Does doing a bad thing make someone a bad person?
“Too Good to Be True” unfolds in three separate narratives in that shift back and forth in time. Readers observe how characters get to the current storyline and how the past influences the present. Events are told from several perspectives so readers know what characters do not, at least for a while. The characters are distinct with different personalities, different motivations, and very different goals. There are lots of red flags, but the problem with red flags is they have to be recognized to be of any help. Someone is not telling the truth, or perhaps none of them are.
Skye Starling has issues, a strand of OCD complete with compulsions to touch things and knock on doors in a specific pattern. People worry about Skye, her “problem,” her relationships, her coping ability. She, however, is quite satisfied with her personal sense of control in a world that is wildly uncontrollable. She also has a fiancé, Burke Michaels. Michaels says he is devoted to Sky, the woman he has searched for all his life, perhaps because she has a specific element that attracted him. He is seeing a therapist and keeping a journal filled with dramatic revelations. He has secrets, big secrets, but again, at least he has a last name that ends in a consonant. Heather’s narrative opens when she is sixteen; her then boyfriend, Burke, drops her off to babysit. She loves the job and the family, but it turns out to be the unluckiest occasion of her life. One event is the catalyst for continued pain and devastation.
Deception unfolds page after page; details are revealed, and lives come crashing down. Readers are left to wonder if doing a bad thing makes someone a bad person. I received a review copy of “Too Good to Be True” from Carol Lovering and St. Martin’s Press. It was a preposterous collision that one could see coming but could not believe. It is absorbing, compelling, and unreliable right to the end.