Let Me Lie

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

LOTS of twists and turns in this one and by the time I finished I felt like I had ridden a roller coaster. And that last sentence--Hooboy!

Thanks to the publisher for the advance digital reading copy.
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I am a big fan of Clare Mackintosh and she did not disappoint with this book. In this day and age of the "big twist" and the "unreliable narrator", Mackintosh stands out for me.

The author kept me with her on this ride and I went through several possible scenarios without ever being right.  I know some readers don’t care for endings such as the one in this story, but I have never shied away from them (deliberately vague)
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Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh is one of those books that is so hard to describe without giving away too much. Anna is struggling with the first anniversary of her mother's suicide, one that came only a few months after that of her father. She can't understand why they would choose to leave her in this way, especially now that she is a mother herself. When she receives a card in the mail implying that her mother's death was not actually suicide, Anna latches on to the possibility that her mother didn't voluntarily leave her and is determined to solve her murder.

I keep typing and deleting my comments on this book because I really don't want to give away anything. It is so fun to read and so full of twists and turns and dark alleyways. Every character is suspect, every event seems true and false at the same time, every page turn a new clue.
Argh! I want to tell you so much more, but I just can't!

This book was fantastic and one of the best suspense novels I've ever read and I think you'll really love it, too.
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I wanted to love Let Me Lie. I’ve read Clare Mackintosh’s other two books and loved them so I was excited when I heard about this book. The story is a slow burn, which isn’t a bad thing, but I didn’t find myself quickly turning the pages. I was expecting more from the plot and felt like it was a little too predictable for me. I will say that the twist at the end totally shocked me though! I actually went back and re-read some of the pages and then discussed what happened with other bookstagrammers. Clare has this amazing ability to shock readers with crazy twists and I always look forward to this aspect of her writing. She is an incredible writer and I will always read what she writes. Unfortunately this was my least favorite of her books, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a well-written story. 

Thank you Berkley Pub for the advanced copy and to NetGalley for the digital copy. It was my pleasure to write an honest review.
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Cleverly created, superbly written mystery. Lots going on, baby, lover, dead parents, and somebody to "stir the pot".
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Great psychological thriller! Is Anna losing it or is she really seeing her mother who committed suicide and is Laura really the friend she says she is?
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Great psychological thriller, even though I saw all of the twists coming from a mile away. Book still kept me very interested and it was a fast paced read.
I thought that Anna was a bit melodramatic and had lots of sympathy for Murray and his gentle handling of her hysteria. Some of the drama just seemed a little far fetched, but overall the resolution to the deaths was very satisfying.
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I really did enjoy this read. It gives you lots of twists and turns I didn't see coming which to me is a good sign of a book since most novels these days you can tell where things are headed.
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☆☆☆.5 - I liked this one. Some aspects of the story I really enjoyed and others were just okay for me. There were moments, toward the beginning in particular, that I was a little confused as to what type of story this was trying to be. Thinking back on those early chapters, I am still a little confused by them. A literary sleight of hand perhaps; they got your brain going in one direction which, at least for me, ended up being flipped completely on its head. The book follows multiple perspectives but the two main perspectives ones being, Anna and Murray. Anna is a young woman who recently lost both parents to suicide. Murray, is a semi-retired criminal investigator, who ends up looking into Anna's parents suicides when she begins to suspect that foul play may have been involved.

There were plenty of twists and turns in this and the end in particular was so wild in bordered on ridiculous. This being said, ridiculously far-fetched plot points aside, it was also wildly entertaining. It did keep me engaged the whole way through; I was particularly drawn to the chapters from Murray's perspective. Although his chapters were not as wrought with turmoil as Anna's, there was something very relatable and likable about his character and experiences. I also liked the way this book took classic societal gender roles and challenged them; it challenged what the reader would typically expect to happen. I really enjoyed that actually. I felt like someone had played a trick on me which made it very unique!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, and NetGalley, for providing me with an opportunity to read this book and provide my feedback. I had some fun with it and really look forward to checking out other reader's reviews now that I am done!
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I'm of two minds about this book: It really did keep my attention and I was totally invested in how it turned out, but there were some significant things that I didn't really like about it.

The main character is Anna Johnson, who lost both parents to copycat suicides a year ago, and now lives with her partner and newborn daughter in her family home. On the anniversary of her mother's death, she receives a card that implies that not everything about the deaths is what they seem. With the help of a retired police detective, Anna finds that what looks like straightforward suicides, might not be so straightforward after all.

