Review: City of Lies – Victoria Thompson

Review: City of Lies – Victoria ThompsonCity of Lies
by Victoria Thompson
Series: Counterfeit Lady #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 312
Source: First to Read

I received this book for free from First to Read in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Elizabeth Miles scours 1920’s Washington, D.C. for a killer in the first Counterfeit Lady novel from the author of the New York Times bestselling Gaslight mysteries.

Every woman plays a part—but some are more dangerous than others…

Like most women, Elizabeth Miles assumes many roles; unlike most, hers have made her a woman on the run. Living on the edge of society, Elizabeth uses her guile to relieve so-called respectable men of their ill-gotten gains. But brutal and greedy entrepreneur Oscar Thornton is out for blood. He’s lost a great deal of money and is not going to forgive a woman for outwitting him. With his thugs hot on her trail, Elizabeth seizes the moment to blend in with a group of women who have an agenda of their own.

She never expects to like or understand these privileged women, but she soon comes to respect their intentions, forming an unlikely bond with the wealthy matriarch of the group whose son Gideon is the rarest of species—an honest man in a dishonest world. She knows she’s playing a risky game, and her deception could be revealed at any moment, possibly even by sharp-eyed Gideon. Nor has she been forgotten by Thornton, who’s biding his time within this gilded orbit, waiting to strike. Elizabeth must draw on her wits and every last ounce of courage she possesses to keep her new life from being cut short by this vicious shadow from her past.

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When a con goes bad, Elizabeth flees for her life straight into the middle of a suffragist rally in front of the White House.  Desperate for protection from the man she’s conned, she sets out to get them all arrested.  After all, where else could be safer than a prison?  Only, Elizabeth hasn’t counted on the lengths the President’s men will go to to suppress the burgeoning movement – or the spirit and bravery of the women that accept Elizabeth as one of their own.  After all, it’s just another con, right?
After finishing the first few chapters, I actually went back and double-checked that I was reading the right book, because it didn’t match the blurb at all.  In fact, I’d say the blurb does a serious disservice to the book.  This is more of a caper novel with a dash of romance.  Elizabeth goes from one con to the next, all the while trying to keep her stories straight and stay under the radar of the man who wants to kill her.  For the most part, the pacing was nice and tight, and I had a hard time putting the book down during the last third.  I was drawn in by the descriptions of the suffragist movement and their treatment in the first third of the book, and was disappointed that it wasn’t discussed more in the rest of the book.
As far as other cons, the characterization was a bit light, and I couldn’t quite believe the willingness of the side characters to trust Elizabeth (even after the truth is revealed).  The romance also felt forced to me, and I wonder if the book could’ve done without it entirely.
Overall, I enjoyed this book.  Recommended for anyone who’s interested in a historical caper novel with a touch of romance.
Four “suffragist not suffragette!” stars.


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