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Alejandro's Lie: Best Political Thriller 2021 on - 2021


Alejandro's Lie is voted "Best Political Thriller 2021" on

Terreno, 1983, Latin-America. After a dictatorship of ten years, the brutal junta, lead by general Pelarón seems to waver. Alejandro Juron, the guitarist of the famous poet and folksinger Victor Pérez who’s been executed by the junta, is released from the infamous prison “The Last Supper.” The underground resistance wants Alejandro to participate in its fight again. But Alejandro has changed. Consumed with guilt by the death of his friend Victor Pérez, whom he has betrayed to his tormentors, Alejandro becomes the unintended center of a web of intrigue that cuminates in a catastrophic insurrection, and has to choose between  love and escape.  

A love story, a thriller and an analysis of the mechanisms that govern a dictatorship, Alejandro’s Lie  is a gripping novel about violence, betrayal, resistance, corruption, guilt and love.

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Set in a fictional South American country with a corrupt government that dictates the destiny of its citizenry, Alejandro's Lie by Bob Van Laerhoven is one of those rare and entrancing stories that is a little self-contained but offers depth and redemption (…)There is a poetic quality in Bob Van Laerhoven’s prose that makes the story sing, and its romantic angle reminds me of Love in the Time of Cholera. (…)what started out as detention and torture for Alejandro has expanded into a moral dilemma that largely affects not only him but also those people who have faith in him. The choice between freedom and oppression doesn’t come easily, and the antagonists are worth noting for this. (…) I imagine that Alejandro’s Lie could spark controversy if Van Laerhoven had chosen a real country in which to set his tale. But even in its purely fictional setting, it doesn’t diminish the intensity of the message. It is a great read, one that pops up in your memory if asked to make a list of memorable stories you’ve read that are set in South America. Five Stars.

Vincent Dublado – Readers’ Favorite - 

Alejandro's Lie is a stirring novel that follows the story of a recently released prisoner back on the streets of his junta occupied country after ten years of torture and profound guilt(.…) Immersed in a world of soaring natural beauty juxtaposed with acute poverty - Alejandro's Lie takes the reader down the dark and troubled path of each character - all desperate to not only survive but to overthrow the punishing military dictatorship(…)The deeply authentic characters and the realistic flavor of their pain lends a near reverent shine to their grand sacrifices and their immovable dedication to freedom and democracy. Five Stars!

Bookstuff’s Reviews -

(…)I was in the mood for a thriller and wanted something a little different. I was really glad that I did. The book was a page-turner and kept me engaged until the very end. I loved the era and the setting of the story. The story takes on a ride of ups and downs and reminds you that all decisions have consequences. I suggest giving this book a shot, especially if you are in the mood for a set-piece thriller with a touch of romance. Five Stars

James Abbott’s Reviews

"Alejandro's Lie" is a lyrical novel that will resonate with readers familiar with the history of many countries (not only South-American) that have suffered under the rule of dictatorships and corrupt governments. A gripping plot, beautifully written, filled with characters trying to remain true to themselves in impossible situations while confronting evil, which will touch the hearts of all who read it. It’s a fabulous story, full of tragedy, wonder, and magic. Five Stars

Olga Núñez Miret. Author/translator (English/Spanish), psychiatrist. Autora/traducciones (español/inglés), psiquiatra

"Alejandro's Lie" invites us to revisit the woes of a military dictatorship, never quite as far back in the past as we might hope them to be. Action-packed, gripping, and painstakingly true to reality while also thoughtfully delving into the human soul, it reminds us of the frailty of our values against a brutal, inhumane regime.  Grabbing the reader by the gut, the plot and characters point out that everything is liable to collapse, that our heroes are all too human, redemption is not always an option, and love is not always the answer. 

