Listen For The Lie Summary, Characters and Themes

“Listen for the Lie” is a mystery novel by Amy Tintera. It centers around Lucy, a woman living under the shadow of suspicion for the unsolved murder of her best friend five years ago. 

When a true-crime podcaster arrives to investigate the case, Lucy’s life is once again thrown into turmoil as she confronts her past and the possibility that she might be a killer.


Lucy Chase, an LA executive assistant, loses her job when a true crime podcast hosted by Ben Owens reopens the investigation into her best friend Savvy’s unsolved murder five years ago.  

Lucy, who has amnesia about that night, returns to her Texas hometown at her grandmother Beverly’s insistence to attend a birthday celebration.

Beverly believes in Lucy’s innocence and secretly orchestrated her return to help Ben uncover the truth. Lucy reluctantly agrees, hoping to finally learn what happened and clear her name.  

The townspeople, including Lucy’s parents and ex-husband Matt, believe she is guilty. Ben’s podcast reveals new details about the case, including Matt’s abusive behavior and multiple affairs, casting doubt on everyone’s motives.

As Lucy revisits key locations and tries to remember, she experiences flashes of memory: Savvy urging her to kill Matt for his abuse, Savvy’s own dark secret of killing a man in self-defense, and Lucy meeting Matt covered in Savvy’s blood. 

Matt confesses to seeing Lucy that night and disposing of a bloody tree branch to protect her, further confusing Lucy. Overwhelmed, she decides to leave for LA, despite Beverly’s pleas.

However, while stopping by Emmett’s store to say goodbye, Lucy witnesses his abusive behavior towards his girlfriend Nina. 

This triggers a flood of memories: Emmett was the man Savvy caught her kissing at the wedding, and he had become violent when Lucy rejected his advances. Savvy was killed trying to protect Lucy from Emmett’s attack.

Realizing the truth, Lucy confronts Emmett, leading to a violent fight. Ben arrives, alerted by Lucy’s earlier call, and supports her story to the police. 

Emmett is arrested for Savvy’s murder, and Lucy’s parents are charged with withholding evidence. Grateful to Beverly for her unwavering belief, Lucy returns to LA, deciding to pursue a relationship with Ben, encouraged by Savvy’s voice in her head.

Listen For The Lie Summary


Lucy Chase

Lucy is the protagonist of the story, haunted by the suspicion and memory loss surrounding her best friend’s murder. She’s portrayed as a complex character, struggling with intrusive thoughts, self-doubt, and the constant judgment of her hometown. 

Throughout the novel, Lucy’s journey is one of self-discovery and reclaiming her narrative. 

She grapples with the trauma of an abusive relationship and confronts the possibility of her own guilt. Ultimately, Lucy’s determination to uncover the truth and her resilience in the face of adversity lead her to healing and a chance at a new beginning.

Ben Owens

Ben is a true-crime podcaster who reopens the investigation into Savvy’s murder. His arrival in Plumpton disrupts the town’s carefully constructed facade and forces Lucy to confront her past. 

Ben is depicted as empathetic and persistent, genuinely invested in uncovering the truth and helping Lucy find closure. His relationship with Lucy evolves from a professional partnership to a romantic one, providing her with much-needed support and understanding. 

Ben’s role as an outsider allows him to see through the town’s biases and challenge the prevailing narrative surrounding Lucy.

Savvy Harper

Savvy is Lucy’s deceased best friend, whose murder is at the center of the story. Though absent in the present, her presence looms large through Lucy’s memories and flashbacks. 

Savvy is remembered as a kind and vibrant young woman, but the narrative also reveals a darker side to her, hinting at a troubled past and a capacity for violence. 

Savvy’s influence on Lucy is significant, as she constantly urges Lucy to stand up for herself and break free from her abusive relationship.

Matt Gardner

Matt is Lucy’s ex-husband, a wealthy and seemingly charming man who harbors a controlling and abusive nature. 

His manipulation and gaslighting contribute to Lucy’s self-doubt and isolation. Matt’s role in the story is that of an antagonist, as he actively tries to hinder Lucy’s pursuit of the truth and maintain his carefully crafted image. 

His actions reveal a deep-seated insecurity and a desire to control those around him.

