)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Truth Behind the Lie, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Truth Behind the Lie

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  779 ratings  ·  167 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Truth Behind the Lie
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Kouplan is trying to live off the radar. Out of sight of the local police. Yet he wants to be a PI. Is he qualified? Probably not. But perhaps he’ll learn as he goes. I mean how hard could it really be?

Pernilla wants to hire Kouplan to find her missing daughter. Only six years old. Here one minute gone the next. Only Pernilla has reasons of her for hiding from the police.

With all the hidden truths can Kouplan solve this crime and bring the young girl home?

This was a well written Swedish thriller
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Lost in Translation

Pernilla, a single mother, hires a private detective, Kouplan, to help find her lost child Julia.
She can't go to the police for reasons unknown so she hires Kouplan an Iranian refugee who for reasons of his own advertises his services discreetly over the internet.
Over time Kouplan senses that there is something wrong with Pernilla's story and wonders is the child really missing? Was there a child to begin with?

A unique way of telling a story. Something was lost in the translat
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Well, it's...different? The Truth Behind The Lie makes me curious about why the story is indeed bizarre beyond reason. I almost feel like the author wanted readers to feel secure and smart before they fell off a cliff into a haze of absurdity, ignorance and misdirection. Maybe that was the goal? Or, maybe this story is just plain weird and that's all there is to it. Either way, I honestly didn't care much for it. Too much weird for me. I especially disliked the ending because it was pointless by ...more
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised after reading a couple of mediocre reviews but this was such an oddly different novel that I persevered and ended up really liking it! Kouplan is a very young PI who advertises his specialty as being able to help someone who doesn't want to involve the police. As an Iranian refugee who is trying to blend in and not be deported, he eagerly responds to a young woman whose six-year-old daughter, Julia has disappeared at a local mall. She fears the worst and Kouplan sets o ...more
I thought this book was extraordinary, but I didn't enjoy it.

I did like Kouplan, the protagonist. He was so liminal. This is an anthropological term for being an outsider, caught betwixt and between. This is my favorite sort of character.

OTOH Kouplan's client, Pernilla, isn't the sort of character that I want to read about at all. (view spoiler)
Debi Hawkes
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible book. For about the 1st 25% I was confused, but intrigued! At first I thought my confusion was solely to do with the translation and my unfamiliarity with life in Sweden, and yes those were a factor, but as I slowy adapted to those factors I discovered the author was intentionally dropping little things in which were "huh?", then eventually provided a twist or explanation which made it make sense. This continues thru the whole book and is such a delight! Her structuring of ...more
Aug 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Not my kind of book, topic to disturbing, barely finished but read the last line was pertinent so hung in there ...
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very thoughtful and thought provoking book. The mystery is more than you think and leads to more than you expect.
Sara Lovestam's detective story, The Truth Behind the Lie, has several unusual twists. One of
them will surprise readers in the very last line of the book.

Kouplan is desperate to make ends meet in Stockholm. The undocumented Iranian refugee risks everything by placing an ad in the local paper. "Private detective. If the police can't help, call me!" Pernilla calls immediately, saying her six-year-old daughter, Julia, is missing. She can't go to the police.

Kouplan is used to hiding from authorities
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
In Sara Lövestam's The Truth Behind the Lie, this gripping thriller will have you at the edge of your seat. It all started when Kouplan, an Iranian refuge living and hiding in Sweden, answered a strange ad who needed assistance from a PI. That's when he met Pernilla, a mother who said her six-year-old daughter Julia is missing, who doesn't want the Swedish police's help. From there, Kouplan asked her questions about the date of Julia's abduction and some background history in her life and Julia' ...more
Ken Fredette
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sara Lövestam writing was on an excellent level. She uses an illegal alien from Iran re-named Kouplan as the detective and a woman named Pernilla as the mother. It was a very noir story. If I talk about it I would spoil it for you so you know that it's unusual, but it's amazing how things turn out. I read it in one sitting, didn't move until I finished it. It's sort of like a Jessi Adler-Olsen book as the nearest I can come to saying who Sara Lövestam is like.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An array of some very hot and important topics are presented and treated in this story: mental health problems, immigration, human trafficking, family relationships and more. They make for a tough read but also for a very interesting story that keeps you on the edge of your seat till you reach the last sentence. Read it with an open mind. Highly recommended.
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pernilla’s six-year old daughter, Julia, has disappeared. Confident that she is in the hands of a criminal and stricken with fear, Pernilla refuses to go to the police. In her desperate search for answers she finds an ad for a private investigator and sends a cryptic plea for help. Enter Kouplan, an Iranian refugee hiding from Swedish immigration authorities. Unable to work a regular job, he has turned to freelancing as a detective.

Pernilla and Kouplan seem like a strange pairing, but together t
First Sentence: The rain was so strange the day they took Julia.

Kouplan is a young, very young, Iranian refugee who needs to stay in the shadows. To earn money, he works as a Private Investigator to those who can't involve the police. Pernilla, a single mother recently split from her husband, desperately seeks Kouplan's help. Her daughter has disappeared and, for reasons of her own fears going to the police. The deeper Kouplan digs into the case, the more he questions whether things are as he h
May 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Thanks to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of The Truth Behind the Lie.

To be honest, I did not have high hopes for this book due to the few negative reviews I had read posted here already.

But you know what they say about only a few reviews? Don't trust them.

This was a surprising read and better than I expected.

Kouplan is a young Iranian refugee hired by a mother, Pernilla, to find her missing daughter. He is inexperienced but he is determined and resourceful.

