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First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston


First Lie Wins

by Ashley Elston

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Quick take

Who is Evie Porter? Definitely not who she says she is...but her past is catching up with her, which spells trouble.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Fast_Read

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Psychological


  • Illustrated icon, Unreliable_Narrator

    Unreliable narrator

  • Illustrated icon, Cat_and_Mouse

    Cat and Mouse


The identity comes first: Evie Porter. Once she’s given a name and location by her mysterious boss Mr. Smith, she learns everything there is to know about the town and the people in it. Then the mark: Ryan Sumner. The last piece of the puzzle is the job.

Evie isn’t privy to Mr. Smith’s real identity, but she knows this job will be different. Ryan has gotten under her skin, and she’s starting to envision a different sort of life for herself. But Evie can’t make any mistakes—especially after what happened last time.

Because the one thing she’s worked her entire life to keep clean, the one identity she could always go back to—her real identity—just walked right into this town. Evie Porter must stay one step ahead of her past while making sure there’s still a future in front of her. The stakes couldn’t be higher—but then, Evie has always liked a challenge...

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of First Lie Wins.

First Lie Wins


It starts with the little things: an extra toothbrush in the glass holder next to the sink, a few articles of clothing in the smallest drawer, phone chargers on both sides of the bed. Then the little things turn to slightly bigger things: razors and mouthwash and birth control pills all fighting for space in the medicine cabinet, the question changing from “Are you coming over?” to “What should we cook for dinner?”

And as much as I’ve been dreading it, this next step was inevitable.

It may be the first time I’m meeting the people gathered around the table, people who Ryan has known since childhood, but it hasn’t escaped anyone’s attention that I’m already fully embedded in his life. It’s the small touches a woman brings to a man’s home, like the matching throw pillows on the couch or the faint whiff of jasmine from the diffuser on the bookshelf, that every other woman notices the second she walks through the front door.

A voice floats across the candlelit table, dodges the centerpiece that I was assured was “delicate yet confident,” and hovers in the air in front of me. “Evie, that’s an unusual name.”

I turn to Beth, debating whether to answer her question that’s not really a question.

“It’s short for Evelyn. I was named after my grandmother.”

The women sneak glances at one another, silently communicating across the table. Every answer I give is weighed and cataloged for a later discussion.

“Oh, I love that!” Allison squeals. “I was named after my grandmother too. Where did you say you were from again?”

I didn’t say, and they know this. Like birds of prey, they will pick, pick, pick all night until they get the answers they want.

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Why I love it

I read a lot of thrillers so sometimes I find myself thinking I know all the genre’s tricks. Then a book comes along that defies all of my expectations with an unforgettable plot and truly shocking twists. First Lie Wins is one of those thrillers. I expected it to be a fun read, but from the first chapter I realized it would be much more than that.

Evie Porter has a picture-perfect life: charming boyfriend, beautiful home, a group of sophisticated friends. The only catch: Evie Porter doesn’t really exist. It’s always the same—she is given an identity, location, and target by her anonymous employer. This time her target is Ryan Sumner. She has always done well at her job and the lifestyle suits her, but as she gets to know Ryan she begins envisioning a different life for herself than the one she’s built. When a woman comes to town claiming to be Evie’s true identity, Evie starts to wonder if she’s actually the target for this job and not Ryan. As everything unravels before her, she must quickly figure out who she can trust in the fight for her future.

First Lie Wins is an expertly plotted story featuring a protagonist who is equal parts deceptive and charming—her cat and mouse story will grip you. Trust me—this one is not to be missed!

Member ratings (30,584)

  • Brandi K.

    Bulverde, TX

    OMG. THIS BOOK! It was so, so good. It kept me on my toes and I thought I had it figured out…until I didn’t. Loved all the flashbacks that tied to the story. 10/10 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Stephen B.

    Kansas City, MO

    I CANNOT DEAL! This book is EVERYTHING I want out of a thriller. Don’t pick up this book if you have responsibilities that need tending. Couldn’t put this book down; finished it in 1 day! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Macy D.

    Castle Rock, CO

    LOVED this book!!! This is the first time I never expected the next twist. And, the twists felt real. Evie Porter was a step ahead of everyone in this book, including me as the reader. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

  • Amy J.

    West Lafayette, IN

    Keeps you on the edge of your seat in the best way. A great pace that keeps it interesting without any lulls. I wanted the story to keep going and was sad it ended! My fav 2024 read so far ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Sara H.

    Fuquay Varina, NC

    First Lie Wins is my first ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read of the year! 𝘼𝙙𝙙𝙞𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙬𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙮. It was so refreshing to read a thriller with a unique, smart plot.

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