REVIEW: “Here Lies Daniel Tate” by Cristin Terrill

“Here Lies Daniel Tate” by Cristin Terrill is a suspenseful thriller with a brilliant, mind-bending storyline. Released in 2017, this unconventional read features an unreliable narrator, a test of morality and plot twists that will captivate readers.

When 10-year-old Daniel Tate goes missing from one of California’s most prominent cities, he vanishes into thin air, leaving no trace behind. Six years later, Daniel is spotted wandering the streets of Vancouver, Canada.

As his appearance breaks the news, his family is overjoyed to bring their lost son back to his safe, loving home. Everything couldn’t be more perfect, except for one thing — this sixteen-year-old boy is not the Daniel they know.

A young vagabond from Canada — whose real name is never revealed — succeeds in becoming a con artist after leaving his abusive home for a better life. When he is questioned by authorities, he decides to take on the identity of a kidnapped child to buy himself time and leverage. Hence, Daniel Tate is reborn.

It was a win-win situation; The Tates get their son back and the boy finally gets everything he had ever dreamed of. But some things are just too good to be true, and the boy learns that Daniel could have been a victim of a greater crime than kidnapping — and he could be next.

Since our narrator is a con artist, his unreliable sequence of events makes audiences question the truth behind his story. Terrill plays expertly into the human belief that people are likely telling the truth when they speak — especially in a novel where only the words determines the narrative.

Terrill also leaves many details up for interpretation, a choice that makes solving the mystery that much more entertaining.

The title, for example, implies the death of the main character, as “here lies” is a phrase commonly seen on gravestones. But f you take it literally, then “Here Lies Daniel Tate” suggests that the protagonist is lying throughout the book because he is a con artist.

This book also offers a staggering turn of events. Even if you’re a master at solving mysteries, don’t try to predict what will unravel in this book — it’s more fun to let it alter your brain chemistry.

“Here Lies Daniel Tate” is one of a kind. Read it, let it flip your brain inside out and discover where Daniel Tate lies.