The stunning new novel from Clare Mackintosh, the international bestselling author of I Let You Go and I See You.
The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They're both wrong.
Last year, Tom and Caroline Johnson chose to end their lives, one seemingly unable to live without the other. Their daughter, Anna, is struggling to come to terms with her parents' deaths, unwilling to accept the verdict of suicide.
Now with a baby herself, Anna feels her mother's absence keenly and is determined to find out what really happened to her parents. But as she digs up the past, someone is trying to stop her.
Sometimes it's safer to let things lie....
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Clare Mackintosh is an award-winning New York Times and international bestselling author. She spent twelve years on the police force in England and has written for the Guardian, Good Housekeeping, and other publications. A columnist for Cotswold Life, she is the founder of Chipping Norton Literary Festival and lives in North Wales with her family. She is the author of I See You and I Let You Go.
Read an Excerpt
Death does not suit me. I wear it like a borrowed coat; it slips off my shoulders and trails in the dirt. It is ill fitting. Uncomfortable.
I want to shrug it off; to throw it in the cupboard and take back my well-tailored clothes. I didn't want to leave my old life, but I'm hopeful for my next one-hopeful I can become someone beautiful and vibrant. For now, I am trapped.
They say sudden good-byes are easier. Less painful. They're wrong. Any pain saved from the lingering good-byes of a drawn-out illness is offset by the horror of a life stolen without notice. A life taken violently. On the day of my death I walked the tightrope between two worlds, the safety net in tatters beneath me. This way safety; that way danger.
We used to joke about dying-when we were young enough, still vital enough, for death to be something that happened to other people.
"Who do you think'll go first?" you said, one night when the wine had run dry and we lay by the electric fire in my rented Balham flat. An idle hand, stroking my thigh, softened your words. I was quick to answer.
"You, of course."
You aimed a cushion at my head.
We'd been together a month; enjoying each other's bodies, talking about the future as though it belonged to someone else. No commitment, no promises-just possibilities.
"Women live longer." I grinned. "It's a well-known fact. Genetic. Survival of the fittest. Men can't cope on their own."
You grew serious. Cupped my face in your hand and made me look at you. Your eyes were black in the half-light; the bars of the fire reflected in your pupils. "It's true."
I moved to kiss you but your fingers held me still; pressure on my chin as your thumb pushed against bone.
"If anything happened to you, I don't know what I'd do."
The briefest chill, despite the fierce heat from the fire. Footsteps on my grave.
"I'd die, too," you insisted.
I put a stop to your youthful dramatics then, reaching to push aside your hand and free my chin. Keeping my fingers tangled with yours, so the rejection didn't sting. Kissing you, softly at first, then harder, until you rolled backward, and I was lying on top of you, my hair curtaining our faces.
You would die for me.
Our relationship was young; a spark that could be snuffed out as easily as coaxed into flames. I couldn't have known you'd stop loving me; that I'd stop loving you. I couldn't help but be flattered by the depth of your feeling, the intensity in your eyes.
You would die for me, and in that moment, I thought I might die for you, too.
I just never thought either of us would have to.
Ella is eight weeks old. Her eyes are closed, long dark lashes brushing apple cheeks that move up and down as she feeds. One tiny hand splays across my breast like a starfish. I sit, pinned to the sofa, and think of all the things I could be doing while she feeds. Reading. Watching television. An online food shop.
Today is not a day for the ordinary.
I watch my daughter, and after a while her lashes lift and she fixes navy eyes, solemn and trusting, on me. Her pupils are deep pools of unconditional love, my reflection small but unwavering.
Ella's sucking slows. We gaze at each other, and I think how motherhood is the best-kept secret: how all the books, all the films, all the advice in the world, could never prepare you for the all-consuming feeling of being everything to one tiny person. Of that person being everything to you. I perpetuate the secret, telling no one, because whom would I tell? Less than a decade after leaving school, my friends share their beds with lovers, not babies.
