Cover Image: Simply Lies

Simply Lies

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Member Reviews

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC.

David Baldacci, the master storyteller behind bestsellers like “The 6:20 Man,” delivers another gripping psychological thriller.

Mickey Gibson, a single mother and former detective, leads a hectic life. She juggles the demands of her two small children with her job at ProEye, a global investigation company that hunts down wealthy tax and credit cheats. When Mickey receives an unusual request from her colleague Arlene Robinson, she thinks nothing of it—until she discovers a dead body in a secret room. The arms dealer she was supposed to investigate doesn’t exist, and the victim turns out to be Harry Langhorne, a man with mob ties who used to be in Witness Protection. Suddenly, Mickey is a prime suspect in a murder investigation, and her job is on the line. But the real danger lies in a brilliant woman with no name, a hidden past, and motives as mysterious as they are deadly.

Mickey Gibson is a relatable protagonist—a strong, flawed woman trying to balance motherhood and her career. The enigmatic antagonist adds layers of intrigue.

Just when you think you’ve figured out the plot, Baldacci throws in another curveball.

The tension-filled mansion, secrets, and hidden agendas create a palpable sense of danger.

While the pacing is generally good, some sections drag a bit. Tightening those would enhance the overall experience.

The intricate web of deception occasionally becomes confusing, requiring close attention.

“Simply Lies” is an exceptionally menacing, intricately woven, and highly entertaining mystery. Baldacci’s standalone novel introduces us to a world of deception, where nothing is as it seems. If you enjoy psychological thrillers with strong female leads, this one is worth diving into.

Fans of complex thrillers, complex female protagonists, and cat-and-mouse games should enjoy this book.

Read it if you liked: “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins.

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Hooray for a new standalone by one of my all-time favorite authors! David Baldacci, a master storyteller with 150 million copies sold worldwide, is back with Simply Lies, a psychological thriller that pits two formidable women against each other.

In this gripping tale, we meet Mickey Gibson, a single mother and former police detective who now works for ProEye, a global investigation company specializing in tracking down the financial assets of tax-evading elites. When Mickey receives a phone call from a colleague asking her to inventory the home of an arms dealer who has disappeared, she thinks it’s just another routine assignment. However, things take a dark turn when she discovers a murdered man on the property.Mickey finds herself framed for a crime she didn’t commit, and her job is on the line.

Baldacci weaves an intricate web of deception and suspense as Mickey races against time to clear her name. The novel is packed with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end. While I appreciated the complex plot and Baldacci’s portrayal of strong female characters, I couldn’t connect with Mickey or the writing style. The dialogue felt forced and didn't ring true to real-life conversations.

As a devoted Baldacci fan (I’ve devoured twenty-eight of his novels), Simply Lies may not be his best work, but it’s still a thrilling read. I found myself engrossed in the story, eager to unravel its secrets. Despite its flaws, Baldacci’s storytelling prowess shines through, making it a solid addition to his impressive body of work. I suspect I will read every book he writes. 4 stars.

** Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a comp of this book. The opinions are my own.

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“Life was a shell game. The winners could just hide the truth better than everybody else.”

This was a bit of a slow start for me. Probably because I started the book at the tail end of holiday activities so I was only able to read a little bit here and there. But once I got into it, it was more engaging.

I’m a fan of Baldacci’s books and apparently I haven’t read one in awhile. I don’t remember what kind of swearing his other books had— because I read him before I was really writing regular reviews—but this one had more swearing than I would like.


Simply Lies is the story of an ex-cop, cyber-sleuth, single-mom (Mick) being roped into a ‘treasure hunt’ by an unidentified caller (aka Arlene) who wants her to find the pile of money that was stolen from the mob years ago and whose owner has just been found murdered in one of his homes.

Mick has to maneuver the cryptic and manipulative Arlene, the cagey, hard-to-figure-out cop on the case, and the other mob-related players that want back what was taken. But which players are really out to harm her and which ones can she trust? Not everyone is who they say they are.

While this wasn’t the best Baldacci book I’ve ever read, I did enjoy it. It got a bit technical when talking crypto-currency and other cyber-sleuthing Mickey did, but I found it fairly easy to follow and it added in some extra layers to the complexity of the case.

I think I’d be interested in continuing the series to see what else Mickey gets up to.



Some reviewers have commented on Mick’s ‘stupidity’ in working on this case when she has two kids at home. That she’s selfishly looking for the thrill from her days as a cop instead of protecting her family from danger.

