Monday's Lie

LIST PRICE $11.99

About The Book

From the acclaimed author of the “ripping good” (The New York Times) debut novel Three Graves Full comes a new thriller hailed as “superb…will entrance readers from page one. Sly, poignant, and beautifully written” (Library Journal, starred review).

Dee Aldrich rebelled against her off-center upbringing when she married the most conventional man she could imagine: Patrick, her college sweetheart. But now, years later, her marriage is falling apart and she’s starting to believe that her husband has his eye on a new life...a life without her, one way or another.

Haunted by memories of her late mother Annette, a former covert operations asset, Dee reaches back into her childhood to resurrect her mother’s lessons and the “spy games” they played together, in which Dee learned memory tricks and, most importantly, how and when to lie. But just as she begins determining the course of the future, she makes a discovery that will change her life: her mother left her a lot of money and her own husband seems to know more about it than Dee does. Now, before it’s too late, she must investigate her suspicions and untangle conspiracy from coincidence, using her mother’s advice to steer her through the blind spots. The trick, in the end, will be in deciding if a “normal life” is really what she wants at all.

With pulse-pounding prose and atmospheric settings, Monday’s Lie is a thriller that delivers more of the “Hitchcockian menace” (Peter Straub) that made Three Graves Full a critical hit. For fans of the Coen brothers or Gillian Flynn, this is a book you won’t want to miss.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Monday’s Lie includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

 

Introduction

Dee Aldrich and her brother, Simon, grew up with the trappings of a conventional suburban household. In reality, however, their childhood was anything but normal. Raised by a mother, Annette, who moonlighted as a covert operative for a clandestine government agency, Dee and Simon traded board games for spy games and endured Annette’s unexplained absences for weeks or months at a time.

As an adult, Dee rebelled against her unusual upbringing by marrying her cookie-cutter college boyfriend and settling for a stable office job. Later she is shocked to discover that her husband is not who he says he is, and that the normal life she’s so carefully constructed is starting to crumble. Now, years after her mother’s death, Dee finds herself relying on Annette’s lessons in investigation, deception, and—most importantly—survival. 

 

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. The book opens with the scene of Annette leaving for the Long Trip. How did the Long Trip change Dee and pave the way for Monday's Lie?

2. Dee recalls several of Annette’s aphorisms throughout the novel, from “You can buy more advantage with audacity than you can with a million bucks” (p. 9) to “Don’t be stupid. Under the guillotine, you’re only one hundred percent sure the blade has dropped when your severed head is staring back at its stump” (p. 187). Did any one in particular resonate with you, and why?

3. On page 16 Annette tells her children, “I never told you not to lie, baby girl. . . . I’ll only warn you to hate it.” The pervasiveness of deception is a major theme in Monday’s Lie; in fact, all of the characters could be considered liars. In your opinion, what does the novel say about lying? Is lying immoral, or is it a necessary evil?

4. Regarding the falling out with her sister, Annette tells her children, “The very worst regrets are the things you couldn’t have handled any other way” (p. 51). Do you agree with this statement? Have you ever regretted a decision that you would make again if given the chance?

5. Annette’s legacy is both a blessing and a curse for Dee. In what ways does Annette empower and/or inhibit her from beyond the grave? Discuss your favorite scene where Dee’s actions reflect her mother’s influence. 

6. When Dee finds out about Angela shortly after Patrick discovers she’s still on birth control, Dee thinks, “I couldn’t tell which one of us was worse” (p. 97). At this point in the novel, who did you think was more forgivable? How would you weigh Dee’s transgression against Patrick’s?

7. Throughout the novel, Dee offers up several explanations for not wanting to get pregnant. Ultimately, Patrick tells her, “Deep down you know those pills weren’t even about me. You knew not to trust your own body with any more life” (p. 263). Do you agree with this statement? Why do you think Dee didn’t want to have a child?

8. How did your impression of Patrick evolve over the course of the novel? Were you surprised to discover that he had planned Dee’s murder? Why or why not?

9. On page 146 Mason writes, “[F]or all the times we had spoken of our mother’s work, those were the only times I could remember Simon not seeming quite Simon-like to me. He had a wall around what he felt about her and how he regarded the off-center strangeness of our plain-picture upbringing.” How did you interpret this statement when you first read it, and what was your reaction when you found out that Simon was working with Paul? Were you surprised?

10. During her final showdown with Patrick, Dee thinks, “I am the only one who knows that neither of us has ever existed. Not the us we’ve shown to the world, or to each other” (p. 254). Who do you think the “real” Dee is? In what ways has she misrepresented her true self?

11. “Life is choices. And sometimes other people’s choices even more than your own” (p. 22). Annette’s statement in this early scene resonates throughout the novel. How do the choices of others impact the course of Dee’s life?

