Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

I first read “I See You” by Clare Mackintosh and loved the creepy suspense she effortlessly created, so when I saw she had another book out it was an auto-buy for me, as I wanted to see if she could replicate her impressive writing style. I was not disappointed, not that I thought I ever would be. There is no link between the books, no series or follow on here, which is refreshing having each new book as a standalone story to get immersed in. By page 15 of โ€œLet Me Lieโ€ I was hooked.

This book discusses complex themes including suicide, mental health, domestic abuse, alcoholism and family. Memory and perception of memories features heavily and that is mainly down to grief, but also how children are shielded from adult events. Grief affects people in many different ways, and Clare has written “Let Me Lie” with sympathy in all the right places, but it doesn’t overpower the story. I would categorise this as a family-orientated thriller because it has a small number of characters, and although it is written from multiple ‘Points of View'(POV) it stays succinct and relative. Sometimes when books involve too many characters it becomes sprawling and hard to keep track of, but this is a contained and piercing mystery thriller.

Anna, the daughter of the 2 supposed suicide victims, has a baby of her own, and whilst I don’t have any experience of motherhood (nor do I have any plans to) I found her responses and actions natural and I can imagine them striking a chord with mothers. Gut instinct is an inexplicable feeling but being a combination of mind and body, it creates this definitive belief, or disbelief, and Anna’s determination reflects that she needs answers to questions. The process of involving the police figure is interesting, and Murray’s personal life adds another dimension to this story-line. I liked that this wasn’t a typical detective thriller; you are very much reading about the people themselves, not just the crime(s) and how the investigator does their job to figure it out.

The character of Murray and his narration will break your heart. I admit my emotions got the better of me in a few places in this book. Overwhelming sadness and love course through every page of this book, but I found some parts especially got to me. As each twist comes you distinctly find yourself distrusting certain characters, but then there’ll be a counterargument and you’re kept on your toes between feeling like there’s something not right and having it explained. You are in this fast paced ping pong match and I liked that the action stayed close by, in a local setting between a small number of people. Made it feel real. Because this does happen; people do feel convinced that suicides aren’t what they seem and may involve foul play. But looking deeper into the lives of people you love may not give you the answers you’re looking for… or it may raise questions about how well you really knew them.

This book is also very clever in the way that it leads you to a crossroads, dropping crumbs all the way along about which way it’s going to turn, then at the last second, swerve a different way. I just could not guess the twists, and by about halfway through I stopped trying to guess and just enjoyed reading and following the plot. I let the waves of shock roll over me, then relax in the serene floating moments, all the while tensed for the next big wave. The deception and misdirection is delicious. The entwined lives of the characters make you look at your own life and wonder how far would you go to help someone escape a life that put them in danger? Be prepared for a rocky and emotional ride, but this is a must-read. It is harrowing and will leave you potentially grief-stricken, but so worth it to find out the truth. Or what we’re told is the truth… just because the pages ended, doesn’t mean the story has reached it’s conclusion… – GJ

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