The mystery itself is super intriguing, because at first it's not entirely clear if something odd is going on or if Anna, in her grief, is losing her mind, so to speak. Then things get really intense, really quickly. I was excited to see how everything worked out. (I'm trying for no spoilers here). I wish some of the details had been adjusted somewhat.

Overall, I would say that I did enjoy this book. I was invested in it until the very end and have to say that the ending is very good. But I did have some problems with it, so read with caution. If you like things tied up nicely and paced evenly - maybe try another book.
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Let Me Lie was entertaining, however I would call it a mystery rather than a psychological thriller. There are three points of view reflected, that of the heroine who doesnt believe her parents committed suicide, the retired detective that takes an interest, and an unidentified voice.  That technique might have made it interesting if the heroine had been a more complete character. I found her to be rather two dimensional  and didnt really connect to her angst.  Clare Mackintosh used the red herring of the unidentified narrator well, and there are quite a few twists and turns to the story.  The pacing seemed choppy to me, the middle slowed down and I almost didnt finish. I'm glad I kept with it, because once the third narrator is revealed, the story heats up again. 
All in all, an entertaining beach read, but not a thriller for my taste.
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As always Clare Mackintosh does not fail to impress with her writing style. While I have preferred some of her previous novels I still enjoyed this book. It had the perfect dose of mystery and suspense. I look forward to reading more
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Clare Mackintosh does it again! We have read and reviewed three of her books and one is better than the next! Her talent for several crazy plot twists is fabulous! I finished this book in under two days.
I can’t even imagine how Anna must have felt coming to the realization that maybe her parents deaths were not suicide. Her life was turned upside down with one letter. It read “Suicide, think again”! Now she’s on a mission to get to the bottom of how her parents died and if someone else was involved.
But then she finds out some important information that makes her realize maybe it isn’t such a good idea to pry anymore! Will her life be in danger? How about her beautiful little daughter, Ella? Wha will she do to make sure her family is safe?
TRUST NO ONE!!! 5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ we loved it!
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Anna’s parents unexpectedly committed suicide months apart, and though she has moved on, starting a family of her own, she has always felt there was something off about their deaths. As she begins to dig into the past, she begins to get threats, telling her to stop or else. But Anna can’t let it go, and her digging is going to change her life in unimaginable ways. 

Immediately after finishing Clare Mackintosh’s first novel I Let You Go, I knew I would be reading whatever she wrote next (and I’ve been fortunate enough to receive galleys of all of her books to date!). With Let Me Lie, I’m now three books in, and still looking forward to her next! 

I’m not going to fib: her first book is still my favorite.  But, as is the case with all of her work so far, Let Me Lie is extremely clever, twisty turny, and even a bit maddening. And yet it doesn’t feel like the other books. In fact, one of the things I love most about Ms. Mackintosh’s books is how different they feel from each other. They aren’t formulaic; you don’t get that feeling of déjà vu (haven’t I read a story just like this recently?). Admittedly, I had this one figured out about a third of the way through, at least at a very high level, but the background, the why of it all? That threw me for a loop. Naturally, I can’t explain why without *spoilers*, so…

All I can say is, read it. It is everything you’d expect from Clare Mackintosh: insanely clever, surprising, and entertaining. What more could you want?
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3.5 - I read this as an ebook, which always seems to make it harder to track back and forth on the details; a quick read but not as riveting as I Let You Go
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It was hard to get caught up in this one. I wanted to love it and not be able to put it down, but it didn't quite make it there. Good author, good read, but it fell short of amazing and it would not be the first one I recommend.
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A page-turner, but not as strong as "I Let You Go." Anyone who's read Mary Higgins Clark's debut, "Where are the Children" will figure out the first big plot twist.
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I've read Mackintosh's other novels and enjoy the suspense that she builds up through the novels she writes. To me, this one felt a little predictable and even though there were several big twists, it didn't wow me.
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Sales figures for books in the digital age can be tricky. That’s because independently published e-books can sell quite well without making a great deal of money for the author or affecting print sales at all. And that matters because ebook sales continue to decline, which means print sales continue to lead market trends. When it comes to determining what sells most, figures vary. According to Nielsen BookScan, which bases their data on number of sales, the most popular books in 2015 were general adult fiction followed by romance and suspense/thrillers. According to Statistica the most popular genre is thrillers, and according to Publishers Weekly romance is seeing a steady decline while thrillers are seeing a steady uptick.  Statistics also tell us that women read more fiction than men and that we are the primary readers for mystery and romance.