Ella's still gazing at me, but gradually the focus in her eyes blurs, the way morning mist creeps over a view. Her lids drop once, twice, then fall closed. Her sucking-always so ferocious at first, and then rhythmic, relaxed-slows, until several seconds elapse between mouthfuls, and she stops.
I lift my hand and gently press my index finger onto my breast, breaking the seal between my nipple and Ella's lips, then pull my nursing bra back into place. Ella's mouth continues to move for a while; then sleep takes her, her lips frozen into a perfect O.
I should put her down. Make the most of however long she will sleep. Ten minutes? An hour? We are a long way from any kind of routine. Routine. The watchword of the new mother; the single topic of conversation at the postnatal coffee mornings my health visitor bullies me into attending. Is she sleeping through yet? You should try controlled crying. Have you read Gina Ford?
I nod and smile and say, I'll check it out; then I gravitate toward one of the other new mums. Someone different. Someone less rigid. Because I don't care about routine. I don't want to leave Ella crying while I sit downstairs and post on Facebook about my "parenting nightmare!"
It hurts to cry for a mother who isn't coming back. Ella doesn't need to know that yet.
She stirs in her sleep, and the ever-present lump in my throat swells. Awake, Ella is my daughter. When friends point out her similarities to me, or say how like Mark she is, I can never see it. I look at Ella, and I simply see Ella. But asleep . . . when Ella's asleep I see my mother. There is a heart-shaped face hiding beneath those baby-plump cheeks, and the shape of their hairlines is so alike I know that, in years to come, my daughter will spend hours in front of a mirror, attempting to tame the one tiny section that grows differently from the rest.
Do babies dream? What can they dream of, with so little experience of the world? I envy Ella her sleep, not only because I am tired in a way I never experienced before having a baby, but also because when sleep comes, it comes with nightmares. My dreams show me what I can't possibly know. Supposition from police reports and coroner's court. I see my parents, their faces bloated and disfigured from the water. I see fear on their faces as they fall from the cliff. I hear their screams.
Sometimes my subconscious is kind to me. I don't always see my parents fall; sometimes I see them fly. I see them stepping into nothing and spreading their arms and swooping low above a blue sea that sends spray into their laughing faces. I wake gently then, a smile lingering on my face until I open my eyes and realize that everything is just the way it was when I closed them.
Nineteen months ago, my father took a car-the newest and most expensive-from the forecourt of his own business. He drove the ten minutes from Eastbourne to Beachy Head, where he parked in the car park, left the door unlocked, and walked toward the cliff top. Along the way he collected rocks to weigh himself down. Then, when the tide was at its highest, he threw himself off the cliff.
Seven months later, consumed with grief, my mother followed him, with such devastating accuracy the local paper reported it as a "copycat suicide." I know all these facts because on two separate occasions I heard the coroner take us through them, step by step. My parents died seven months apart, but their linked deaths meant their inquests were held the same week. I sat with Uncle Billy as we listened to the gentle but painfully thorough account of two failed coastal rescue missions. I stared at my lap while experts proffered views on tides, survival rates, death statistics. And I closed my eyes while the coroner recorded the verdict of suicide.
I learned lots of things on those two days, but not the only thing that mattered.
Why they did it.
Assuming they did do it.
The facts are inarguable. Except that my parents were not suicidal. They were not depressed, anxious, fearful. They were the last people you would expect to give up on life.
"Mental illness isn't always obvious," Mark says when I raise this point, his voice giving no hint of impatience that the conversation is, once again, circling back to this. "The most capable, the most upbeat, people can have depression."
Over the past year I've learned to keep my theories to myself; not to give voice to the doubts that lie beneath the surface of my grief. No one else has doubts. No one else feels unease.
But then, maybe no one else knew my parents the way I did.
The phone rings. I let the answerphone pick up but the caller doesn't leave a message. Immediately I feel my mobile vibrate in my pocket, and I know even before I look that it's Mark calling.
"Under a sleeping baby, by any chance?"
