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Even When You Lie: Debut Thriller

Even When You Lie by Michelle Cruz

Author Interview + Book & Author Info + Author Pet Corner!

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Even When You Lie

Even When You LiePerfect for fans of Lisa Scottoline and Kimberly McCreight, Michelle Cruz’s debut novel will have readers furiously turning the pages as they plunge headlong into the seedy underbelly of glitzy and glamorous Dallas in this gripping Texas noir.

Reagan Reyes hunts other people’s secrets. A former intelligence officer, she’s currently the in-house investigator for pricey criminal defense attorney, Cade McCarrick…and she’s his lover, despite the law firm’s rules forbidding romantic relationships between partners and staff. But their love—including their agreement never to lie to each other—is the only authenticity they have in a world of subterfuge and betrayal.

That agreement is pushed to its limits when a mysterious woman leaves an envelope for Cade and is soon discovered dead. While the envelope’s contents aren’t related to any of Cade’s current cases, Reagan uncovers a connection to a recent murder outside a Deep Ellum nightclub—and an even more ominous link to the dead woman.

The police don’t seem to care about either death, but they hit too close to home for Reagan to ignore. As she digs deeper into Dallas’s sordid underbelly, she’s completely on her own except for Cade—and there’s a killer bent on eliminating them both at any cost.

This pulse-pounding romantic thriller offers a fresh new take on big-city crime, from a dazzling and exciting new voice in the genre.

To purchase Even When You Lie, click any of the following links: Amazon, Penguin Random House, Barnes and Noble, and Books A Million.

Even When You Lie — Author Interview

Even When You Lie centers on Reagan Reyes, a former intelligence officer. What would you like readers to know about her?

She was affectionately nicknamed “little ball of rage” in an early draft by some of my critique partners, but her passion and pursuit of justice is something I hope people fall in love with. She’s not just rocking the boat for the fun of it; she’s legitimately making waves to affect change, and sometimes we all have to find that point within ourselves where we just can’t accept the status quo anymore.

Even When You Lie is set in Dallas. What makes that a great place to set a mystery?

I grew up in Deep East Texas, so Houston was much more familiar.

Dallas, though, the way the skyline appeared on US-175 just before you hit Crandall always seemed magical. I’ve lived there twice; first before I joined the military when I lived in the Galleria/Midtown area and then my family moved back to the Metroplex after my husband and I both left military service, so having a working knowledge was very helpful!

But also I think a lot of people from outside Texas imagine Dallas from the TV show with Larry Hagman or they think of the Cowboys – what they may not realize is that the DFW Metroplex is almost 6.5 million people, Dallas is the Wall Street of the South, and it’s a major transportation hub for air, rail, and automobiles. Which means that everyone’s hustling and you can have extreme economic disparity separated by just a street so, frankly, it’s got all the ingredients for the perfect mystery.

Even When You Lie has been described as Texas noir, what does that genre mean to you?

Texans loves flawed heroes, legends and lost causes.

Just look at our history – Sam Houston, Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, William Barret Travis, Juan Seguin. We’re a state of contrasts and swagger and possibilities who appreciate a maverick, so noir is uniquely suited to the Texas psyche, with its morally ambigious characters and open endings. But Texas is also just as perfect for noir, because of the sprawl, because of the weather, because of the economic disparity and the ecological diversity.

When I think of Texas noir I can’t help but think of Joe Lansdale and Attica Locke, but I also have to put Kathleen Kent there and James Wade (who I am honored to share a hometown with), and it’s amazing to me to see my book classified with theirs.

What role(s) did you perform in the Air Force?

By occupational code (AFSC or MOS, depending on branch), I was an air battle manager/air weapons officer and flew as mission crew onboard the E-3 Sentry, a Boeing 707 airframe. Most people recognize it from the movie Transformers as the airplane with a giant frisbee on its back.

The easiest way to explain my crew position is that we operate as a hybrid air controller/intelligence officer, but instead of keeping dots separated, we run them together, vectoring American assets onto targets. However, I held additional duties as the squadron executive officer and chief of the orderly room. So no one in the squadron really liked hearing from me, because it was usually to tell them they were late on performance reports, their leave wasn’t authorized (and why), or they had been randomly selected for urinalysis.

Tell us about the Texas Hill Country:

I’m a Piney Woods native, so at first I was very resistant to moving here. But once you get off I-35—well, everything is better off I-35, right?

At the risk of sounding cliché with the superlatives, the scenery is breath-taking, the BBQ is top-notch, the writing community is so welcoming, the music scene can’t be topped, and I won’t even start on the wineries…although that would likely be Reagan and Cade’s favorite part.

(The bottle of red wine Reagan polishes off *might* just be Messina Hof’s Midnight Yell, but I make no promises)

What are you working on now?

I’m one of those fortunate writers who is usually wrangling a few plot bunnies. Probably the one I’ve teased the most on socials lately is a Southern Gothic suspense with a romantic subplot and whole lot of Texas noir.

Final words of wisdom for aspiring writers:

Write where you are.

There’s a lot of prescriptive writing advice out there, but it misses that we’re not all the same. So the most important thing to do is find what works for you and do it. Know your capabilities and limits, and execute accordingly with excellence.

Author Pet Corner!


Choji, affectionately referred to as the bestest boi on socials, is our four-year old Akita-Husky mix.

We accepted him as an emergency rehome in mid-March 2020 when he was one-year old, right as most of the country went into COVID lockdown.

As is with most rescues, he came into our lives at just the perfect time and we’re now unsure as to who rescued whom.

He can generally be found napping under my desk or guarding my office door…unless someone opens cheese, in which case he will be in the kitchen.



Michelle Cruz — Author of Even When You Lie

Even When You Lie

Michelle Cruz is a seventh-generation native Texan who served as a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force and staffed a member of Congress.

She resides with her family in the Texas Hill Country.

To learn more aboutMichelle, click on her name, photo, or any of the following links: Website, Twitter, Instagram.

Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell

All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio.

Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator

Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery



The Foundation of Plot, a Wait, Wait, Don’t Query (Yet!) guidebook. Amazon #1 bestseller

Header image from Pixabay

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

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