All that math is my lead in to an important point: Women drive the fiction market and we love romance and mystery almost equally. Which leads to point number two: Several reviewers last year stated that their romance reading was nowhere near as satisfying in 2017 as their mystery/thriller reading had been. So – just what drives us to seek mystery/thriller stories? The internet is full of articles listing various theories but for me the answer is simple: they make for good reads. I turned to fellow reviewer Shannon, who routinely covers a great deal of mystery and suspense books for our site, to discuss this emerging trend and touch on what it means to us as readers.

MB: I can’t really remember what my very first thriller was. Would Mary Stewart count? I just know I have always read a lot of mystery and a lot of romance and it just varies by year as to what I read more. What about you? Do you remember your first thriller/mystery/suspense novel? Have you always read both genres?

SD: Romantic suspense was my introduction to the world of mysteries and thrillers. I have fond memories of devouring things like Tami Hoag’s Night Sins, Iris Johansen’s Long After Midnight, and Nora Roberts’ Divine Evil. Those books managed to satisfy my need for a happy ending as well as my love for an excellent puzzle. Over the years, I’ve become less enamored of the romantic suspense out there, and I’ve found myself reading more and more straight-up mysteries and/or thrillers.

MB: My favorite authors moving to mystery from romantic suspense forced me to make the move, for which I am very grateful. You’ve reviewed a very impressive fifty-plus books this year so far, almost half of which were mysteries. I’ve reviewed only nine mysteries so far, although I have read twelve. I noticed that you’ve read a mix of male and female authors, where I’ve exclusively read female authors. In fact, I look for that because I’ve found that books by women revolve more around the mystery than the violence. Do you feel there is any difference, or do you have a preference at all?

SD: When I’m choosing my next read, I tend to pay more attention to the plot of the book than to its author. It turns out that I still end up reading more books by women authors, but I’m not sure that’s a purposeful thing. I want the authors I read to tell believable stories filled with relatable characters, and I’ve found both male and female authors that do that very well. Of course, I’ve also run across authors of both genders who do this very poorly, but that’s a topic for another day.

MB: My reading has also skewed British recently. Again, I think it is the issue of focus on the intellectual or emotional aspect of the mystery by British authors against reveling in the more violent aspect of the mystery, which I feel Americans tend to do. For example, Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh had some eerie moments in it, but I found the heroine very sympathetic and I didn’t at any point feel overwhelmed by any graphic imagery within the novel. On the other hand, I still get icked out when I think of some of the scenes from Courtney Evan Tates’ Such Dark Things. Nordic mysteries, made popular by The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tend to be violently intellectual but unemotional. I don’t mean to say that what happens in British mysteries or Nordic mysteries is any different from what happens in an American one. There are violent acts in all three. It is where the focus of the book lies that I find the difference. What about you? Do you find you have a preference between British, Nordic or American authors or do you enjoy all three?

SD: I’m becoming more and more convinced that no one can write psychological thrillers like the British. There’s something about the atmosphere, the wit, and the focus on the unpredictability of the human psyche that I am really drawn to. Oddly though, I’m not a fan of other types of British mysteries. I adore American-based police procedurals, even though some of them can be pretty violent at times. It’s not that British mysteries aren’t violent, because some of them certainly are, but they don’t tend to focus on every single detail of the violence the way certain American authors do. As for Nordic mysteries, I’m afraid I’m just not a fan. I find them dry and hard to relate to. Of course, if someone can recommend a great one to me, I’m perfectly willing to give it a try.

MB: I totally agree regarding British Psychological thrillers! The emerging dominance of that genre, which many claim began with Gone Girl, has been wonderful for me.  Many of my favorite reads recently have been in this subgenre. What attracts me to these books is the subtle sense of being on very shaky ground. We can’t really trust our narrator as it is clear from the start of the story that they may either be mentally ill or the guilty party behind the mess. What are your thoughts about this subgenre?

SD: Psychological thrillers are my catnip, and I tend to agree that they owe their popularity to Gone Girl. There was something so shocking about that particular book, something I hadn’t encountered up to that point, and it sucked me in and refused to let me go. I read that one in less than twenty-four hours, and I haven’t looked back ever since. Authors like Clare Mackintosh and Ruth Ware are among my favorites, and the more unreliable our narrator is, the better I like it.