However, I would argue that I read it in the sense that working this case was really the only way to protect her family. She tried to get out of it, but the corrupt and powerful players in the hunt needed her expertise and would have continued to threaten her family until she helped them. And then she knew too much to just fade into the background. Plus her job was riding on proving her innocence and then her value to keep her job which provided for her family.

To me, both options were dangerous. That’s what made the stakes so high.

Other reviewers also seemed to get tired of the single-mom stuff in the book, but as a mom I found those parts relatable. Of course in real life you don’t typically find single-moms in dangerous and investigative roles for obvious reasons, but it was a unique type of character for a thriller and I liked it. While I can agree that the references to vomit were perhaps overdone, for the most part I felt like there was a good balance of showing her nurturing mother side and her joy in being a mom while also keeping the primary focus on the case and the dogged work she was doing to get herself out of the mess.



I was more bothered by a few other things. The writing on the wall that was found at the scene of the first murder said ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ Firstly, this didn’t really fit for me for a phrase a corrupt man would use as a mantra. And for what I believe it means, I don’t know if it really fit with the whole treasure hunt thing either. It just seemed out of place.

Secondly, Mick figured out the phrase was written by two different people because of handwriting analysis. Which is a significant plot point and clue for her, but why would two murderers make sure they both wrote half of the phrase on the wall? The only way that makes sense to me is if they were intentionally wanting to leave a clue, but they weren’t the ones who had placed riddles or puzzles for the money— the murdered man did.

Which leads me to another thing that bothered me- the murdered man really turned out to be quite a terrible and corrupt person. The whole, using substitution ciphers or planting clues and puzzles around just doesn’t jive with that type of character. It seems like if he can’t have his money, he wouldn’t want anyone else to either. Sure, he may have thought he was taunting people from the grave but then it would be an unsolvable cryptic message letting the people they had been ripped off and would never find it.

I know the Saw movies and the book A Killer’s Game show criminals who use puzzles to terrorize, but to me that’s a different kind of criminal than what the murdered man in this book was made out to be. It seems like two different personalities.

Lastly, I was bothered by the word ‘blouse’ at the end of the book. Because only grandmas say blouse instead of shirt. And even if someone did use the term blouse, they wouldn’t employ it when they are recounting the memory of when they were almost raped.



All that to say, other than the swearing, I think this is a pretty good thriller with a likable main character, a complex plot, and a satisfying ending.

It reminded me that I should go back and read more of Baldacci’s other series that I only read a couple books from. He’s written so many books that some may throw him into the James Patterson camp, but from what I’ve read so far, I think he’s elevated above Patterson and I’ll probably keep reading his books.


[Content Advisory: 10 f-words, 96 s-words; some sexual innuendo but in a detached sex-for-money kind of thing; trigger warning for child sexual abuse described while telling a memory and not in detail as the acts were happening, but still hard to read]

**Received an ARC via NetGalley**

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When I saw this Baldacci book I immediately knew I had to read it. I was excited to get in “on the ground floor” of a new series. This book had plenty of action, had twists and turns which is a must in a thriller, and the tension stayed high! I felt like I could relate to Mickey being a mother with toddlers and so that hooked me immediately. However, i did find myself lost at times but it all worked out in the end. It wasn’t my favorite Baldacci book but I enjoyed it.

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When I think of David Baldacci books I think action and suspense. While this book has these elements, it started off more like a cozy mystery and with a very unbelievable story line. I stuck with it and eventually action, crime and a huge cast of characters entered the picture. This book will keep you on your toes keeping everyone straight as their is quite the tangled web to work through to find out why Harry Langhorne was murdered.

I understand this is a stand alone story, but I would love to see a sequel with Mickey and Clarisse as I grew to like them the more they worked together.

Thank you NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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I am torn. I love David Baldacci, but this book didn't quite do it for me. It seemed to drag out in some places, and was convoluted in others. Nonetheless, it was well written and had strong characterization as usual.

ARC from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

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I was lucky to receive an advance copy of Simply Lies by David Baldacci from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review and opinion. Anything in my opinion by David Baldacci is a sure winner and this book does not disappoint. I loved everything about his writing style and all the twists and turns that keep you guessing what is going to happen up until the very last page. Do yourself a big favor and read this book as soon as you can.

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This is an excellent start to a new series by one of my favorite authors, David Baldacci. The characters are well developed and you are set on a story full of twists and turns. You do not know what to expect as you flip through the pages as fast as you can to see if you can help solve the murder mystery. I love how the author creates strong female characters but yet shows their weaknesses in a non-demeaning manner. He allows them to be real people with real life issues. Another fantastic gift of words by the author. I cannot wait for the next adventure in the Mickey Gibson series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

For more reviews, please visit my blog at: https://www.msladybugsbookreviews.com/. Over 1000 reviews posted!

