THIS IS HOW I LIED
Harlequin Park Row have very kindly given me access to the ARC of This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf and asked me to participate in their official BLOG TOUR! It's out TODAY (12th May) so I'll start by telling you all about the book and the author and then I'll dive in with my review.
With the eccentricity of Fargo and the intensity of Sadie, THIS IS HOW I LIED by Heather Gudenkauf (Park Row Books; May 12, 2020; $17.99) is a timely and gripping thriller about careless violence we can inflict on those we love, and the lengths we will go to make it right, even 25 years later.
Tough as nails and seven months pregnant, Detective Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe of Grotto PD, is dreading going on desk duty before having the baby her and her husband so badly want. But when new evidence is found in the 25-year-old cold case of her best friend’s murder that requires the work of a desk jockey, Maggie jumps at the opportunity to be the one who finally puts Eve Knox’s case to rest.
Maggie has her work cut out for her. Everyone close to Eve is a suspect. There’s Nola, Eve’s little sister who’s always been a little... off; Nick, Eve’s ex-boyfriend with a vicious temper; a Schwinn riding drifter who blew in and out of Grotto; even Maggie’s husband Sean, who may have known more about Eve’s last day than he’s letting on. As Maggie continues to investigate, the case comes closer and closer to home, forcing her to confront her own demons before she can find justice for Eve.
Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running.
I haven’t read any previous novels by Helen Gundenkauf before and as I picked it up and saw the ‘other books by’ at the start I was a little worried that this might be part of a series. I needn’t have worried though, This Is How I Lied is a standalone and a great one at that. The story is set in the small town of Grotto and I really enjoyed the slightly claustrophobic and incestuous feel of the town. As someone who left my hometown to go to Uni and now constantly travels around the country and the world for my job, I can’t imagine living with people you went to high school with at your doorstep. There’s a lot of scope for old secrets and people with a lot of leverage about the past and this is explored perfectly within the plot.
Our main character is Police Officer Maggie who is investigating the death of her best friend Eve which still haunts her 25 years later. New evidence has come to light and with Eve’s odd sister and primary suspect ex-boyfriend still in town, the stage is set for all past secrets to come to light. Maggie is pregnant with her first child and her relationship to the case make her a well-placed investigator but she is not without her flaws. Her character development is well-plotted and we really feel empathy for her character. The books jumps in perspective both from past to present but also to different characters such as Maggie, sister Nola and Eve herself. Nola is a very unique character – she’s somewhat of a psychopath; lacking empathy for others and is interested in anatomy which means she cuts open animals as a small child. There are also a lot of possible suspects but I didn’t really feel like any of them were obvious red herrings – in fact it had gotten to about 93% of the book and I still hadn’t really guessed who had committed the crime with any major certainty. There’s a pretty large twist halfway through the book that I didn’t really see coming either and it made all of the subsequent decisions made by one of the characters a whole lot more interesting.
There were however a few unanswered questions and events that I didn’t really feel were resolved. There was also quite a major plot hole that I realised as I put the book down for the final time which would have perhaps opened up some more leads in the case had it been explored from the start. These are only small niggles I have though – they didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed This Is How I Lied – it’s a really nicely paced and intriguing thriller which keeps you guessing all the way through. Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin – Park Row for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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