Taís Paulilo Blauth. M.A. in Applied Linguistics/Translation Studies - UFMG / Brazil 

(…)The descriptions were vivid and I felt like I was really in Latin America in the 80s, on the cusp of revolution. I particularly enjoyed the characters in this book. Alejandro, of course, was a highlight; his cowardly nature was excellently written and, unusually, did not become bravery as the novel progressed. This led to an interesting third act, in which everyone but the protagonist had developed. into stronger characters. However, this lack of development works well for the character considering everything he's been through.(…) My favourite character was Beatriz by far. Her transition from the beginning of the novel to the end left me cheering with joy and utterly devastated at the same time. While a fascinating an enjoyable read, this book is not for the faint of heart. There were heartbreaking moments as well as horrifying scenes (…)However, for anyone who likes a challenge, I would highly recommend this book.

Bethany Martin – Goodreads-

YouTube review:

The lyricism of this book just blew me away…… mixing the horrific with the personal pin-point view, and then back to wade through the obstacles and other dangers, and onward to what Alejandro wants. There is poetry in everything this author writes, from the color of the sky to the way the bullets fly.
“I live by the grace of people who have little more in life than memories, he thought to himself.” One of my favorite lines. This occurs early in the story, and proves true to the end.
Like a cloud over everything is Alejandro’s own self-loathing that effects everything he thinks and does, yet his innate goodness comes through when he does the right thing, automatically.
The erotic images are done beautifully, and tied to Alejandro’s inner torment, that makes his participation come and go. Sometimes literally. (…)This book in a beautiful way blends new light onto the music of the land to the south, not in a jumble of emotions or clichés, but of a story. The ending, without a spoiler, seemed as poetic as the rest of the story because of the flair with which it happened and the starkness of the act, and being in the characters’ final thoughts and motivations. Perfect. Five Stars.

Hussong's Cantina :

“Alejandro’s Lie” is the third novel in English translation that I’ve read from the Flemish/Belgian author Bob Van Laerhoven. Again, he surprises, this time with a literary, political thriller mixed with a poignant love drama. The story takes place in Terreno, a fictitious Latin-American country in the eighties. At first, I wondered why Laerhoven had chosen a non-existent country. But the further into the story I got, the better I understood his choice: “Alejandro’s Lie” is, in fact, a sharp analysis of the mechanisms that lead to and govern a dictatorship. This analysis, slyly intertwined with a relentlessly suspenseful storyline and an enticing eighties vibe, is of all times. Although set around 40 years ago, “Alejandro’s Lie” is entirely in sync with the current atmosphere in many autocracies, not only in Latin America but in the whole world. (…) Like in previous work, Laerhoven uses his poetic literary style effectively.(…) The fiery love story in the book is loaded with guilt and fear, and ends in a heartbreaking sacrifice. But above all, “Alejandro’s Lie” is an intense suspense novel: the voltage continues to rise with each page.
I wholeheartedly give this impressive novel five stars, but with a note of caution: “Alejandro’s Lie” will probably shock readers of lightweight literature. All the others will find the novel fascinating.

Hugh M.

"Alejandro's Lie," Bob Van Laerhoven's political thriller is about revolution in a Latin American country. It shows what happens when the marching, protests, and rebellions stop and the rebel is left older and alone with their thoughts(...) "Alejandro's Lie" is an absorbing look at how a dictatorship affects the people and places surrounding it. Terreno is a fictional location but the impact of living under a tyranny can be clearly felt in the real world. This impact has been experienced by people from real Central and South American countries that have been ruined by dictators who have used various political leanings from Capitalism to Communism and backing from more powerful countries as means for control(...) One character describes the situation in Terreno as: "The wealthy are dancing the rumba in luxurious nightclubs, the poor grab leftovers in the garbage dumps." (...) "Alejandro's Lie" is a book that explores the long term impact that a dictatorship and Imprisonment have on the soul and how people lose everything: their home, families, lovers, strength, and fighting spirit. Truth be told, Alejandro's Lie is a somber but still intriguing and completely honest book.