MB: I love Mackintosh; I will definitely have to check out Ware. My own favorites are Colette McBeth, Sabine Durrant and Lisa Jewel. I’ve reviewed two of McBeth’s books for AAR – Precious Thing and The Life I Left Behind – and I cannot rave about them enough. This year I’ve noticed alcohol or drugs playing a greater part in the mysteries I’ve been reading. In Let Me Lie by Mackintosh, the heroine, whose parents have died, finds bottles of liquor hidden about their home and slowly comes to the realization that one of her parents had a drinking problem she had managed to ignore. Chris Bohjalian used the idea of impairment with chilling efficiency in his book The Flight Attendant. Mary Torjussen also used this trope in her novel The Girl I Used to Be. I’ll admit that I preferred the use of it in Let Me Lie to the use of it in The Girl I Used to Be.  Who do you feel used it most effectively?

SD: Drugs and alcohol are tricky for me. I often find it difficult to sympathize with characters who drink too much and let their lives fall apart as a result. I really enjoyed The Flight Attendant, but I did find myself growing frustrated by the heroine’s constant drinking. I found the use of alcohol more tolerable in Let Me Lie, mostly because it wasn’t the main character who had the drinking problem.

MB: I tend to agree. I don’t like when the characters drunkenness, even if it isn’t habitual, is what drives the story.  Both Let Me Lie and The Girl I Used to Be utilized another trope effectively which is one I call “cat and mouse”.  In both those tales, the villain is playing a game with the heroine, ratcheting up the suspense factor by luring them into a position where the ultimate purpose of their interactions comes to an explosive reveal. A variant of it is used in Lisa Jewel’s Then She Was Gone. How does that trope compare for you with say a straight police procedural approach or a historical/research approach such as the one used by the heroine in The Lost Girls? I’ll admit I like them all but have found myself preferring the cat and mouse trope in this year’s novels.

SD: I love a good cat-and-mouse book, but I’m also kind of picky about them. It’s very common for villains to come off as cartoonish or over the top, and that ruins the book for me. I don’t want to roll my eyes whenever the villain makes a move. I want the menace to feel real to me. Fortunately, a ton of authors are doing this well these days, so I’m in book heaven. Police procedurals are great too, but I’ve definitely gravitated more toward the cat-and-mouse style of mystery.

MB: Let Me Lie, The Girl I Used to Be, Then She Was Gone and The Lost Girls all had strong female protagonists who worked outside law enforcement tackling personal mysteries on their own. In real life I am not sure how I feel about vigilantes but in suspense novels, I tend to love them. I’m not saying I don’t love a good police procedural – I do. But I tend to prefer mysteries (in books) that are solved by civilians.  What are your thoughts on that subject?

SD: This is a tough one. I like when civilians are working to untangle mysteries in their personal lives, but they have to be savvy about it. I don’t want to read about clueless people doing foolish things and needlessly putting themselves in danger. I just don’t have the patience for that. I suppose this is why I’m not a fan of cozy mysteries. Police procedurals tend to feel a little more authentic to me, but there is something very appealing about a wife, mother, sister, or best friend searching for some deeply hidden truth.

MB: Oh, I agree. The character needs to have a personal connection to the mysteries. There isn’t much suspense in a crime that can be solved by the local baker! These four novels also dealt with cold cases. I enjoy that because I love the idea of justice triumphing in the end. Do you like cold case novels? What draws you to them?

SD: I do enjoy cold case novels. Then She Was Gone was one of the very best I’d read in a while. I’m drawn to stories about people coming to terms with their pasts, and those pasts often include some kind of crime. If the protagonist has a personal stake in learning the truth, I’m completely on board, but, if it’s something like a detective working on a cold case he or she has no real connection with, I sometimes lose interest. I love books that allow us to come to a better understanding of the human condition, and cold case novels are surprisingly good at doing this. Elisabeth Carpenter’s 99 Red Balloons was remarkable in this way. It’s not one I reviewed for the site, but it’s a British mystery everyone should read.

MB: I bought a copy awhile ago. I will have to move that up on my exceedingly long list of To Be Read books.

I could talk about this for hours and I’m pretty sure you could too, but we’ll leave it her for now. We’ll have to do this again – and then again at the end of the year and tell everyone what our favorites were.
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Anna doesn't believe that her parents died via suicide. She is adamant that they were murdered. A year after the cases closed, she receives a message that changes everything. Seeking help from retired investigator Murray, the dangers of not letting things lie will become clear.

So, I really love Clare Mackintosh's writing of psychological thrillers. She writes a compelling read with lots of twists and turns. While there are definitely some that you can see coming, there's always one or two small curveballs at the end that I really enjoy. Definitely recommend for the writing and plot.
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