All the Beautiful Lies

All the Beautiful Lies

by Peter Swanson

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From the acclaimed author of Her Every Fear and The Kind Worth Killing comes a diabolically clever tale of obsession, revenge, and cold-blooded murder—a sly and brilliant guessing game of a novel in the vein of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Patricia Highsmith.

Harry Ackerson has always considered his stepmother Alice to be sexy and beautiful, in an "otherworldly" way. She has always been kind and attentive, if a little aloof in the last few years.

Days before his college graduation, Alice calls with shocking news. His father is dead and the police think it’s suicide. Devastated, Harry returns to his father’s home in Maine. There, he and Alice will help each other pick up of the pieces of their lives and uncover what happened to his father.

Shortly after he arrives, Harry meets a mysterious young woman named Grace McGowan. Though she claims to be new to the area, Harry begins to suspect that Grace may not be a complete stranger to his family. But she isn’t the only attractive woman taking an interest in Harry. The sensual Alice is also growing closer, coming on to him in an enticing, clearly sexual way.

Mesmerized by these two women, Harry finds himself falling deeper under their spell. Yet the closer he gets to them, the more isolated he feels, disoriented by a growing fear that both women are hiding dangerous—even deadly—secrets . . . and that neither one is telling the truth.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062427076
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/03/2018
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 24,652
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Peter Swanson is the author of three novels: The Girl With a Clock For a Heart, an LA Times Book Award finalist; The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; and his most recent, Her Every Fear. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science FictionThe Atlantic MonthlyMeasureThe GuardianThe Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine. A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife.