Julie S. Porter- Amazon -

This novel takes readers on a journey; pack lightly because the trail is dangerous and fraught with turmoil. Yet, readers will experience fragments of a world that exists despite being fictional.(…) I appreciate authors who take readers into foreign territory, and Van Laerhoven is a fantastic tour guide. However, you’re not staying at a five * hotel; you’re introduced to the gritty side of an imaginary country that is all too authentic. (….)There are many moments in this novel where uncomfortable meets intrigue and urges the reader to dig deeper into the pages. Van Laerhoven has the skill to include the reader in the story and there are many moments when the urge to shake the main character  Alejandro from his stupor is overpowering. In particular, there is one scene where Alejandro allows a horrible act to befall someone he cares about yet he hides like a simpering child.(…)  I won’t lie, the subject is disturbing, but it’s also authentic and plausible and happening in a country run by a military dictator. The truth is that people in many countries are fighting for their rights and lives, while soldiers slaughter innocent people without batting an eye. (…)About the author’s style: using fragments of a foreign language is always tricky, but Van Laerhovend does it eloquently and effectively; it’s a mini-Spanish lesson and suits the story. It felt like being amidst the turmoil, perhaps as a bystander trying to make sense of the chaos.
The characters are well developed and believable. The setting and details that the author imparts to the reader contribute to an exciting well-plotted storyline. Most importantly, they are fully human and don’t behave like you expect them to. Five Stars.

Monika R. Martyn – Goodreads –

Alejandro’s Lie was such a great book with such a deeper complex meaning than what lies on the surface of its words. (…)With a love interest inserted towards the beginning of the book, you know as a reader there will be heated scenes and interesting relationships throughout the story. This is just one of the many reasons this book had me hooked.(…) The mixed ideas of Alejandro constrained by his past with the difficult governing system helps enhance the theme of breakthroughs and staying true to who you are. Although it is a fictional book, the characters almost seemed to be giving me a helping hand, showing me that if I want something for my future that contradicts my past, to just go for it.(…) Overall, this was a very well written book(…)Alejandro’s Lie  has opened my eyes to reading more on different societies, cultures, and time frames in various countries. Five stars.

The Livi Chronicles -

Goodreads -

I really enjoyed this book. It’s not like anything I’ve ever read before, in the way that it feels so real. The characters are full of depth and complicated with their flaws on show. I was fully invested by the end of reading chapter one and couldn’t wait to see where the story would go. By the time I was reaching the end, I genuinely didn’t want it to be over. It’s rare that happens for me, that I’m so invested I just want to find out what happens next, even after the final page.(…) The book itself seems to fly by. Whenever I picked it up, I would read a few pages, and before I realised I would have read 50 pages or more. It’s so easy to read and get into the flow of. The story is fascinating and dark. It’s full of shocking moments and at points does get very brutal. It’s never exploitative or feels too difficult to read, but there are some dark moments. This is the first book I’ve read from Bob Van Laerhoven, but it won’t be the last. I couldn’t recommend this enough. 

Ashley Manning-

When you read Alejandro’s Lie, you are in Terreno, feeling the despair of living under corruption in Latin America. All the characters are flawed and real in their pain. The writing is dark but beautiful and carefully crafted to bring to life this challenging world. The main character Alejandro is as complex as they come – he’s been released from prison and yet is still in prison in life due to the shame of his past. I found his relationship with Beatriz compelling. She’s a fascinating woman who doesn’t understand men as much as they don’t understand her. Her desire to be someone more was heartfelt.
One of my favorite parts of the book is how the writer weaved in lyrics of Alejandra’s which showed a tenderness that the reader might not have gained: “Oh, my love, what does it hurt to be someone else for you.” I loved any time we got these glimpses. Although the book was a tough read at times because times were tough in places like the ‘pigsty’ where military juntas run amuck, I appreciate how well-written this novel was. Clearly, the writer understands tragedy but also the journey to try to find redemption.