"However did you guess?"
"How is she?"
"Feeding every half an hour. I keep trying to start dinner and not getting anywhere."
"Leave it-I can do it when I get home. How are you feeling?" There's a subtle change of tone that no one else would notice. A subtext. How are you feeling today, of all days?
"I can come home-"
"I'm fine. Really."
Mark would hate to leave his course halfway through. He collects qualifications the way other people collect beer mats or foreign coins; so many letters they no longer fit after his name. Every few months he prints new business cards, and the least important letters fall off the end into oblivion. Today's course is The Value of Empathy in the Client-Counselor Relationship. He doesn't need it; his empathy was evident the second I walked through his door.
He let me cry. Pushed a box of tissues toward me and told me to take my time. To begin when I was ready, and not before. And when I stopped crying but still couldn't find the words, he told me about the stages of grief-denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance-and I realized I hadn't moved past first base.
We were four sessions in when Mark took a deep breath and told me he couldn't treat me anymore, and I asked if it was me, and he said there was a conflict of interest and this was terribly unprofessional but would I like to have dinner sometime?
He was older than me-closer to my mum's age than my own-with a confidence at odds with the nerves I now saw hovering beneath the surface.
I didn't hesitate. "I'd love to."
Afterward he said he felt guiltier about interrupting my counseling than about the ethics of dating a patient. Former patient, I pointed out.
He still feels uncomfortable about it. People meet in all sorts of places, I remind him. My parents met in a London nightclub; his met in the frozen food section at Marks & Spencer. And he and I met in a seventh-floor apartment in Putney, in a consultation room with leather chairs and soft woolen throws, and a sign on the door that read Mark Hemmings, Counselor. By Appointment Only.
"If you're sure. Give Ella-bella a kiss from me."
"Bye." I hang up first, and I know he has the handset pressed against his lips, the way he does when he's deep in thought. He'll have gone outside to make the call, forgoing coffee, or networking, or whatever thirty counselors do when they're released from the classroom. In a moment he'll rejoin the others, and he'll be lost to me for the next few hours, as he works on his empathy for a made-up problem. Pretend anxiety. A fictional bereavement.
He'd like to work on mine. I don't let him. 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.
The anger is the worst part of all of this. The white-hot fury, and the guilt that inevitably follows.
Why did they do it?
I've gone over the days preceding my dad's death a million times; asked myself if we could have done anything to prevent it.
Your dad's missing.
I'd frowned at the text, looking for the punch line. I lived with my parents, but I was away overnight at a conference in Oxford, chatting over morning coffee with a colleague from London. I excused myself to call her.
"What do you mean, missing?"
Mum wasn't making sense. The words came slowly, as though she was dredging them up. They'd had an argument the night before; Dad had stormed off to the pub. So far, so normal. I had long since accepted the storminess of my parents' relationship; the squalls that would pass over as quickly as they blew in. Except this time Dad hadn't come home.
"I thought he might have slept at Bill's," she said, "but I'm at work now and Bill hasn't seen him. I'm out of my mind, Anna!"
I left the conference straightaway. Not because I was worried about Dad, but because I was worried about Mum. They were careful to keep the causes of their arguments from me, but I'd picked up the aftermath too many times. Dad would disappear-off to work, or to the golf course, or to the pub. Mum would hide in the house, pretending to me she hadn't been crying.
It was all over by the time I got home. Police in the kitchen, their hats in their hands. Mum shaking so violently they'd called a paramedic to treat her for shock. Uncle Billy, white with grief. Laura, Mum's goddaughter, making tea and forgetting to add milk. None of us noticing.
I read the text Dad had sent.
I can't do this anymore. The world will be a better place without me in it.
"Your father took a car from work." The policeman was about Dad's age, and I wondered if he had children. If they took him for granted. "The cameras show it heading toward Beachy Head late last night." My mother let out a stifled cry. I saw Laura move to comfort her, but I couldn't do the same. I was frozen. Not wanting to hear but compelled to listen all the same.
