The First to Tell

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
304 Pages
Reviewed on 02/25/2022
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Author Biography

Multi-Award-Winning Author Milan Sergent studied creative writing in college and began writing the novel series "Candlewicke 13" in 2007, a year after featuring some of the series’ characters in his solo art exhibition, titled "Outsiders and Apparitions," near Rockefeller Center in New York City.

An artist and poet since adolescence, a few of Sergent's early poetic works were published in Scarlet Literary Magazine and more recently in his illustrated poetry book, "Outsiders and Apparitions: Possessed Poems and Art for Family Picnics."

To learn more about the author or view the illustrated companion guide to the "Candlewicke 13" series visit While there, join the mailing list for important news updates and notifications about future novel releases.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

The First To Tell by Milan Sergent is a black comedy. Cooper Pearmain is looking forward to retirement and has big plans. He knows a devastating secret about Lilibet, his wife who wants to remain in the limelight forever, even though her career is over. If Cooper spills her secret, it’s all over. But she has an ace up her sleeve too – an equally devastating secret that could destroy her husband’s work. That is all that holds these two together, the only thing that gets them past the fact that they hate each other with a passion. Their ever-increasing public wars are starting to lead people to question if it’s nothing more than a way to keep Lilibet in the public eye or whether it goes much deeper than that. The Pearmains suspect that a psychology undergraduate and her husband are about to blow the lid on them but before they can do anything about it, the Mayfields’ vacation goes hilariously wrong, changing everything and everyone. They are all about to learn the hard way that confession is sometimes the best option.

The First To Tell by Milan Sergent is another great comedy from a master storyteller, this time a somewhat dark comedy. First off, this is NOT a book for youngsters – it is strictly adults-only. Second, if you don’t get dark or black humor, this isn’t for you. If you do, be prepared to laugh your socks off. Although it is an American story, the characters feel just a little bit British to me and I can visualize them, especially the Pearmains, in a distinctly upper-class British setting. There is plenty of action here, starting right from the first page, and you will find yourself laughing and flinching in equal parts as the story unfolds before you. You’ll be rooting for the characters while at the same time feeling like you want to give them a good kick in the rear quarters. This is black comedy at its finest from a multi-talented author who, it would seem, can turn his hand to just about any genre. Another thoroughly enjoyable read.

Anne-Marie Ledo

Cooper and Lilibet, the successful real estate lawyer and the underground, has-been actress, have made quite a life for themselves. The thing that tears most marriages apart is the very thing that has been holding theirs together: secrets, deception, and guilt. Keeping up appearances seems to be the only thing they ever see eye-to-eye on. When someone within their circle sells a tell-all story to the tabloids, intent on destroying their reputation, Lilibet is hellbent on finding out who the guilty party is and will stop at nothing to avenge their dirty deed. Their codependency is toxic at its best, deadly at its worst. On the verge of surrender and succumbing to the irrepressible need to unburden their souls, who will be the First to Tell?

With his unique style of writing and ingenious syntax, Milan Sergent effortlessly tells a tale so dark and serious with humor that lightens the mood at just the right moment. At times revisiting unresolved childhood traumas, Milan offers a deeper focus into the psyches and dynamics of the main characters with a refreshing dose of honesty; however uncomfortable and burdensome it may be. This story has some of the most interesting and well-spun characters that I have ever come across in a novel. An absolutely exciting and intriguing story that will catch you off guard at almost every turn! I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants an outside-the-box experience. I can’t wait to read the rest of his work.

Jennifer Ibiam

Cooper Pearmain was a successful attorney and husband to Lilibet, a washed-out, has-been actress. She was psychotic and lived in a never-ending, grandiose delusion. The couple loathed each other, but they couldn’t get a divorce. Dirty secrets bound Lilibet and her husband. Cooper celebrated his retirement with a party at his home. As usual, the couple lost their inhibitions and misbehaved, which got them into the tabloids. Lilibet and Cooper suspected the Mayfield couple of spilling and invited them to an all-expense-paid vacation in Vegas. The couple hired a limo, and off they went on the mother of all journeys. The four individuals will learn that secrets are cages. What will happen to the Mayfields? Find out in The First to Tell by Milan Sergent.

What would you do if your spouse blackmailed you with a damning secret? Brave it and walk away, or live in fear for the longest time? The First to Tell by Milan Sergent is a captivating novel that navigated a brilliant plot and brought the story to a satisfying end. Milan used dark humor to tell a fantastic and realistic story that taught me many lessons. Allow no one to become a custodian of your secrets or have power over you. The characters were excellently developed, and the dialogue was super-charged. Lilibet was in her element, and she drained me of energy. Also, no one has it all together, especially Ami and John Henry, who were the poster couple for perfection. This book was wholesome. Please, write more, Milan.

Pikasho Deka

The First To Tell is a dark comedy thriller by multi-award-winning author Milan Sergent. After hosting a disastrous retirement party, Cooper Pearmain, a former intellectual property lawyer, and his wife Lilibet, a washed-up Hollywood starlet living on past laurels, search in vain for the person who leaked their antics on social media. Their undeserved blame falls on a young couple named John and Ami Mayfield. Desperate to exact vengeance, Lilibet maneuvers her husband into inviting the Mayfields on a road trip to Las Vegas. Unaware of the Pearmains' hidden motives, John and Ami agree to accompany them on their journey to hell. With an ever-escalating series of chaotic events, the four of them find themselves embroiled in situations they could've never foreseen. Additionally, Cooper and Lilibet's dark secrets threaten to overwhelm John's and Ami's lives.

This is the third book I've read by Milan Sergent, and it feels like he's only gotten better with each outing. The First To Tell resembles a Coen Brothers screenplay in a novelized format. With narcissists bound together in a dysfunctional marriage, Sergent showcases how their inherent selfishness and lack of self-awareness ropes in innocent people who have to bear the brunt of their vile acts. Lilibet is a force of nature. Her constant scheming and nagging, as well as her attempts to keep her husband under her thumb, are simultaneously appalling and hilarious. Cooper, henpecked all his married life, finally standing up for himself was immensely satisfying to read. If you're a fan of dark comedies, you don't want to miss out on The First To Tell.

Rabia Tanveer

The First To Tell by Milan Sergent is a dark comedy with spiteful spouses with secrets and a penchant for making the other’s life hell. Cooper and Lilibet don’t have a good marriage, there is no love and there are no mutual benefits that tie them together. It is actually secrets that keep the couple together; fear that the other might reveal their darkest secret to the world. So, the couple tries to cope and channel their frustrations through very public feuds. However, they have no idea that their secrets are not safe and neither of them will get the satisfaction of exposing the other. Their new acquaintances are ready to expose both Lilibet and Cooper unless they do something about it!

I love how author Milan Sergent teases his readers with a hint of what would happen toward the end and then blindsides them with something completely different yet unique. The leading couple, Cooper and Lilibet, cannot stand each other, their relationship is just on the edge of being abusive. Cooper and Lilibet have a serious co-dependent relationship. Milan Sergent created a dark comedy in which the couple’s abusive words and antics created a chaotic environment that neither of them could escape. The narrative style is humorous without being over the top. John and Ami were a complete contrast to Cooper and Lilibet, and that created a little competition. The pace is fast, the story is cohesive, and the descriptions carry the story’s development forward. The First to Tell is a complete package filled with humor, an impressive plot, vivid characters, and an exciting story - all signatures of Milan Sergent!