12. What do you think happens beyond the ending of the book? What do you want Dee to do?

13. Why do you think Mason chose the Napoléon quote for the novel’s epigraph? Has your interpretation of this quote changed now that you’ve finished the book? Do you think Monday’s Lie supports or disputes Napoléon’s words?

 

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Watch a movie about espionage and discuss the portrayal of that spy’s personal life in the film with that of Monday’s Lie. Which do you feel is more realistic?

2. Cast the film version of Monday’s Lie. Which actors would you want to play the main characters, and why?

3. Read Jamie Mason’s first book, Three Graves Full. Discuss which novel was your favorite, and why.

4. Find out more about Mason by following her on Facebook at facebook.com/JamieMason.writer, on Twitter at @Jamiemason , or by visiting her website at www.jamie-mason.com.

About The Author

Photograph by Kathy Beaver Photography

Jamie Mason was born in Oklahoma City and grew up in Washington, DC. She’s most often reading and writing, but in the life left over, she enjoys films, Formula 1 racing, football, traveling, and, conversely, staying at home. Jamie lives with her husband and two daughters in the mountains of western North Carolina. She is the author of Three Graves Full, Monday’s Lie, and The Hidden Things.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Gallery Books (February 2015)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781476774473

Raves and Reviews

“Superb…will entrance readers from page one. Sly, poignant, and beautifully written.”

– Library Journal, Starred Review

“A pulse-pounding climax… the depth of Mason’s characters and the complexity of their relationships can stand with any.”

– Booklist

"A tense, gripping, witty, hugely satisfying thriller about a marriage gone horribly awry. Jamie Mason has a terrific, terrifying imagination."

– Chris Pavone, New York Times bestselling author of THE ACCIDENT

“Calling Jamie Mason's books 'psychological thrillers' is like calling Fargo a detective movie—it's true, but it doesn't give you anything like the whole picture. They're much more. This is a thriller, all right, and one full of merciless twists—but it's also an edgy dissection of a marriage turned horribly sour, and a powerful exploration of the charged relationship between a mother with too many secrets and too much capacity for ruthlessness, and a daughter doing everything in her power to have neither. It's a gripping read, beautifully written, dotted with moments of black comedy and pulsing with an undercurrent of deep sadness.”

– Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of THE SECRET PLACE

"Monday's Lie is an elegant and compact literary thriller. Mason's use of language is cunning and expressive, and her heroine's interior drama is as intriguing as the plot itself."

– Knoxville News Sentinel

“Let's take Monday's Lie for what it is: one of the best thrillers you'll read, more flip than James Cain, yet full of much more food for thought than Alexander McCall Smith.”

– Asheville Citizen-Times

PRAISE FOR THREE GRAVES FULL

"Portraying characters so well and so thoroughly, examining and explaining their motives even for murder, requires a level of skill that is rare, marking this as an astonishingly accomplished debut and Mason as a writer to watch very closely."

– Booklist, Starred Review (A Top Ten Crime Novel of 2013)

"Filled with biting wit and great prose style, Three Graves Full by newcomer Jamie Mason may be the debut of the year."

– Bookspan (A Top New Book of 2013)

“Ripping good novel…Mason has a witty and wicked imagination.

– The New York Times Book Review

"Mason's prose is at times as lovely as poetry, and wry humor deftly offsets her grim tale to devastating effect. This tale has more twists than a corkscrew and you'll find yourself surprised at nearly every turn... Mason has written a quirky and downright thrilling treat that is not to be missed."

– Library Journal, Starred Review

"Mason strides confidently into Coen brothers territory with her highly entertaining, solidly plotted debut about loneliness and the need for companionship...With sly wit, Mason tweaks genre clichés while respecting crime fiction tenets."

– Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Three Graves Full is an astonishing debut novel, smart and stylish and wonderfully light on its feet. Jamie Mason writes crisp, surprising sentences, and this aura of wit infuses her lovely plot with an absolutely Hitchcockian menace. I think she was probably born to be a writer, and I eagerly look forward to whatever she will do next."

– Peter Straub, New York Times bestselling author

"Mason’s quirky debut novel deftly weaves dark humor into a plot that’s as complicated as a jigsaw puzzle but more fun to put together...Mason’s written a dandy of a first outing with not a single boring moment."

– Kirkus

"Deep and dark, yet funny, a refreshing combination that snags the reader like a grappling hook."

– New York Journal of Books

"Not simply a great debut novel or a noble first effort; it is purely a wonderful book from beginning to end....Pitch-perfect pacing, unforgettable descriptions, and quirky but realistic characters abound from page to page. It is a perfect one-sit read, not because there aren’t places where you can comfortably stop, but because you simply will want to keep forging ahead...Take the hint and read it."

– Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter

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