To save her twin, she must take her identity.
One night Tila stumbles home, terrified and covered in blood. She’s then arrested for murder, the first by a civilian in decades. The San Francisco police suspect that the drug Verve is involved, and offer her sister Taema a chilling deal to save her sister’s life. Posing as Tila, she must infiltrate the crime syndicate running the drug to help bring it down. However, Taema’s inquiries raise dangerous questions.
The sisters were raised by a cult which banned modern medicine. Yet as conjoined twins, they needed surgery to replace their failing heart, so had to escape. Now Tila discovers disturbing links between the twins’ past and their present. Once unable to keep secrets, the twins now learn the true cost of lies in False Hearts by Laura Lam.
Lam (the Micah Grey series) sets this encompassing, fast-paced murder mystery in a cyberpunk, late 21st-century San Francisco. Conjoined twins Taema and Tila Collins live in the Mana Hearth's cult in Muir Woods. Under the ruthless thumb of Mana-ma, no technology is allowed and members are subjected to mind-altering Meditation. When the twins' shared heart fails, they escape to the city for separation and artificial hearts. Ten years later, Tila is charged with murdering Vuk, a gangster with the elusive Ratel crime syndicate. Taema goes undercover as Tila and discovers the underground drug Verve, which sucks users into a virtual reality nightmare of violence. Alternating first-person perspectives from each twin, Lam expertly explores themes of identity, totalitarian governments, cults, mind control, and familial love. However, readers who appreciate the accurate portrayal of San Francisco's diverse populace including the twins, who are Samoan and black will be dismayed that the cover obscures the protagonists' faces.