Excerpted from "Let Me Lie"
Copyright © 2019 Clare Mackintosh.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Clare Mackintosh knows how to write a mystery that is riveting from page one to the very last sentence. A couple, Tom and Caroline Johnson commit suicide and leave their adult daughter behind to pick up the pieces. In the aftermath, she falls in love with her therapist and they have a baby. Through out all of this she misses her parents immensely wanting them to be there for the whole thing.
Exciting with plenty of twists Anna's father died by suicide. Not long after Anna's mother died in a copycat suicide. Anna is struggling to come to accept that her parents would do this to her, and then a mysterious card arrives which throws her into turmoil. Just as I thought I had the answer, a massive twist arrived, and then another and so it went on. Plenty of interesting characters in this fast moving and exciting thriller. The narration was excellent, drawing you deeper into the characters. I mostly listen to audio books when I'm out exercising so this makes for a stop/start experience, however I had no problem following the story, even with days between listening to it. 5*s from me, as it was exciting, realistic and I couldn't wait to find out the answers. At the end of the audio book is a piece from Clare Mackintosh about how the book came about, and then a question and answer section. These were great add-ons, however don't be tempted to listen to them before reading the book as they contain spoilers. This is the third book I have read/listened to by this author - and I can't wait for more!
Thank you, Goodreads Giveaways for the advance copy of this book. This was an engaging psychological thriller. I enjoyed every twist and turn and did not see them coming. The plot was creative. If you are looking for a mystery with engaging characters and lots of plot twists you don’t see coming, you will enjoy this book. The beginning was a little confusing. Don’t get discouraged, it will all make sense if you keep reading. This was the first book I read by Clare Mackintosh. I will definitely be looking for more.
Anna parents died within months of each other. They were both suicides but Anna doesn’t believe it’s possible. She believes there is something behind the death of her mother and she starts an investigation into it. I read the words of Anna’s mother who doesn’t want Anna to make inquiries about her death. She fears for Anna’s safety and she doesn’t want the outcome of the truth to be revealed. Where is this voice coming from and what exactly is the truth about her death? The mystery starts to slowly reveal itself as Anna receives something in the mail. Was this item sent to be a threat or a call for help? Anna doesn’t know what to think about it while Murray, the retired officer working on her case, is still trying to piece everything together. Other mysterious items begin to arrive and whether they are there to help or hinder, confuse and disturb Anna at a time in her life when she should be enjoying motherhood and mourning the deaths of her family. We all know that once you start lying, it’s easy to continue and that the lies begin to mount one-on-top-of-one-another just like that and that is what happens inside this novel. The truth was somewhere beneath all these layers but where was it? And what would it reveal, when it was finally discovered? I liked the characters in this novel. I loved their craftiness and their spontaneity. They were quick on their feet and quick to act as sometimes, they didn’t have time to pause and think before reacting. I thought the premise behind the novel was enjoyable and entertaining. This was a fun, twisting mystery that kept me on my toes. I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group. in exchange for an honest review.
This book was a phenomenal read from Clare Mackintosh! Completely riveting, you have no idea where this story is taking you until you get there. Anna's parents, Tom and Caroline, committed suicide exactly a year apart, leaving her an orphan and completely devastated. But on the one year anniversary of her mother's death, she receives a note in the post that indicates that their deaths may not have been suicides at all - and Anna is now left fighting to find answers to what really happened to her parents. Clare absolutely surprised me with this one, chapter after chapter I felt like I was on the right track of guessing what had happened, and I loved that I kept being proven wrong. A book that can keep surprising me is a perfectly crafted read in my opinion. If you are looking for a book with a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then this is the read for you!
