Listen for the Lie: Excerpt and Cover Reveal!

Amy Tintera

The following is an exclusive excerpt from and cover reveal for Listen for the Lie, by Amy Tintera, forthcoming from Celadon Books in March 2024. In the following passage, we're introduced to the details of a strange crime and the many unanswered questions lingering.

It’s probably unfair to say that a podcast ruined my life.

Technically, my life was destroyed the night Savvy was murdered.

And then it was destroyed again, the next day, when I decided to take an early-morning stroll with her blood drying on my dress.

And for a third time, when everyone in my hometown decided that I was the one who killed her.

But a podcaster dragging the case into the public eye, five years later, doesn’t exactly improve my life.

I’m making the apology chicken, because my former coworkers aren’t the only ones listening to Ben Owen’s newest season of his true crime podcast. My boyfriend, Nathan, was weird when he came home from work last night. He was late, and smelled like beer, and he wouldn’t look at me. Clearly, someone clued him in.

To be honest, I never had any intention of telling him. Nathan has almost no interest in anything besides himself. I didn’t think it would come up.

I’ve known plenty of self-absorbed men, but Nathan takes the cake. It’s my favorite thing about him. I can’t even remember the last time he asked me a personal question. When I told him that I’d been married for two years, in my early twenties, he said, “No worries, want to go to a movie?”

I’m sure he must have googled me at some point early in our relationship, but the case didn’t generate national media attention, and I was never actually arrested for the crime, so you have to do a tiny bit of digging to find me. That is way too much effort for Nathan.

But now, thanks to my least favorite podcaster, murder is the very first thing that pops up when you google “Lucy Chase.” So I’m making apology chicken and preparing to get dumped. Immediately after getting fired.

To be fair to Ben Dipshit Owens, Nathan and I probably wouldn’t have made it more than another month or two, even without a surprise murder thrown into the relationship. We’d only been dating for three months when he offered to let me move in with him. My lease was up, and we were still in the sex-all-the-time phase of our relationship, so it seemed logical. I was there every night anyway.

Unfortunately, that phase ended about two weeks after I moved in. I’m pretty sure Nathan regretted his decisions, but he’s the kind of guy who avoids conflict at all costs. So, we’ve been awkwardly living together for two months now, even though I’m pretty sure neither of us is all that thrilled about it.

Let this be a lesson to all the men out there who can’t handle conflict—man up and dump your girlfriend, or you might end up living with a suspected murderer indefinitely.

The front door opens, and Brewster runs over to greet Nathan, tail wagging.

I’d be lying if I said that Brewster’s little furry yellow Lab face didn’t factor into my decision to keep living with this man. He may be a deeply average dude, but he has great taste in dogs.

Also, decent taste in apartments. The recently renovated nine-hundred-square-foot one-bedroom with a dishwasher and an in-unit washer/dryer is more than I’ve ever been able to afford in Los Angeles. It has these gray hardwood floors and bright white marble countertops that aren’t all that trendy anymore, but still clearly signal that you pay a monthly rent that would horrify people in most other parts of the country.

“Hi, boy.” Nathan spends a long time petting his dog, trying to avoid looking at me. “Something smells good.”

“I made chicken.”

He stands, finally glancing my way. His attention turns to the chicken, cooling on the stove.

“Great.” He loosens his tie and pulls it off, unbuttoning his collar.

I used to love watching him do that. He always stretches his neck to one side as he pulls free his top button, and there’s something really sexy about it. Every time he’d come home, I’d stop what I was doing and hop over to give him a kiss. I’d run my hands into his dark hair, perfectly combed to one side for work, and muss it up a bit, because I think it looks better that way.

He notices me staring at him and suddenly looks alarmed. “I, uh, I’m going to change.” He rockets into the bedroom like I might chase him down for a kiss.

I pull out a carving fork and knife. The chicken now seems like a bad idea. Maybe I don’t care enough to apologize.

Excerpt continues below cover reveal…

Then again, I’m going to have to find a new place to live if Nathan kicks me out, and landlords tend to require pesky things, like proving you have an income.

I pierce the chicken just as Nathan walks back into the room. He swallows, his Adam’s apple bobbing, and I briefly imagine stabbing the fork straight into his neck. It’s two-pronged, so it would leave twin bloody little holes, like a vampire bite.

My other hand is holding the knife, and I stare at him as I double-fist my weapons, waiting. I want him to say it first. He’s the one who clearly thinks I’m a murderer; he should have to say it first. I’m pretty sure those are the rules.

I stare. He stares.

Finally, he says, “How was work?” “I was fired.”

He edges around me and reaches into the counter next to the fridge. “Cool. You want some wine? I’m going to have some wine.”

I wait for my words to sink in, but he just reaches for the bottle of wine, oblivious.

I stab the knife into the chicken, right between the breast and thigh. I may have used a bit more force than necessary.

Nathan jumps. I smile.

At this rate, he’s going to end up married to a murderer.

Listen for the Lie Podcast with Ben Owens

Episode One—“The Sweetest Girl You Ever Met”

Maya Harper: She got away with murder, and everyone knows it. Every single person in Plumpton knows that Lucy Chase killed my sister. It’s just that no one can prove it.

Maya Harper was eighteen years old when her older sister, Savannah, was murdered. She describes Savannah as fun and sweet, the kind of woman who could organize a party in less than an hour and make it look like she’d worked on it all month.

Maya: She was just so nice and welcoming to everyone. And she was the best sister. When she was in high school, she’d let me hang out with her and her friends sometimes. And we weren’t even close in age. She was six years older than me. I didn’t know anyone else who had a big sister who let a little ten-year-old tag along to football games.

Maya was happy to talk to me, but she was skeptical that I’d find anything new.

Maya: You know that my family has hired three different private investigators, right? Like, my parents did not give up. I don’t know if there’s anything left to find.

Ben: I’m aware, yeah.

Maya: I guess it couldn’t hurt, though. I mean, it’s been five years and it’s like no one even cares anymore that Savvy is dead. They’ve all given up.

A quick note here—you’ll often hear people who knew Savannah refer to her as “Savvy.” It was what most people called her.

Ben: So you haven’t heard any updates from the police or the DA or anyone?

Maya: Not in years. They all knew Lucy did it, they just couldn’t prove it, I guess.

Ben: There have never been any other suspects?

Maya: No. I mean, Lucy was covered in Savvy’s blood when they found her. She had Savvy’s skin underneath her fingernails, there were scratches on Savvy’s arm and bruises shaped like Lucy’s fingers. People saw them fighting at the wedding. Lucy killed her. She killed my sister and got away with it because the useless police department said there wasn’t enough evidence for an arrest.

Ben: Have you had any contact with Lucy recently?

Maya: No, not since she left Plumpton. She’s never come back, even though her parents still live here.

Ben: As far as you know, is she still claiming to have no memory of the night Savannah died?

Maya: Yeah, that was her story.

Ben: Do you believe her?

Maya: Of course I don’t believe her. No one believes her.

Is it true that no one believes Lucy Chase? Is she hiding something, or have the people of Plumpton accused an innocent woman of murder for five years?

Let’s find out.

I’m Ben Owens, and this is the Listen for the Lie podcast, where we uncover all the lies people tell, and find the truth.


From Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera. Copyright (c) 2024 by the author and reprinted with permission of Celadon Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing Group, LLC.

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