JB – Amazon -

Recently released from the prison known as The Last Supper, once famous musician Alejandro Juron returns to the war torn home he knew 1o years ago. Consumed with guilt for turning his former bandmate and best friend and his wife over to the military when he went to prison, Alejandro finds himself still a prisoner outside of the prison only to himself. He is trying to overcome his past for friends, lovers, the future of his country. But can he? Alejandro tries to help fight for his country's freedom while fighting inner demons along the way, but trying to overthrow a dictatorship while never fully free from his past makes it a difficult and bloody journey.

This is written in such a way that the whole thing almost seems like one long poem or political song. The language really brings images to your mind so as you go along it kind of plays like a movie in your head.

Kate -    -

I love stories about individuals fighting back against the system. This book is like being taken on a journey into a political system we know well exists in many countries and seeing what it's like from the inside. 
Highly recommended for anyone who wants something more than the simplistic thrillers we see too often.

Robert -

I thought this would be a boring book to read but the author grabbed my interest and it was fascinating looking into the lives of people who live under a dictatorship country, regardless of where this country may be. Feelings of guilt, regret and any feelings one may have, is no different than anywhere else. The choices we make take us to where we encounter ourselves currently (….)Well done!

B.C. – Amazon -

I have chosen to title this review “A Hundred Horrible Lies” because, although one of Alejandro’s lies is central to the plot, all of the characters have them. Each is hurtful in its own unique way, like the various devices in a torture chamber. The characters strive to find camaraderie in the common cause, alcohol, and sex. The way that touch and physical/psychic contact harms them like the application of battery clamps to the body reminds me of the characters in the plays of American Pulitzer Prize–winner Sam Shepard. Their pain is constant, spreading ever outward like a contagion, enveloping the innocents the revolutionaries are attempting to save(…)Bob Van Laerhoven is a talented storyteller with a gift for structure and character. Alejandro’s Lie weaves a tapestry of events that, given the January 6 Capitol Riots and widening gaps in ideology as the 2022 US mid-term elections approach, is required reading for anyone attempting to understand the micro and macro dynamics underlying human history, and how the simplest songs make a difference when sung by passionate voices. Five stars

Joey Madia, playwright, author, actor, teacher of creative writing and theatre -


 Alejandro’s Lie is a fantastic, though very dark, tale (...) The characters of Alejandro’s Lie are well written and realistically tortured and tormented souls that are relatable to any reader who has taken more than a few moments to consider how imperfect people are. They fit the story and setting so well that their painful journey leaves you wanting to root for them even as they continue to display how damaged they are(…)If you can handle a dark tale with damaged characters, I would strongly suggest this wonderful book.

 The writing is done so lyrically, and beautifully and takes you on an intriguing ride filled with love and thrills. Political thrillers are typically not my thing but I fell into this book. It is a heavy and intense read but great! (…)This book is brutal, dark, thrilling, and intriguing.

Books.andbones –Instagram -

Alejandro's Lie is an absorbing look at how a dictatorship affects the people and places surrounding it. Terreno is a fictional location but the impact of living under a tyranny can be clearly felt in the real world. This impact has been experienced by people from real Central and South American countries that have been ruined by dictators who have used various political leanings from Capitalism to Communism and backing from more powerful countries as means for control. (….)Alejandro's Lie is a book that explores the long term impact that a dictatorship and imprisonment has on the soul and how they lose everything: their home, families, lovers, strength, and fighting spirit. Truth be told, Alejandro's Lie is a somber but still intriguing and completely honest book.

Julie Sara Porter – Bookworm Reviews -  - GoodReads - Amazon – Twitter

From moment to moment the book is a page-turner. There is plenty of action, suspense, danger. Intrigue. Secrets. There is even a love story, of a sort. But deep down this is a slow burn that gradually strips the reader of all easy platitudes. Bob van Laerhoven’s honesty about the human condition is sometimes hard to bear. Yet you have to read on, if only because the writing is mesmerising. Bob Van Laerhoven writes more beautifully than any author I know. Even in translation, even writing about the darkest places of the human soul, his writing is luminous.