Anna Johnson’s baby girl, Ella, is eight-weeks-old and she loves her child dearly. Nearly two years ago, Anna’s father, Tom Johnson, threw himself from a cliff and seven months later, her mother, Caroline, consumed with grief, did the very same thing. Anna knew her parents very well and it nags at her because she does not believe their deaths were suicide. Anna, age 26, met her boyfriend, Mark Hemming, age 40, a counselor, when he treated her for depression after her parents died. They soon started dating and Anna became pregnant with Ella. Although Mark wants them to get married, Anna is not ready to do so. On the one-year anniversary of her mother’s death, Anna receives an anonymous card toasting the anniversary and noting that maybe it wasn’t suicide. Horrified, she is truly convinced that her parents were murdered so she decides to go to the police. Murray Mackenzie of Lower Meads Police Station is retired from the police force but volunteers to fill the time. His wife is not mentally well and spends time at a hospital. Today, Murray is listening to Anna’s story thinking that the rude card seems to be proof that her parents were murdered, so he promises to look over the case files. Since Murray is not on active duty, he should send this on to others but feels it will be overlooked. When things start happening that make her feel like she is being watched, Anna does not know if she is just being silly or if there really is something sinister going on. This is a fabulous book! Every time I thought I had the story figured out, I found I was wrong. This is one you will not want to put down. Copy provided by the publisher, Berkley - Penguin Random House, in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Claire Mackintosh does not disappoint with this new thriller, she is my new fave author of this genre! Let me start by saying whatever you think you know about someones marriage, think again because you never really know the exact truth about anyone. I am going to be a bit vague on details because it is a bit difficult review this book without giving away spoilers. This story is told form a few POV’s which I thought added to the overall mystery. Anna is still reeling from her parents suicide when she receives a cryptic note that makes her question whether or not it was a suicide. Not only was this an unbelievable, what the heck is really going on with Ann’a parents book, it also touches on a few topics like suicide, depression and alcoholism which the author does a great job of not making light of these issues. Anna’s life seems to just come apart at the seams, she even starts to question her marriage as well. Yes I loved this book and the ending was a total shock to me. This book is perfect for all of you Thriller/Suspense junkies out there.
I don't even know where to begin with this. I stayed up late finishing this last night and I can't even tell you the last time I stayed up late to finish a book. I wish I could tell you everything about this book, but that wouldn't be fair. You need to experience this slow burn that ratchets up into a full blown four alarm fire. I hardly ever give 5 stars to books, but this one gets it on Goodreads! I have not had this much fun with a book in a long, long time. I also pick up books to read that promises a "twist" and never get them. Not only THAT, but I would have bet money that I knew what was coming, with one part I did, but certainly not the other. I really don't want to say too much because I don't want to give anything away, so here is the blurb from Goodreads: The police say it was suicide. Anna says it was murder. They're both wrong. One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since. Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to question her parents’ deaths. But by digging up their past, she’ll put her future in danger. Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie… Okay, so there you have a synopsis without me blowing it. Three words: READ THIS BOOK!
First book by this author and I'll surely be back for more! This book sucked me in from page one and I felt like every time I had an idea where it was going, I was thrown another curveball. Dealing with tough topics like mental health, alcoholism and the secrets families keep, this story left me in shock and tears. Highly recommended book and author!
