Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Review: Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

Pub. Date: March 13th, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 384

Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Contemporary Fiction


The stunning new novel from Clare Mackintosh, the international bestselling author of I Let You Go and I See You.

The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They're both wrong.

Last year, Tom and Caroline Johnson chose to end their lives, one seemingly unable to live without the other. Their daughter, Anna, is struggling to come to terms with her parents' deaths, unwilling to accept the verdict of suicide.

Now with a baby herself, Anna feels her mother's absence keenly and is determined to find out what really happened to her parents. But as she digs up the past, someone is trying to stop her.

Sometimes it's safer to let things lie....

What Did I Think About the Story?

Let Me Lie completely blew me away! While I've been reading a lot of really great psychological suspense/thriller/mystery books lately this one stood out for a number of reasons, first and foremost that it was more than just a page-turning thriller (which is great all on it's own!). It also had this wonderful look at mental illness and love and sacrifice, themes that I haven't read in many other books of this nature.

The story is mainly told from two perspectives - Anna, a new mother who lost both her parents within the last year and a half and suspects that they did not commit suicide like everyone believes, and Murray, a retired detective who gets pulled into Anna's search for the truth of what happened to her parents. Interspersed with Anna and Murray's alternating chapters are short snippets from Anna's mother's viewpoint as she watches what unfolds from this place between her old life and what comes next, addressing her statements to her husband. I absolutely love this way of unfolding the story as you see how Anna and Murray both come to the various realizations at different points in time as well as see how they react and process these seemingly always shifting pieces of this complicated puzzle. Anna's mother, Caroline, lends a great spin as well, keeping you guessing as to what really happened to her and her husband while only telling portions of the whole story. And as revelation after revelation comes into the light the story shifts to someone else and the reader is left desperate to see what happens next.   

The part I enjoyed most about this story was seeing how mental health and addictions can effect people in different ways and trying to decipher how these aspects fit in with our various characters. When we first meet Anna she is still grieving the death of her parents while also dealing with the myriad of emotions that come from having a new baby. When she gets a card in the mail hinting that her parents might not have committed suicide, a card that everyone else dismisses as a cruel joke, the reader is left to wonder whether Anna's strong reaction is brought on by her grief or postpartum symptoms or something else entirely. We also learn, as she digs into her own past and that of her parents, that her memories of her childhood have been viewed through some pretty extreme rose-tinted glasses and that her parents were hiding some intense secrets, including potential alcoholism. In Murray's storyline we get to see his interactions with his wife, a woman who has suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder and who has been in and out of mental health facilities their entire  marriage. She has tried to commit suicide multiple times as well, so Murray is able to sympathize with Anna's situation and understands her difficulties coming to terms with what happened. Anna's partner happens to also be a psychologist and there are some mental health issues with some other characters as well. This theme weaves all through Let Me Lie and, for me, took it to another level of interest, not only for the thrills it elicited but for the touching and sometimes heartbreaking scenes between Murray and his wife.

Something else I very much enjoyed was seeing the behind the scenes work that goes into being a detective. There are so many hoops and steps that need (or should) be followed and it's fascinating to see how detectives follow clues and use their instincts to solve crimes. I believe I read that Clare Mackintosh was actually a police officer before becoming a writer and you can see that when reading the details in Murray's portions of the story.

There are just so many twists and turns within Let Me Lie that there was no way I was going to be able to predict where this story was headed. When I thought I'd have something figured out there would be another turn and my head would be left spinning. The final reveal, within the final lines of the novel, left  me flipping back through pages to make sure I was understanding what I was reading. If you like suspense and thrills, combined with wonderfully developed and complicated characters, you will find much to love in this novel!

What Did I Think About the Cover?

I really like this cover, especially since it represents such an important part of the story. Beyond that, the contrast between the cold, stark background and the bright red of the title is definitely eye catching.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

I received a free copy of Let Me Lie as part of a Goodreads giveaway, so thank you Goodreads and Berkley, Penguin Random House! All opinions are mine alone. To find more information about the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase your own copy, see Goodreads HERE.

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