Carly Rheilan -

I became a fan after reading Return to Hiroshima and eagerly grabbed this one as soon as it was available. Bob can tell a story, can write it as good as any big name wordsmith, and Alejandro's Lie shows he's still at the top of his game. Incredible book!

Amazon: Chris Roy Crime:-

A haunting political thriller set in a fictional South American country. (…)Alejandro is a flawed character, partly due to his prison experience. And it’s exactly the reason that the story development tugs at the reader’s heart strings. His songs also connects the developments from beginning to end. The reading felt very realistic and relatable. The theme of the book is heavy with its portrayal of military scenes, political agendas and rape and only intended for mature audiences. Five Stars.

Eddie Wu:

Alejandro’s Lie was initially published in Dutch. Following much acclaim, it has been translated into French and now English(…). This is a beautifully written story (…)A  book you will read that will stay will you for days after.

Enjoyingbooksagain – Instagram - - Also on GoodReads and Amazon

The stage is set for a complex political thriller brimming with vile and corrupt characters in a regime majoring in oppression, secrecy and arbitrary curfews as Beatriz risks her life to help Alejandro flee the country. The narrative is sprinkled with excerpts of poetry and song lyrics that capture the mood of the times, the aching for a return to peace and freedom, and capture the inner workings of Alejandro’s tormented soul.

Skillfully told in short, sharp chapters, Alejandro’s Lie is a taut, well-developed and intelligent read. Clean prose, an astute attention to detail, great characterization and artfully constructed action scenes altogether make for an exemplary thriller. The novel has a cinematic quality to it, all dark streets and gunshots, casual violence and simmering passion. I’m a reader who is easily bored. When I remark that I found Alejandro’s Lie very hard to put down, that’s high praise and sincerely meant. 

Isobel Blackthorn- - Amazon –Goodreads

This one is set in 1983 Latin America and I like the way the author has approached the subjects within the story. It has strong characters and descriptions and settings that are rich in detail.I do think it will have a particular audience but that's not a bad thing at all. It's a solid read with a plot that's intriguing. I would say it is a little gritty at times due to the subject matter, but I think there will be a lot of people who enjoy this one.

Stephanie’s Reviews - – Instagram:

There is so much to unpack and overcome in Alejandro's Lie by the prolific author Bob Van Laerhoven for all its characters but especially the self-loathing Alejandro. (…) The author, as in his previous masterpiece Return To Hiroshima, makes us squirm uncomfortable with the grittiness of the country, the politicians, and most exhaustively our protagonist Alejandro. Alejandro knows he is a broken man and he might not be able to fix himself but maybe he can truly change himself. His journey is filled with violence, betrayal, regret, resistance, corruption, guilt and ultimately love.

mccutch12bookreviews - - Goodreads

I’m finding this super intriguing!! It’s a little bit thriller-y with lies and deception, but also extremely political. A big change in pace for me!! It’s not a slow burn, but everything is very well described and written (…) . It's a very poetic read, many small parts of lyrics are scattered around from Alejandro (…) This read is intense, raw and descriptive. Whilst reading it, I felt like I was there in Terreno. I felt the unease as characters may walk through the streets. The seriousness of the political characters, and their lack of empathy for the people who live under their rules. This was a bit of something different for me. I've never read a political thriller, but I definitely picked a good one to start with!! This was a great book to read, a trickle feed of action, so it doesn't feel boring when there isn't much happening. A great amount of suspense, especially toward the end which left me not wanting it to finish. If you're looking for something that ties in politics, thriller, suspense genres, this is definitely it!!!

