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Believe Me
Cover of Believe Me
Believe Me
A Novel
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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.
 
“[A] rich, nuanced, highly literary take on the Gone Girl theme.”—Booklist (starred review)

 
Claire Wright is desperate. A British drama student in New York without a green card, she takes the only job she can get: working for a firm of divorce lawyers, posing as an easy pickup in hotel bars to entrap straying husbands. But then the game changes. 
 
When one of her targets becomes the suspect in a murder investigation, the police ask Claire to use her acting chops to lure him into a confession. From the start, she questions the part she’s being asked to play: Is Patrick Fogler a killer? Or is there more to this setup than she’s being told?
 
Claire will soon realize she is playing the deadliest role of her life. 
 
Praise for Believe Me
 
“For readers who enjoyed the paranoia factor in A. J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window or the unreliable narrator of Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train.”Library Journal
 
“Produces a bobsled run’s worth of twists.” Publishers Weekly
 
“An intense, stylish psychological thriller.”Good Housekeeping
 
“A dark and haunting thriller . . . A superb evocation of conflicted emotions, this never lets you guess what’s coming next.”Daily Mail
 
“I so enjoyed it—what a twisty, exciting read.”—Sabine Durrant, author of Lie With Me
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.
 
“[A] rich, nuanced, highly literary take on the Gone Girl theme.”—Booklist (starred review)

 
Claire Wright is desperate. A British drama student in New York without a green card, she takes the only job she can get: working for a firm of divorce lawyers, posing as an easy pickup in hotel bars to entrap straying husbands. But then the game changes. 
 
When one of her targets becomes the suspect in a murder investigation, the police ask Claire to use her acting chops to lure him into a confession. From the start, she questions the part she’s being asked to play: Is Patrick Fogler a killer? Or is there more to this setup than she’s being told?
 
Claire will soon realize she is playing the deadliest role of her life. 
 
Praise for Believe Me
 
“For readers who enjoyed the paranoia factor in A. J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window or the unreliable narrator of Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train.”Library Journal
 
“Produces a bobsled run’s worth of twists.” Publishers Weekly
 
“An intense, stylish psychological thriller.”Good Housekeeping
 
“A dark and haunting thriller . . . A superb evocation of conflicted emotions, this never lets you guess what’s coming next.”Daily Mail
 
“I so enjoyed it—what a twisty, exciting read.”—Sabine Durrant, author of Lie With Me
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Excerpts-
  • From the book 1

    My friend hasn’t showed yet.

    That’s what you’d think if you saw me here, perched at the bar of this corporate-­cool New York hotel, trying to make my Virgin Mary last all evening. Just another young professional waiting for her date. A little more dressy than some of the other women here, maybe. I don’t look like I just came from an office.

    At the other end of the bar a group of young men are drinking and joshing, punching one another on the shoulder to make their points. One—­good-­looking, smartly dressed, athletic—­catches my eye. He smiles. I look away.

    Soon after, a table becomes free near the back, and I take my drink over and sit at it. Where, suddenly, this little scene unfolds:

    INT. DELTON HOTEL BAR, W. 44TH ST., NEW YORK—­NIGHT

    MAN

    (belligerently)

    Excuse me?

    Someone’s standing in front of me. A businessman, about forty-­five, wearing an expensive casual-­cut suit that suggests he’s something more than the usual executive drone, the collar lapped by hair that’s just a little too long for Wall Street.

    He’s angry. Very angry.

    ME

    Yes?

    MAN

    That’s my table. I just went to the bathroom.

    He gestures at the laptop, drink, and magazine I somehow managed to miss.

    MAN

    That’s my drink. My stuff. It was pretty clear this table’s occupied.

    Around us, heads are turning in our direction. But there’s going to be no confrontation, no eruption of New York stress. Already I’m getting to my feet, pulling my bag onto my shoulder. Defusing the drama.

    ME

    Sorry—­I hadn’t realized. I’ll find somewhere else.

    I take a step away and look around helplessly, but the place is busy and my previous seat has gone. There is nowhere else.

    Out of the corner of my eye I can sense him taking me in, running his eyes over Jess’s Donna Karan jacket, the expensive one she keeps for auditions, the soft dark cashmere that sets off my pale skin and dark hair. And realizing what a stupid mistake he’s making.

    MAN

    Wait . . . I guess we could share it.

    He gestures at the table.

    MAN

    There’s room for us both—­I was just catching up on some work.

    ME

    (smiling gratefully)

    Oh—­thank you.

    I put my bag back and sit down. For a while there’s a silence I’m careful not to break. This has to come from him.

    Sure enough, when he speaks his voice has changed subtly—­it’s huskier, thicker. Do women’s voices change the same way? I should experiment with that, sometime.

    MAN

    Are you waiting on someone? Bet he’s been held up by the snow. That’s why I’m staying an extra night—­it’s chaos out at LaGuardia.

    And I smile to myself, because it’s actually pretty neat, the way he tries to find out if this person I’m meeting is a man or a woman, and at the same time let me know he’s here on his own.

    ME

    Guess I could be here awhile, then.

    He nods at my now-­empty glass.

    MAN

    In that case, can I get you another one of those? I’m Rick, by the way.

    Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world . . .

    ME

    Thank you, Rick. I’d love a martini. And I’m Claire.

    RICK

    Nice to meet you, Claire. And, uh, sorry about just now.

