Review: Don't Believe It by Charlie Donlea

Don't Believe It by Charlie Donlea
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Adult, Thriller & Mystery
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From acclaimed author Charlie Donlea comes a twisting, impossible-to-put-down novel of suspense in which a filmmaker helps clear a woman convicted of murder—only to find she may be a puppet in a sinister game.

The Girl of Sugar Beach is the most watched documentary in television history—a riveting, true-life mystery that unfolds over twelve weeks and centers on a fascinating question: Did Grace Sebold murder her boyfriend, Julian, while on a Spring Break vacation, or is she a victim of circumstance and poor police work? Grace has spent the last ten years in a St. Lucian prison, and reaches out to filmmaker Sidney Ryan in a last, desperate attempt to prove her innocence.

As Sidney begins researching, she uncovers startling evidence, additional suspects, and timeline issues that were all overlooked during the original investigation. Before the series even finishes filming, public outcry leads officials to reopen the case. But as the show surges towards its final episodes, Sidney receives a letter saying that she got it badly, terribly wrong.

Sidney has just convinced the world that Grace is innocent. Now she wonders if she has helped to free a ruthless killer. Delving into Grace’s past, she peels away layer after layer of deception. But as Sidney edges closer to the real heart of the story, she must decide if finding the truth is worth risking her newfound fame, her career . . . even her life.


Have you ever read a book were the big twist came at you so fast, so unexpectedly, that you had to go back and re-read what had just happened simply because you couldn't believe it? That's what happened to me with Charlie Donlea's Don't Believe It. 

I couldn't believe my own eyes. 
I didn't want to believe my own eyes.
It was cruel yet deliciously so. 

Most importantly, it's a large part of why I love this book so much, because while it was easy to spot the true culprit in the beginning, there were ample twists, a surplus of oh-my-gosh moments, and even a few red herrings to keep me on the edge of my seat, constantly double guessing myself. 

Similar to Making a Murderer, Charlie Donela's Don't Believe Me focuses on a documentary aiming to set the story straight on a crime that shocked the nation years prior. I liked the incorporation of the documentary. It made this novel more unique, setting it apart from previous thrillers I've read this year. I also liked that it was primarily from the filmmaker's perspective. It was exciting to follow Sidney as she set out to find the truth. 

I will admit that I had a hard time connecting to Sidney at first. It's a problem I usually have with books set in third person; however, as time went on, Sidney began to grow on me. She was an ambitious women. I admired her determination to give the innocent a voice. Not too many people would take on the daring situations she got herself involved in. Additionally, I liked that there was more to Sidney's ambition than what meets the eye. Charlie presented some interesting things about her backstory, and while at times I did wish they were slightly more developed, it still worked well in creating Sidney's character. 

In addition to Sidney a variety of other characters were included. Some good, some evil, and some falling somewhere in between. From the moment Grace, the supposed killer, was introduced, I didn't know what to think. On one side, her case was convincing. It did seem like the authorities rushed the case, only focusing on clues that worked in their favor; however, on the other side, she seemed to be hiding something. Her relationship with her brother, in particular, never set well with me. There was a disturbing air around  it, but I couldn't always put my finger on what exactly made it that way. Grace's friends also added a lot to the novel. Ellie and Daniel were just as suspicious as Grace at times, and I was always dying to know what would be revealed next about each. 

It's hard to talk about Don't Believe It's plot without giving too much away so I'll keep it short and simple here. Basically, it was good. I thought Charlie did a great job of building up the story, using the documentary aspect to really reel the reader in. The build-up was slow at times, especially in the beginning, but as more was known about the case, the more thrilling everything became. By the middle, it seemed as if there was a race against time in Sidney's case. She was caught in the middle of a dangerous situation, one that she didn't have even half the answers to. 

Overall, Don't Believe It may be my first book by Charlie Donlea but it certainly won't be my last. It's not everyday that a thriller manages to take me completely by surprise, and I hope that Charlie's other books will have the ability to do the same. If you love thrillers, you simply must check this book out! It's GOOD. 

4 stars!! 


  1. This sounds so good! And now I need to know what the twist is!

  2. You have definitely piqued my interest. Great review!


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