How To Tell a Lie, by Delphine Dryden

>> Saturday, August 11, 2012

TITLE: How To Tell a Lie
AUTHOR: Delphine Dryden

PAGES: 130
PUBLISHER: Ellora's Cave

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Romance
SERIES: Book 1 in the Truth & Lies series

Allison Moore does her psychology research from the safety of the internet, where she can study her subjects' lying ways without the need for pesky human involvement. Online games are the perfect place to look for liars and have fun at the same time. Seth Brantley is a fellow professor who can make even economics seem sexy. When he and Allison realize they've been "researching" in the same game, a face-to-face meeting seems inevitable. After all, they're practically neighbors--they've been working in adjacent buildings for years. Fresh from a breakup and afraid to take a risk, Allison wants to keep her affair with Seth strictly electronic--but she can't deny their virtual antics are hot enough to melt their keyboards. Can Seth convince her to give up the safety of cybering and take a chance on passion in the real world.
I picked this one up thanks to LizMc2's review, and I'm glad I did.

Allison Moore is a psychology professor. Her current research is on the cues that let you know when someone is lying in written communications, and she's found massively multiplayer online games the perfect arena to find research subjects (though how she figures out whether a particular player is, indeed, lying is never explained... never mind, though, I was able to skip over that).

One of the people she's been chatting with for a while is a player who, her research tells her, is someone who doesn't lie. As the book starts, their increasingly flirty online relationship turns into something more, when they realise, through a couple of innocent comments about their respective favourite Indian restaurants, that they work in the same university. In fact, Seth Brantley is also a professor there, and like Allison, he originally came to the game for his research (which sounded pretty interesting to this economist, especially given cases like this).

Their flirtation soon turns into something more, and it's clear from the start that these two are kindred spirits. However, Allison has just come out of a relationship, and is feeling particularly skittish, so she's reluctant to start another relationship.

There was a lot to like in this novella. The romance was lovely, in a very sweet, geeky way. Seth and Allison really click, and they get each other right from the beginning. It was also quite hot, even their initial sexual encounters, which take place online. Not only did I find these appealing, I thought they emphasised their mental connection very nicely. I also loved their quiet moments, which showed just how perfect they were for each other.

Something else I liked was the strong relationship Allison had with her female friends and with her father, and I enjoyed the setting and the use of the characters' research in the story. Allison's research into lying, especially, was used to very good effect.

The story wasn't perfect though. My main issue was that I really didn't buy Allison's reasons for being so reluctant to get involved with Seth. Yes, she's recently come out of a relationship, and it wasn't a good one. However, this wasn't because there was some sort of traumatic abuse there, but because her partner just didn't get her at all. He didn't see her as an individual, and just projected what he wanted from a future wife onto her. And Allison stayed with him much longer than she should have. She ended up leaving him, though, and it didn't sound to me like she was particularly broken up about it. I just couldn't make the connection between "I dated a guy who didn't know who I really was and didn't care" and "therefore I'm reluctant to get involved with this sexy guy to whom I'm ridiculously attracted and who totally gets me". That was a little bit frustrating.

In addition to this, the ending was terribly abrupt. The book just... ends, in what felt like the middle of things. It really needed a little bit more there. I don't need everything tied up in a nice little bow, but sex - hurried exchange of declarations of love - the end, is just not enough.

Still, a good one, and I will definitely try this author again. She does seem to have a few which are BDSM, though, which is not my thing at all, so I'll need to avoid them.



Liz Mc2 11 August 2012 at 06:23  

Oh, yay! You've steered me right plenty of times, and I'm glad I could return the favor. Totally agree.

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