    ME

    No, really, it was my mistake.

    I say it with such offhand nonchalance,...
About the Author-
  • The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before and Believe Me, JP Delaney has previously written fiction under other names.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    May 1, 2018
    The unreliable-narrator craze continues with Delaney's (The Girl Before, 2017) new thriller.A disgraced British actress named Claire Wright comes to the United States, sans green card, looking for work. Her agent gives her the bad news. "The days we took the huddled masses yearning to be free are long over." She ends up working for a divorce lawyer, setting up stings to entrap unfaithful husbands by pretending to be a high-priced hooker. Then one of her prospective clients is found dead beneath a bloody sheet in a hotel room. Primary suspect: the woman's husband, a Columbia University professor and the translator of Baudelaire's book of S&M poetry, Les Fleurs du Mal. The police suspect he's a serial killer, with previous Baudelaire-inspired murders under his belt, ha ha. They have Claire go undercover to lure this guy into a confession. It's the role of her career, one she throws herself into so wholeheartedly she loses track of what is real and what is masquerade, ending up madly in love with her target. After many twists and pseudo-reveals, she ends up first in a mental institution and then with a starring role in My Heart Laid Bare, the suspected killer's off-Broadway show based on a nasty incident in the life of Baudelaire. "Who is the real Claire Wright? The one sitting here with her precious green card and permit in front of her, exchanging pleasantries with the man who provided it? Or the one who fell for the darkness she sensed deep inside the only man she couldn't seduce?" An unreliable-narrator setup works best when the character believes her own story or is lying intentionally to other characters in the book. When it mostly means that the narrator deliberately conceals key facts from the reader for no purpose other than to create confusion and suspense, it feels a little cheesy. The author confesses in an afterword that she wrote and published this book decades prior to last year's bestseller, The Girl Before, but it didn't do very well, so she's trying again with a rewrite.The best parts of this book were written in the middle of the 19th century by Charles Baudelaire.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 21, 2018
    Delaney—a pseudonym for British adman Tony Strong—follows his debut, 2017’s bestselling The Girl Before, with a thriller undercut by a preposterous premise, cardboard characters, and arbitrary major plot reversals. For starters, readers are asked to buy the NYPD’s exploiting British actress Claire Wright’s lack of a green card to strong-arm her into a lengthy undercover operation designed to trap Patrick Fogler, a Columbia University English professor specializing in Baudelaire, who’s suspected of sadistically murdering several women, including his wealthy wife, Stella, according to scenarios inspired by poems from Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal. Once Claire and Patrick embark on their dangerous danse macabre—all the while with Det. Frank Durban and profiler Kathryn Latham listening in—the kinky mind games begin in earnest. Could Claire herself, who briefly met Stella the night she was killed, actually be the investigation’s target? For those willing to completely suspend disbelief, the author produces a bobsled run’s worth of twists. Agent: Caradoc King, United Artists (U.K.).

  • Library Journal

    June 15, 2018

    In this fast-paced psychological thriller, Claire Wright, a struggling British actress in America, makes ends meet by entrapping cheating husbands for a law firm. When a target's wife is found murdered, Claire is forced into another assignment--work with the police to obtain a confession from the husband, Patrick, or risk being exposed as an illegal immigrant. As she grows closer to Patrick, Claire begins to question the game she has to play. It seems that no one is being completely honest with her and, with her passion for acting coupled with her dodgy background, Claire's not completely trustworthy either. While there are some distinctive elements, this ultimately hits all the expected marks. The pseudonymous Delaney mentions in the afterword that this is a reworking of a novel previously published in 2001 under a different title (Tony Strong's The Decoy). VERDICT A solid pick from best-selling author Delaney (The Girl Before) for readers who enjoyed the paranoia factor in A.J. Finn's The Woman in the Window or the unreliable narrator of Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train. The domestic thriller trend is showing no signs of slowing. Buy accordingly.--Anitra Gates, Erie Cty. P.L., PA

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from May 1, 2018
    This second psychological thriller (following The Girl Before, 2017) from the pseudonymous Delaney (aka Tony Strong) is likely to follow its predecessor's path straight to the international best-seller lists. Despite a slightly far-fetched plot, it is a compelling read. Claire Wright is a struggling British actor in New York City without a green card, desperate enough for work and money to become a decoy for a law firm, seducing errant husbands and delivering tapes of their encounters. When the wife of one of her targets is butchered in her hotel room, the police investigators, suspecting the woman's husband of this and other sadistic crimes, are convinced that Claire will be able to elicit his confession. The poet Baudelaire, who believed that the unique and supreme pleasure of sex lies in the possibility of doing evil, is Claire's way into her undercover role. Her target, literature professor Patrick Fogler, is a Baudelaire devotee. Claire is carrying a lot of personal baggage, and, as she gets into her role, she vacillates, in her relationship with Patrick, between Baudelaire's dichotomized view of women: V�nus Blanche (the idolized one) and V�nus Noire (the dark lady of fantasy). In the process, she redefines the concept of an unreliable narrator when it becomes clear that she can't even trust herself. Whether what Claire thinks and says are real or not ceases to matter to the reader, desperate to get to the conclusion, which is at once expected and unexpected. This rich, nuanced, highly literary take on the Gone Girl theme adds dimension and complexity to a trend that was in danger of wearing out its welcome.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

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