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Lies of the Heart
A Novel

by Michelle Boyajian


Katie Burrelli and her husband Nick have been separated for less than a month when Nick is killed by Jerry, one of his speech pathology clients. Jerry, who is developmentally disabled, has the mental capacity of a ten-year old. Prior to Katie and Nick’s separation, Jerry had been living in his own room within their home on weekends.. Now Jerry is being tried for first-degree murder. The trial is very difficult for Katie...she and Nick had regarded Jerry almost like a son.

The chapters in Lies of the Heart alternate between the trial at the present time, and flashbacks of the past.  There is never any doubt that Jerry is guilty of deliberately killing Nick, but he did love Nick, and his motive is in question. In reliving the past, Katie begins to come to terms with her relationship with the unpredictable but beloved Nick, and to probe the reasons she can't seem to complete a project in her own profession as a filmmaker.

The prosecuting attorney is determined to convict Jerry of first-degree murder, and Katie has vowed to assist with that conviction...but Jerry loved Nick, so how could that happen?

Nothing is quite what it seems in this strong, intense psychological sojourn into the anatomy of Katie and Nick's marriage, and their relationship with the damaged Jerry.

The story is mesmerizing and difficult to put down, but I had trouble believing that a young couple just starting their married life together would bring a middle-aged, retarded, virtual stranger, who was prone to unpredictable, violent behavior, into their home and treat him as though he was their child.  The story gave me much to think about.  It is a unique and  unforgettable novel.

The Book

Viking Adult, an imprint of Penguin
April 15, 2010
0670021318 / 978-0670021314
Fiction / General
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The Reviewer

Beverly J. Rowe
Reviewed 2010
NOTE: Reviewer Beverly J. Rowe is's "Babes to Teens" columnist, covering topics related to reading ideas for the youth in the family.
© 2010