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First and foremost, I’d like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and author for the complimentary DRC of Simply Lies in exchange for an honest review.

Regrettably, my honest review can’t be very complimentary.

It is promoted as a thriller. It is not.

The pacing is slow.

The characters are not likable and I was unable to engage with them.

The premise is interesting at first, but becomes very unrealistic, very quickly. The protagonist, as a responsible independent and single mother simply would not have played this cat and mouse game. Therefore, it is not authentic or plausible. It does not ring true.

The plot is complex to the point of being confusing-convoluted.

Out of respect for David Baldacci and his previous stellar published novels, I gave this 3 stars, albeit sparingly. It is nowhere near the quality of his other works. For real thrills and chills with suspenseful storylines with dynamic characters, read his earlier stand alone books or his series: JohnPuller, Will Robie, Amos Decker or my favorite, The Camel Club

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David Baldacci is one of my favorite authors!! I normally love his books but this one was disappointing. I thought I would like the storyline but I didn’t like Mickey the main character. I didn’t like how she kept trusting Francine and leaving her kids. It was hard to follow at times. I will continue to read his books just didn’t like this one
Thank you to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for the advanced copy in return for my honest review.

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Another great read from David Baldacci. Great, well developed characters, great pacing, and a great plot/story. Hopefully this will be another series from David Baldacci, since I definitely want to read more about Mickey Gibson. #SimplyLies #NetGalley

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Baldacci never disappoints. Simply Lies is a page turner, keeping me up well into the night reading this suspenseful mystery.

ARC was provided by NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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A former detective and a con artist face off against each other in David Baldacci'sd latest book, a psychological thriller from the author of The 6:20 Man. The book starts simply enough, pardon the pun, with single mother and former detective, Mickey Gibson working for ProEye, a private investigation company and tasked with visiting the house of a man they have been tracking for years. But soon she realizes that the woman who sent her on the quest is not what she seems, and is also not an employee of ProEye. And so begins a complex thriller full of twits and turns.
I did feel the first third of a the book was a little slow, biut it gained momentum the further in I got, and had enough twists and turns to keep me interested. The characters, especially Mickey, are well crafted, and the plot is tight.
All in all, a good standalone from Mr. Baldacci, and I'm looking forward to his next one. Five stars.

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Simply lies is a thriller featuring Micky Gibson a former New Jersey detective, and single mother of two. Micky currently works for ProEye a global investment company. Micky gets a call to to check out the home of a notorious arm dealer who has cheated some pf ProEye’s clients in the past. Micky arrives at the home to find a dead man in a secret room. Nothing is as it seems and puts Micky on a path of lies and deception…

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fast paced thriller that i couldn't put down

thanks to the publisher and netgalley for the copy for review

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Simply Lies by David Baldacci

This book has a marvelously complex plot. Baldacci leads us through a labyrinth of treachery and deceit. An asset retrieval specialist or cyber-sleuth ex-cop now a single mom, is dragged into the jealousy-motivated plot of a psychopath.
Gibson, an adrenaline junkie on a diet of mundane mommy tasks, finds her former love of excitement doesn’t compare to her love for her kids. Forced down another’s path she fights the allure of the chase with overwhelming fear for her children.

Populated with international criminal kingpins, abused children now adults, crooked cops, and vigilantes the book keeps the tension alive until the very last page.

Another hit from Baldacci that I highly recommend.

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David baldacci always delivers a great, suspenseful mystery. This was a really unique mystery and I really enjoyed it!

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Mickey Gibson has her hands full at home: a single mom with two small children, she also works remotely for ProEye, a global investigation company that hunts down wealthy individuals who try to skirt tax and finance laws. When Mickey takes a phone call from a work colleague that changes her life, will her future be at stake?

Having read most of David Baldacci's books, I was expecting more than what I ultimately got with Simply Lies. The book started slowly and predictably, making it difficult for me to push through. I liked the ending more than the beginning, but the plot and characterization were just average for me. Overall, if there was to be a second book featuring Mickey Gibson, I might pause before reading it.

Disclaimer: I was given an Advanced Reader's Copy by NetGalley and the publisher. The decision to read and review this novel was entirely my own.

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This book definitely didn't disappoint. I love David Baldacci books. I love his characters and plots. Grabs you from beginning to end. Love, loved this book.

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Try as I might, I just could not get into this Baldacci offerings I have read nearly everything the man has written. But this time I hit a wall. And try as I might, I could not get into this book. I may try again, but alas, it’s just didn’t do it for me.

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