Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea @CharlieDonlea @KensingtonBooks #bookreview #thriller

Title: Don’t Believe It

Author:  Charlie Donlea

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Page Count: 304

My rating: 4 stars

About the book:

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.

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Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea is a thriller read that follows up and coming filmmaker Sidney Ryan as she revisits and old murder case to make a documentary. Sidney hopes to bring justice to innocent people convicted and have their sentences overturned through her work.

For ten years Grace Sebold has sat in a prison in St. Lucia after being convicted of murdering her then boyfriend. Grace has written to Sidney over and over through the years always proclaiming her innocence and how she was wrongly convicted. She claims that all the evidence used against her was circumstantial and the police targeted her in their investigation.

Sidney knows she’s competing with the network’s big star and that she needs to bring in the ratings for her twelve week documentary featuring Grace’s case. She brings in top experts to go through all the evidence and show that Grace has been wrongly convicted and as her audience grows Sidney knows the truth will come out in the end.

When reading Don’t Believe It I could see how this book may not be for everyone as it is just like reading a television documentary for the most of the book. We get the behind the scenes as the show is being taped and the evidence collected. Most of the story being told from Sidney’s point of view. There’s also a retired detective playing a part in the story that will all tie into the final wrap up as the story unfolds.

I really found the behind the scenes rather fun to read and couldn’t wait to find out how it would all unfold in the end. But I will say too I would also find myself interested in watching this type of true crime on television too so this type of format may not be for everyone as it is different than a normal thriller read.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon

About the author:

USA Today bestselling author Charlie Donlea was born and raised in Chicago. He now lives in the suburbs with his wife and two young children. Readers can find him online at

Categories: Uncategorized

13 replies

  1. Great review Carrie. The format sounds a little different but I do love the premise of the story and the whole angle of trying to free the convicted woman. Glad you enjoyed this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this book so much! I also imagined it would make an excellent movie because of its format. I think it might be my favorite suspense book so far this year, and I’ve read some good ones.
    Nice review. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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