Every Smile You Fake | Dorothy Koomson

Dorothy Koomson with her novel Every Smile You Fake


Every Smile You Fake by Dorothy Koomson is a razor-sharp thriller that keeps the reader guessing from start to finish.

Dorothy Koomson explores the seething reality beneath the veneer of respectability in modern life, with a menacing edge that’s utterly compelling.

Every Smile You Fake is simultaneously uncomfortable to read and impossible to put down. The more the book progresses, the greater the tension becomes, making the story terrifyingly realistic, even when aspects are disturbing or unsettling.

Every Smile You Fake: Synopsis & Review

The psychological elements of protagonist Kez’s insights add depth and maintain a memerising narrative. Her comments on authority, psychopathic behaviour and control have the reader reassessing everything they think they know – both in the story and in real life.

Kez’s story is interwoven with the social media posts of Brandee, a troubled influencer. This allows the reader to think they have a complete grasp on what is happening, so the twists and turns are even more surprising when they’re revealed.

Every Smile You Fake is an intelligent insight into the online world, profiling and institutional control and corruption. Reading the book is like being on the dodgems: you think you know the direction the story is taking and then – bam! – Koomson hits you broadside with another completely unexpected and terrifyingly plausible event.

The characters are astounding. There’s a fierce exploration of womanhood, ethnicity and multi-faceted love through Kez that makes her unforgettable. The comparisons and similarities between L. King and Dennis are terrifying, given that one is a criminal and one a member of the establishment.

The themes presented resonate long after the story is finished. Koomson explores government bodies, misogyny, trafficking, racism, coercion and control, but never gratuitously.

Every word of this story is written with integrity and has enormous impact. With the development of artificial intelligence, recent real-life news stories and people behaving exactly as some do in Every Smile You Fake, I think this isn’t just a psychological thriller of the very best kind. It’s a narrative that is crucially important.

Every Smile Your Fake is out from February 15, 2024 (Headline, HB, £16.99) and available from Amazon.

Read more fiction reviews by Linda Hill including The Happiest Ever After by Milly Johnson, The Memory of Us by Dani Atkins, The Due Date by Niki Mackay and The Fortunes of Olivia Richmond by Louise Davidson.