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All the Beautiful Lies 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. I couldn’t put it down. I’ve become a fan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have enjoyed all the author's books. He certainly knows how to twist a story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it. A little unreal at times but interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Short and sweet. Buy it, read it, love it!!!! So many authors of today pump out a book each month. I'll take quality over quanity any day!! Thank you Mr Swanson for for another wonderful story!!!!!!
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars All The Beautiful Lies is the fourth novel by American author, Peter Swanson. Twenty-two-year-old Harry Ackerson is about to graduate from college when his step-mother, Alice rings to tell him his father has unexpectedly died. He heads straight to Maine, overcome with grief. But an autopsy finds that Bill Ackerson was murdered. The bookshop owner had no enemies: who would have wanted him dead? The widow, though, is acting a little strangely. Perhaps it’s her reaction to grief. Or perhaps his own grief is altering his perception. Then Harry meets Grace, a young lady who attended his father’s service, and the story she tells just doesn’t ring true. Swanson uses four narrative strands and two time periods to set up this clever thriller. It spans some twenty years, features a few red herrings, a great twist, an exciting climax and a surprise ending, by which time seven characters have met their death due to drowning, choking or being hit on the head with a cosh. The callous behaviour of some of those characters will surely leave the reader gasping. Swanson makes his characters all the more believable by allowing them to lead normal lives for many years and only commit evil when the situation warrants it. Alice demonstrates the best way to get away with lying: keep telling yourself the preferred version of events until you actually believe it, after which it’s easy to be convincing. Sometimes this will require a fair bit of rationalising, something at which Jake is also an expert, to eliminate any feelings of guilt. Swanson’s fourth novel is certainly a page-turner and just a few inconsistencies and some odd sentence structure, which should have been picked up by a good editor, prevent this from being a five-star read. Compelling crime fiction. With thanks to Allen and Unwin for this uncorrected proof copy to read and review
Anonymous 17 days ago
All the beautiful lies. Excellent read...finished in two was a page turner..
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
All the Beautiful Lies is a suspenseful read, but take it at face value. If you try to analyze the characters and the story, it may cause you to enjoy it less. I am glad I read this before reading all the reviews because I might not have read it after. I enjoyed the story and read it quite quickly to find out what would happen next. There were a lot of twists in the story, some that were quite surprising. When Harry Ackerson gets a phone call from his step-mother, Alice, telling him his father had died, he heads to Maine to help with the funeral and the book store. What he finds out when he gets there, changes the way he thinks about his father. At first it was thought to be a suicide, but later it is determined that it was murder. Even though beautiful, cold Alice appears to be grieving for Bill, Harry thinks there’s something not quite right about her. The narrative is told in two time periods referred to as then and now. We find out about Alice's past and how she ended up as a real estate agent married to Bill Ackerson. In then, the narrator is Harry and we find out about his father and what he is going through. My main issue with All the Beautiful Lies is that it felt a bit hollow. We find out about the past of the characters, but they still feel like shells to me. Even though the character development was not what I would have liked, I still enjoyed the book. I liked the idea of the book store and how books were so important in both Harry's and his father's life. It was nice to see that Harry used plots of mysteries he remembered that helped him to figure out what was really going on in the story. I will also say that the ending was not what I expected but it was karma. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Edelweiss.
mweinreich More than 1 year ago
3 disappointing stars There were lots of twists and turns in this story and for most of the time it held my interest. However, unfortunately, there were quite a few things that just did not make sense. The cast of characters staring with the stepmother Alice, was oftentimes an adventure in depravity. Alice and her step father Jake were incredibly awful deserving one another in more ways than one. Harry Akerson, the son of the man who was married to Alice, receives word that his father is dead. Leaving his graduation ceremony, Harry travels to Maine and confronts a number of things, his dad's death now a probably murder, the mystery that seems to surround his father who was conducting a possible affair with a younger girl who also is murdered, and his step mother, Alice who is a perfect stand in for the word psychopath. All of the incidents were quite strange and a lot of them just did not gel well. They seemed contrived and I really got that "eye rolling" motion going as the book continued. Many of the parts relayed in the story just seemed beyond belief, people coming together and making connections at the drop of a hat. I really thought that all of them who were affected by the murders seemed to brush them off and the quasi return to normalcy seemed to be quite far away from what reality tells us one experiences when a loved one dies. So, unfortunately for me, this book did not work all that well. I was not thrilled with any of the characters and even poor Harry, the son, did not elicit much in me. Perhaps the connection I was looking for in the characters never materialized although I did find Alice to be gruesomely fascinating. Thank you to Peter Swanson, Harper Collins, and Edelweiss for a copy of this novel for my review.
Samantha1020 More than 1 year ago
I went into this book knowing next to nothing about it other than I had enjoyed another book by this author previously. This book is completely different than The Girl With a Clock for a Heart (which is the 1st book that I read by this author) but just as good. I actually got a vibe similar to My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier when I was reading this one although yet again two completely different books. Maybe it was the haunting way that Alice is portrayed that reminded me of Rachel - that unreachable quality about both of them which had me as the reader questioning their intentions the entire time. The main difference though is that in this book the story switches back and forth from the present day to when Alice was a young girl. We may not know Alice's intentions in the current day but we do get the chance to learn more about her through reading about her experiences while growing up. Trigger warning that some of those experiences are disturbing and may not be for all readers. I felt like learning more about Alice explained so much but yet gave me so many questions as well. What I kept trying to figure out was how everything from Alice's past tied into Harry's father's death. I was so