Talkingteacupsblog - Goodreads

Alejandro’s Lie I will remember forever and possibly wish that I didn’t. It’s a perfectly crafted story and I will remember, I fear, its exquisitely uncompromising detail. It is a book that – Bob van Laerhoven’s trademark – worms itself into the reader’s mind and robs one of compromise. It never made me laugh. It never gave me that sense of triumph that I wanted. There was the moment by moment, page-turning distraction of the thriller plot – What would happen next? How would it end up? But ultimately, behind all that excitement, it was like looking into a well, searching for water at the bottom, wanting a glint of reflected sky, my own face even. Were you teasing me, meneer van Laerhoven, when you ended the book thus: “For an eternity, the lightning clarified everything”? I did not see lightning reflected in any water. As I peered into the well, I never found the bottom of the darkness. Five stars.

 The Hard Hat Book Site - - Goodreads –

It’s a disturbing world Bob Van Laerhoven takes us to in his political thriller Alejandro’s Lie; a fictitious dictatorship, a world we know exists in many places but seem powerless to change. (…..)I love the way Laerhoven tells this fascinating and dark story. He tells it with such complete honesty and sharp analysis; it feels real! Even where the settings are tainted by the corrupt people in charge, there is the beautiful writing, like poetry. And about Victor Perez’s pretty words: “They were like gold nuggets in the furrows that he plowed.” All the characters are well-rounded and real. Beatriz was my favorite. Quoting reviewer Julee Balko: “I found his relationship with Beatriz compelling. She’s a fascinating woman who doesn’t understand men as much as they don’t understand her.” I fully agree.
It’s a wonderful book! Five stars.

Ulla Hakanson – -

Laerhoven’s fictional setting and somewhat alternative history creates a surreal atmosphere for his novel that is not unlike that found in most works of magical realism. I make this comparison specifically because the history of the genre fits perfectly with some of the novel’s core themes. (…)Laerhoven does not shy away from the darker sides of his characters nor of the world in which they live. The actions of the revolutionaries are both justified and, at times, extreme. Alejandro and Beatriz’s relationship has moments that range from beautiful to concerningly toxic. This is no “love conquers all, perfect heroes” novel, but it is a striking and powerful piece of writing. (…) The author handles the large cast of characters and complex worldbuilding with ease and finesse.

Sarah Edmonds -

(...) Alejandro's Lie takes you on a journey through a world I hoped we only knew from history classes, but with the war in Ukraine raging on, the book is actually a literary warning against autocracies. Bob van Laerhoven writes a cross-over between literature and suspense. In this book, South American's a bloody past comes grippingly to life. The end is not what you might expect, but it makes the book stronger for it.

Peter D'Hollander -

The story  is a dark tale that isn't for the faint hearted, but  because it is written extremely well, and the author's attention to detail and description is so vivid , that you can picture the scenes in your mind clearly(…) You can almost feel all the emotions that each character goes through in the way that tension and suspense is expertly created. I really felt like I was in Latin America, about to take part in a revolution! 

 I went through a rollercoaster of emotions reading about heartbreak, corruption, survival and death and torture, which did make me put the book down on a number of occasions - just to catch my breath and regain reality! However, the breaks wouldn't be for long as I was too gripped and intrigued to know what happened next. (…). The author has a great way of creating intense suspense with all the characters. In the midst of this political and gruesome tale , there is also a fiery love story, ending with a sacrifice. (…)At the end of story, I was left questioning humanity and the dangers  of political secrets and decision making. It's raw, brutal in places but honest.This is the first book that I have read by Bob Van Laerhoven, and I truly hope that it isn't my last. 

Zowie Norris - 

Alejandro's Lie by Bob Van Laerhoven is an action packed political thriller. The fascinating story is set up in the backdrop of a fictional South American Dictatorship. The language is poetic and I really liked the way how the novel has been set up in lower class and disturbing backdrop of warzones. Where every soul is trying and fighting for meaning of life. Five stars!

Amazon India -


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