Emmett Chapman

Emmett is a childhood friend of Lucy’s who appears friendly and supportive but conceals a darker side. He harbors a long-standing obsession with Lucy and resents her relationship with Matt. 

Emmett’s jealousy and possessiveness ultimately drive him to violence, making him a key suspect in Savvy’s murder. 

His seemingly harmless facade masks a manipulative and dangerous nature.

Beverly Moore

Beverly is Lucy’s grandmother and a steadfast supporter of her innocence. 

She orchestrates Lucy’s return to Plumpton and encourages her to collaborate with Ben on the podcast. 

Beverly’s unwavering belief in Lucy provides her with a much-needed source of strength and comfort. 

Her role in the story is that of a mentor and confidante, offering guidance and wisdom to Lucy as she navigates the complexities of her past and present.

Kathleen and Don Chase

Kathleen and Don are Lucy’s parents, who are portrayed as complicit in protecting their daughter, even if it means ignoring the truth. 

Their actions are motivated by a misguided sense of love and a desire to maintain their family’s reputation. However, their silence and denial contribute to Lucy’s isolation and hinder her healing process. 

Their characters represent the damaging effects of familial loyalty and the lengths people will go to protect their own.

Nina Garcia

Nina is Lucy’s former high school best friend, now dating Emmett. She harbors a longstanding dislike for Savvy and is revealed to have had a secret relationship with Matt. Nina’s role in the story is one of jealousy and manipulation. 

Her actions are driven by a desire for attention and a need to control those around her.


The Gap Between Perception and Reality

Tintera skillfully weaves a narrative that highlights the disparity between how individuals are perceived and the reality of their situations. Lucy, the protagonist, is a prime example. 

Despite being the victim of abuse and trauma, she is painted as the villain by the community due to her past temper issues and the circumstantial evidence linking her to Savvy’s death. 

The novel challenges readers to question the narratives presented to them, especially when those narratives are built on rumors and assumptions rather than concrete evidence. 

Tintera also demonstrates this theme through Savvy’s character, who is idealized after her death as a sweet and innocent girl, while the truth of her past actions remains hidden. 

The author thus underscores the importance of seeking truth beyond surface appearances and challenging societal biases that perpetuate harmful stereotypes.

The Effects of Physical and Psychological Trauma

The novel delves into the profound impact of trauma on individuals’ lives. Lucy’s amnesia serves as a physical manifestation of her psychological trauma, hindering her ability to remember the truth of what happened to Savvy. 

The novel also explores the insidious nature of domestic abuse, highlighting the ways in which it erodes victims’ self-esteem and leaves lasting psychological scars. Lucy’s intrusive thoughts and the constant presence of Savvy’s voice in her head are symptomatic of her unresolved trauma. 

Additionally, Savvy’s own experience of trauma, which led her to kill her attacker, adds another layer to the exploration of this theme. 

Through these characters, Tintera sheds light on the complex and often devastating consequences of trauma, emphasizing the need for understanding, support, and healing.

The Misogynistic Dismissal of Survivors

Tintera’s novel also tackles the pervasive issue of misogynistic dismissal of survivors. Lucy’s experience is a stark illustration of how society often blames victims, especially women, for the violence perpetrated against them. 

Despite the lack of evidence, the town readily accepts the narrative of Lucy as the aggressor and Savvy as the innocent victim, overlooking the signs of abuse Lucy endured in her marriage. 

This dismissal is further compounded by the fact that the men involved in the events – Matt and Emmett – are given the benefit of the doubt, while Lucy’s credibility is repeatedly questioned. 

The novel thus exposes the deep-rooted biases that perpetuate victim-blaming and the urgent need for societal change to empower and support survivors.

The Power of Narrative and Truth-Seeking

Another significant theme explored in the novel is the power of narrative and the relentless pursuit of truth. 

Ben Owens, the true-crime podcaster, embodies this theme as he uses his platform to re-examine the cold case and challenge the prevailing narrative surrounding Savvy’s death. 

Through his investigation, Ben not only uncovers the truth but also provides Lucy with a space to share her own story, ultimately leading to her healing and Emmett’s arrest. 

The novel highlights the importance of questioning accepted narratives, amplifying marginalized voices, and seeking truth even when it is uncomfortable or inconvenient. 

It demonstrates that the power of storytelling can be a catalyst for change and justice.