strangely compelled by this book even when I wasn't sure how I felt about the characters. I liked Harry well enough but some of his choices had me wanting to pull my hair out. This isn't your typical mystery or thriller - I felt like the focus was more on the characters and their intentions rather than on the actual mystery itself. What I really enjoyed though was the ending which was completely unexpected but yet felt so right. I won't say any more than that but if you've read this book - let me know so we can discuss! Overall after enjoying both of the books that I've read by this author so much I plan on catching up with the other books of his that I haven't yet read. I feel like this is a book that will stay with me for awhile just because it is so different from the other books that I've been reading. I'm eager to see what other readers think of this one because I just feel like some of it begs to be discussed. Like the ending for one! I appreciated that with this book I was so immersed in it even when I wasn't as focused on the mystery portion. Just the why's behind the characters and their actions had me hooked which is why I couldn't stop reading. I would recommend this one to readers who enjoy suspenseful reads and mysteries. A solid four out of five stars! Bottom Line: A book that lingered with me after I finished it! Disclosure: I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss. Honest thoughts are my own.
Windbigler More than 1 year ago
Another excellent book from Peter Swanson, one of the best new authors out there. I have read all four of his novels and they are all great!
Windbigler More than 1 year ago
Another excellent book from Peter Swanson, one of the best new authors out there. I have read all four of his novels and they are all great!
Windbigler More than 1 year ago
Another excellent book from Peter Swanson, one of the best new authors out there. I have read all four of his novels and they are all great!
the-traveling-inkwell More than 1 year ago
I'd heard nothing but great things about Peter Swanson's writing since I decided to read All the Beautiful Lies this month, and while it might be my first novel from him, I could tell very quickly that it certainly won't be my last. We follow Harry Ackerson as he returns home from college and attempts to unravel the truth behind his father's unexpected death. In doing so, he stumbles upon secrets that reveal that Bill Ackerson may not have been the man Harry thought he was and that there may be more to his stepmother, Alice, than meets the eye. The plot bounces between narrators and timelines, following Harry's probings in the present but also exploring the nuances of Alice's complicated past. I found both Harry and Alice to be incredibly well-rounded (albeit in very different ways), and while the plot was a bit of a slow burn, the character-driven writing had me enraptured from the start. Swanson has a wonderful talent for making his characters real and believable even when delving into the most discomforting of motives and desires. This book is dark and twisted, and its pages are stained by lust and manipulations of all forms. It's certainly a slow burn, but that's not to say it didn't keep me on the edge of my seat with questions the whole way through. Even if I found certain twists to be rather predictable, the focus on the characters and exploring the inner workings of their minds made it worth it. I had so much fun with All the Beautiful Lies and the uncomfortable themes it explores. Swanson poses the dangerous question of how well you truly know the people in your life, and it was chilling to watch the lengths to which these characters would go for misplaced love and loyalty. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more of Swanson's work in the future! Thank you to William Morrow for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All The Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson is a beautifully written mystery that smacks of Patricia Highsmith and Alfred Hitchcock. The twists and turns are unpredictable, tantalizing, and unbearable. All The Beautiful Lies is a siren that compels you to read and finish in one sitting. Harry Ackerson is a run of the mill college student who has just graduated. When his father dies unexpectedly, he rushes back to small-town Maine to reunite with his stepmother. Something does not ring quite true. Why is his stepmother so cloying? How did his father die? In addition, what is happening at the rare bookstore that his father ran with his part-time employee? Superficially, all is well, but is it? You MUST read this outstanding novel. It is great.
Twink More than 1 year ago
I would pick up All the Beautiful Lies on the cover alone - but it's Peter Swanson's writing and plotting that is the real draw for me. When Harry's father Bill dies, he travels back to Maine to the home Bill shared with his second wife Alice. Harry doesn't know Alice very well, but he feels obligated to stay with her right now. He does find Alice - and her behaviour - a bit unsettling. When the police reveal that Bill's death was not an accident, his unease increases.... All the Beautiful Lies unfolds in a then and now timeline. We get to to know Alice from her childhood through to current day. No spoilers, but there are reasons she makes Harry uneasy. Her chapters were decidedly unsettling. There is another 'past' POV from someone in Alice's life that adds much to why and who Alice is. Again, I don't want to reveal too much. The present is the investigation into Bill's death and Harry's POV. Oh, Swanson is a master of manipulating the reader. Just when you think you have things figured out, the story takes a sharp left. I honestly didn't see the first turn coming - or the ending twist. Another great read from Swanson.
mamalovestoread22 More than 1 year ago
Just on the cusp of college graduation Harry Ackerson receives word from home that his father has suddenly passed away, so rather than stick around for graduation, he heads home to bury his father and get some answers. Once he arrives home, he starts to dig into his father's death, and also starts to help his step-mother settle some things and learn how to adjust to being on her own. But somewhere along the way, lines start to get crossed, seductions take place, and Harry finds himself sharing a bed with his gorgeous step-mother. And if that isn't enough to deal with, then he meets a beautiful girl name Grace, initially she seems like the perfect woman for him, but then things take an interesting turn, and he starts to have doubts. As much as he likes her, there is something telling him to be wary of her, she says she is new to town, but things just aren't adding up... and he is starting to think she maybe involved in his father's past. All The Beautiful Lies is a thrilling literary escapade riddled with obsession, revenge, secrets, and murder! The instant you crack the cover on this one you will be mesmerized by Mr. Swanson's crafty words, and mind twisting plot... it was downright addictive!! This is my first read by this author and I have to say he gained a new fan with this one, I will definitely be checking out more of his books in the very near future! If you are a lover of twisted thrillers, then this one will be right up your alley... my advice, be prepared to hang out on the edge of your seat the whole way through!! Highly Recommend!! I requested an advanced copy of this title from Edelweiss, and voluntarily read and reviewed.