Let Me Lie

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

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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To be honest, I think I just need to stop reading thriller right now. They are all blending together. I am constantly looking for the thriller that stands out in the crowd but very few do these days. This one was fine and would be great for someone who reads only a few books a year. Well written, just not surprising to me. Thank you for the opportunity to read it.
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Full disclosure: I’m already a huge fan of Clare Mackintosh’s books. I loved I Let You Go and I See You, so I was anxious to dive into this one. Mackintosh is a master of misdirection, and it’s on full display here.

Anna Johnson is a new mom to eight-week-old Ella, and it wasn’t a planned pregnancy. In fact, it was even more of a shocker since the father is Mark Hemmings, her few-years-older boyfriend who was also her grief counselor—the one she saw after both of her parents, Tom and Caroline, committed suicide: her father 19 years ago, and her mother seven months after that. It’s something she’s had a hard time coping with, and she’s had to reconcile this with the joy that has come with having sweet little Ella. She’s very aware of the sometimes-intractable nature of grief.

I stopped seeing a therapist when I realized all the talking in the world wasn’t going to bring back my parents. You reach a point where the pain you feel inside is simply sadness. And there’s no cure for that.

Grief is complicated. It ebbs and flows and is so multifaceted that unpacking it makes my head hurt. I can go for days without crying, then barely be able to breathe for the sobs that rack my body. One moment I’ll be laughing with Uncle Billy about something stupid Dad once did; the next I’ll be filled with rage for his selfishness. If Dad hadn’t killed himself, Mum wouldn’t have done either.

When she receives a card that says “Happy Anniversary!” on the front and “Suicide? Think again.” on the inside, she’s shocked—and convinced that someone is trying to tell her that her parents didn’t commit suicide, that it’s possible they were murdered. Anna is in a tough position. She’s grieving and suspects that something gnarly is going on, but no one really wants to hear her claims that her parents might have been murdered. Especially her boyfriend. After all, she’s just the sad, hysterical woman reaching for impossibility because she’s in denial of reality, right?

Luckily, there is someone that’s willing to listen, but his power is, shall we say, limited. Murray Mackenzie is a former detective who is technically retired, but he loves the work and now mans the front desk for the Lower Meads Police Station. There are no detectives available when Anna comes in to report the letter, so he doesn’t see the harm in hearing her out. He soon reveals himself to be an inquisitive, sensitive sounding board. He also sees a kindred spirit in Anna.

Some people found shared experiences a lifeline. They thrived in group therapy sessions, walking out stronger and better equipped to deal with their emotions. A problem shared…

But suicide support groups didn’t help everyone.

They hadn’t helped Murray.

“I saw a grief counselor.”

“Did it help?”

“I had a baby with him.” Anna Johnson gave a half sob, half laugh. Murray found himself laughing with her.

“Well, that does sound quite helpful.”

The tears had slowed. Anna’s smile was weak, but steady. “Please Mr. Mackenzie. My parents didn’t commit suicide. They were murdered.” She pointed at the torn-up card. “And this proves it.”

It didn’t prove it. It didn’t prove anything.

But it did ask a question. And Murray had never been one to ignore an unanswered question. Perhaps he could take a look himself. Pull out the original files, read through the coroner’s reports. And when—if—there was something to investigate, he could hand over the package. He had the skills, after all. Thirty years on the job, and the best part of that on CID. You didn’t hand in your knowledge along with your warrant card.

Murray knows something of grief: his beloved wife, Sarah, has borderline personality disorder (BPD) and has been in and out of treatment clinics for most of their marriage. She’s also tried to commit suicide many times. Murray will do just about anything for her, and his relationship with his beautiful, troubled wife is one of the highlights of this book. She also is a valuable contributor to the case; she often sees things that Murray doesn’t, and he doesn’t hesitate to share with her in hopes of reaching an understanding that has thus far eluded him.

Of course, the letters Anna is getting are frightening, but not as frightening as when she finds a dead rabbit with its entrails pulled out on her porch. There’s blood everywhere, far more than would come from a little rabbit. Infuriatingly, Mark chalks it up to a fox, and before Anna can take photos, he cleans up the mess! Mark is frustrating—he seemingly means well but never really takes Anna seriously. That is until a brick comes sailing through the window of Ella’s nursery.

Of course, while Murray is digging into the clues, so is Anna. She begins to go through her mother’s things and finds information that just doesn’t add up. And on the peripheral, someone seems to be watching Anna. Mackintosh is a pro at cranking up the tension, and she’s a stickler for detail. Anna’s emotional highs and lows are very natural, and she rounds out a cast of fully realized characters with motivations that, while sometimes twisted, flesh out the narrative as opposed to just propelling it. If you haven’t picked up a book by this stellar writer, now’s the time.
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This seemed like a story I would like; however I could not finish it.   I could not connect to the main character Anne (whose name I just struggled to remember!), and the other characters felt stilted.  I could not focus past a few sentences, and often would have to go back and reread what was there.   I would not discourage anyone from reading the story, it just did not grab my attention.     Maybe I will again later!
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Mackintosh always knows how to amp up the suspense as Anna, a young woman whose parents committed separate, identical suicides, starts receiving clues that cause her to rethink their deaths in a new light. There are plenty of twists, for the most part well-earned, that make readers keep flipping the pages to find out what happens next.
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WARNING: Don't read this at bedtime unless you're ready to lose sleep. 

This one got me hooked from beginning to end. Clare Mackintosh once again delivered a twisty, twisted, tragic tale that's suspenseful and struck terror in me as every secret is revealed. CM is fast becoming a must-read author for me.
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