But something about Pernilla's story d
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
So many secrets, so many stories. I came away with a much better understanding of the lives led by immigrants and by people struggling with mental issues. While reading this suspenseful book try not to make any assumptions because all is not as it appears.
Kouplan is a young Iranian refugee trying to stay under the radar in Sweden. One way he makes money is to advertise his services as a private detective for others who need to avoid the police. Pernilla is one of those people, a mother in searc
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review can be found on my blog here: https://booksonthebookshelf.wordpress...


Thank you to the publisher for gifting me a paperback copy of this book to read and share my review with others.


It is every mother’s nightmare – your child disappears and is now missing. Who can you turn to for help? Who can you call for help when calling the police is not an option? This is the predicament Pernilla finds herself in. Her daughter Julia is missing but Pernilla cannot call the police for help. Whe
Joyce Stewart Reviews
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
The Truth Behind the Lie
A Novel
by Sara Lövestam
Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 27 Aug 2019
The suspenseful Swedish thriller, The Truth Behind the Lie, tells the story of shady former journalist Kouplan’s search for Permilla's missing child Julia. Told in alternate voices of both Pernilla and Kouplan the book follows the path over several weeks of both Pernilla and Kouplan through each of their points of view. I found this very confusing and did not like. I figured the book out really early on whic
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it
What a strange, dark little mystery! There's a big trigger warning for this one for the sex trafficking of women and young children. It's not overly graphic but it is pretty disturbing. The story delves into a lot of issues like mental illness, the plight of immigrants and refugees, and the terrifying lives of people who live in Sweden illegally. This seems awfully relevant and timely.

The mystery of the missing little girl was well done and although I did suspect what had happened to her well b
This is NOT a crime novel. OK, it´s a sort of mystery but more of a psychological nature. It´s well written and has a different and interesting main character. I put it in my thriller-suspense shelf instead of in the crime shelf but it´s not really a thriller either. Easy to read and ok, but no more than that.
Jennifer Rico
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book moved a little slow for me, but it was still enjoyable. The premise of the story definitely kept me going, even though it took a little while for it to pick up. I'm hoping to read more from Lovestam soon!

Thank you #NetGalley for an early copy of #TheTruthBehindTheLie for review!
Sep 01, 2019 marked it as to-read
This book, unfortunately was not for me. I really could never get invested in the story or the characters. Many seem to be enjoying it so give it a try you might like it. Thank you For the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall, not my cup of tea, but some really interesting twists made this more readable. Many surprises, some hinted at, some real shockers! Not your typical Swedish mystery.
abdulia ortiz-perez
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
I received this ARC book from Netgalley for honest Review.
What a great thrill and suspense it was to read. What a great psychological thrill! This novel had everything in it. The thrill, the suspense, the psychological, romance and the twist is crazy. This novel will keep you thinking and guessing. When you think you right, well let me just say that you might be wrong. This had me all over the place. My heart beating so fast! I couldn't believe what I was reading. If had me in shock. Every page,
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved the mix of Persian culture with Swedish in this very twisty psychological mystery. Kouplan's Persian background and psychologist mother influence the investigating and unwinding of a distraught mother's case of her missing child. Almost impossible to discuss this book without spoilers so just go read it if you enjoy Scandinavian mysteries, psychological twists and a sympathetic presentation of immigrants. I hope there will be more in this series; Kouplan is a thoughtful interesting charact ...more
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Kept me engaged, but not a book I would recommend to others. Bit of a bizarre yet happy ending.
Nov 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
A character study of two needy people who find unusual strength in each other, this is a leisurely paced mystery with limited suspense. The author clearly draws upon her work with undocumented immigrants as well as her Swedish culture to depict loneliness and fear. This gives the story a strong air of authenticity.

Unfortunately, the clues emerge at such a slow pace that there is no real sense of menace or even unease. Even though it is clear that the mother is not revealing all she knows, the st
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sara Lövestam brings together two lost souls living in Stockholm in "The Truth Behind the Lie," translated from the Swedish by Laura A. Wideburg. Pernilla Svensson's six-year-old daughter, Julie, has been abducted, but Pernilla does not want the police involved. Instead, she hires a young Iranian refugee, Kouplan, who has placed an ad in the newspaper offering his services as a private investigator. He is observant and tenacious; takes meticulous notes; interviews anyone who might have relevant ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Truth Behind the Lie is a translation of a Swedish novel. The main character is Kouplan, an Iranian refugee hiding from deportation after his asylum was rejected. Kouplan writes a post that if you have a problem you can't go to the police about he will help. This post gets a response from Pernilla, whose six year old, Julia, has been taken.

This is a very different kind of mystery novel. Everything in the book is revealed slowly over the course of the book including basic knowledge about Kou
Mary Smith
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
YOu can read fuller narration elsewhere but this book became far away from what I had expected. And that was a really interesting trip. don't want to say too much and ruin the surprises.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Trace of Evil (Natalie Lockhart #1)
  • Winter Grave (Embla Nyström, #2)
  • Before the Devil Fell
  • When We Were Vikings
  • Violet
  • You Fit The Pattern (Julia Gooden Mystery, #4)
  • Kärlekens Antarktis
  • Can You Feel This?
  • Blodlokan (Motståndstrilogin #1)
  • The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness
  • Clear My Name
  • The Murder List
  • Mother Knows Best
  • Ett jävla solsken: En biografi om Ester Blenda Nordström
  • A Legacy of Murder (Kate Hamilton Mysteries, #2)
  • Reputation
  • Pretty Guilty Women
  • Det här är hjärtat
See similar books…

Other books in the series

Kouplan (4 books)
  • Önska kostar ingenting (Kouplan #2)
  • Luften är fri (Kouplan, #3)
  • Finns det hjärterum (Kouplan #4)

News & Interviews

  Justin A. Reynolds burst onto the YA scene last year with his debut book Opposite of Always, a heartfelt novel about love and friendship...
23 likes · 2 comments