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The Verifiers by Jane Pek
Literary fiction

The Verifiers

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Jane Pek, on your first book!

by Jane Pek

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Quick take

Family drama, dating app woes, and artificial intelligence, oh my! This witty debut novel has something for everyone.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LGBTQ

    LGBTQ+ themes

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Brainy

    Brainy

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Tech

    Tech world

Synopsis

Introducing a sharp-witted heroine for the 21st century: a new amateur sleuth exploring the landscape—both physical and virtual—of New York in a debut novel about love, technology, and murder.

Claudia Lin is used to disregarding her fractious family’s model-minority expectations: she has no interest in finding either a conventional career or a nice Chinese boy. She’s also used to keeping secrets from them, such as that she prefers girls—and that she's just been stealth-recruited by Veracity, a referrals-only online-dating detective agency.

A lifelong mystery reader who wrote her senior thesis on Jane Austen, Claudia believes she’s landed her ideal job. But when a client goes missing, Claudia breaks protocol to investigate—and uncovers a maelstrom of personal and corporate deceit. Part literary mystery, part family story, The Verifiers is a clever and incisive examination of how technology shapes our choices, and the nature of romantic love in the digital age.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Verifiers.
The Verifiers

I.

I can tell right away that Iris Lettriste isn’t like the others.

Everyone else walks into Veracity wearing some residue of embarrassment. Their gazes skitter about, their sentences are potholed with ums and wells. They overexplain. They worry that we’ll judge them, or they get preemptively angry because they assume we do.

Iris Lettriste. This woman sits down and tells us about the guy she wants us to verify like she’s ordering her first coffee of an arduous morning and it’s vital that the barista gets it right.

Not to mention: Who goes to a dating detective agency to check up on someone they were flirting with on Soulmate Messenger for all of sixteen days?

At my verifier interview, when Komla explained what Veracity did and I said, with maybe a tad too much enthusiasm, “Like a detective agency?”, he looked faintly perturbed—which, I’ve come to realize with Komla Atsina, possibly meant he was one wrist flick away from consigning my résumé to the shred pile.

That man is harder to read than Finnegans Wake. A detective agency might seem like an obvious parallel, he said, but he tried to dissuade clients from viewing Veracity as such. The verifiers didn’t solve crimes, and they didn’t intervene in the course of events beyond reporting their findings to their clients. Think of us, said Komla, as a personal investments advisory firm.

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Why I love it

Jane Pek’s The Verifiers is so many books bundled together in one—office novel, family drama, literary thriller, mystery, romance—and like no reading experience I’ve had before. What begins as a book about the eerie technological intrusions into the dating world transforms into a murder mystery that kept me flipping eagerly through the pages.

Claudia Lin verifies identities for a living. Remember that person you dated who seemed a little too good to be true? Well, maybe they were—and Claudia’s the person who uncovers the truth. But when one of her clients, Iris Lettrise, dies unexpectedly, Claudia can’t leave the mystery of her death alone. Like you and me, she’s a huge reader, carrying in her head an encyclopedic knowledge of the Inspector Yuan mystery novels. Claudia relies on schemes lifted from these novels, often to her detriment, as the case stretches far beyond what she ever could have expected. Everyone in her life wants her to give up on the case. But she can’t.

As Claudia falls deeper into the mystery of Iris’s death—and the mystery of who Iris actually was—she risks losing her career and her friends and the life her mother envisioned for her all to learn the truth about the woman she barely knows and accept the truth about herself. Were her sacrifices worth it? You’ll have to add this book to your box to verify.

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Member ratings (5,399)

  • Madison C.

    Charlotte, NC

    I havent ever read anything like this!The solution was a tad anticlimactic but I loved the end that left it open for a sequel. LOVED the IT part of it, don’t recommend if you aren’t a fan of AI & such

  • Anja T.

    Clarksdale, MS

    What an amazing debut! I loved The Verifiers and couldn’t put it down. The narrator’s voice was witty, funny, compassionate and very thoughtful - I imagine these are reflections of the author herself.

  • Kelly P.

    Duluth, MN

    Quirky mystery with unique characters who have depth and personaity. Couldn’t put it down! I appreciated the intelligent language; nice to read a mystery that’s not dumbed down for the modern reader.

  • Vanessa C.

    PISGAH FOREST, NC

    Claudia is a likable, geeky, conscientious heroine—so relatable and funny! It almost wouldn’t matter what the mystery is about. But the best thing about Verifiers: literary references everywhere. Fun!

  • Rebekah M.

    Indian Mound, TN

    Self-aware, cleverly entwined story threads, philosophy of new tech, and the hilarious thoughts of an LGBT Asian girl in New York City—this was perfect. And had the most impressive ending I’ve read!

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