Clare Mackintosh is one of my favorite crime writers. Her characters are vivid, her plots brilliant, and the mystery intriguing. However, Let Me Lie was much more of a family drama than her previous two books, which gave it a very different feeling. There was more of a focus on mother-daughter dynamics and family secrets. It wasn't as suspenseful as I was expecting but it was still an engrossing read. However, I did manage to figure out a good portion of the mystery before the reveals. While Let Me Lie wasn't my favorite book of Mackintosh's, I still adore her as a writer and will absolutely be reading everything she writes in the future. If you're a reader who found her previous novels, which were more psychological thrillers, to be too dark, I think this is the Clare Mackintosh book for you! *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Well folks, the Queen of the plot twist has done it again! Two years ago, I read Clare Mackintosh's debut novel "I let you go". It contained what was for me, a 'gasp', jaw-dropping plot twist, and I considered it to be one of my favorite reads for that year. Her second novel, "I see you", which I read last year I enjoyed just as much as the first. Now with her third novel, I realize that this author is unlikely to disappoint me. Set in East Sussex, the novel features Anna Johnson, a new mother to two-month-old Ella. Anna lives with Mark Hemmings, the baby's father, in the home where she grew up. She has inherited the house after her parents commit suicide just seven months apart. Both jumped to their deaths from the suicide hot-spot, Beachy Head. Anna and Mark are coping well with their new parental role. Until... On the first anniversary of her mother's death Anna receives an anniversary card with the words: "Suicide? Think again." Distraught, Anna goes to the police with the card. She encounters a civilian police officer who takes her claims seriously. Murray Mackenzie, now working on the desk as a civilian, was once a respected detective. Retired from the CID, he now works in this capacity to fill the long hours. His wife, Sarah, is mentally ill and is oftentimes living at a nearby psychiatric hospital. "Murray had the skills, and he had the time. Lots and lots of time." Murray believes Anna's claims that her parents would never have commit suicide. He combs the old files and learns that the policemen in charge of the cases might have taken the easy way out, and, with no refuting evidence, closed the cases prematurely. When Murray contacts Anna again, she tells him to forget about it and hangs up on him. This arouses his copper instincts further. Why would she be so adamant one day, then want him to drop the whole thing the next? "Some secrets shouldn't be shared outside the family. Others shouldn't be shared at all." Anna now keeps a vital secret from Mark. Then, when the Christmas season is in full swing and tensions are running high, someone throws a brick through the window of Ella's nursery. Luckily the baby was not in her cot at the time. But what if???? This time it is Mark who contacts the police. Only this time he goes through more official channels - which ends up getting Murray Mackenzie in a spot of bother... "...how can you know someone all of your life, yet not know them at all?" Who could be threatening Anna and her family? Her parents' death has left her a very wealthy woman. If they didn't commit suicide, have they been murdered? Or, are they dead at all? Once again, Clare Mackintosh has written a novel in which I liked most of the characters. Even the ones I really shouldn't have liked. My very favorite character though was the retired policeman, Murray Mackenzie. This novel contains two powerful plot twists, one I suspected, the other one came as a complete surprise. "Let me lie" is another well written thriller by former policewoman Clare Mackintosh. She knows how to entangle her readers with expert characterization and devious plot twists. She seems to understand the motives behind crimes - crimes of all sorts. This is a novel of betrayal, deception, avarice, bitterness, and revenge. Most of all though, it is a story of family secrets of the most serious kind. Oh, and of lies - deadly lies. Highly recommended to readers who like psychological thrillers with suprising twists.
I was so looking forward to reading this book! I loved the first two books by this author. I thought they were gripping and pulled me in right away. This book, not so much. There were too many distractions for me. Pages and pages about Sarah who I really did not care for did not add to my reading enjoyment. At one point, I did think, and glad to see I was wrong, that one narrator was coming back from the dead as a ghost. This was just an okay book for me. I just wish there had been more suspense and less of the mundane. Thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
If plot twists were swooshes, this book would give Nike a run for its money. Just when I thought I had it nailed, the next chapter came along and forced me to think again. The whole thing starts on a faulty premise: Anna Johnson's parents, Tom and Caroline, committed suicide seven months apart (each waiting for high tide before jumping off a cliff into the ocean). Anna is devastated, but she's beginning to deal with the heartbreak with the help of her new baby, Ella, and Ella's father, Mark Hemmings. She's never been convinced that her loving parents would have done themselves in, so a year later when she gets an anonymous note telling her that the deaths weren't suicides, she becomes even more determined to find out what really happened. Needless to say, that ruffles some feathers; for sure, Mark (who's a mental health counselor) isn't pleased, and neither is Tom's brother Billy, co-owner with his brother of a once highly profitable car dealership. Despite their misgivings, Anna takes the note to the police, where it ends up in the lap of retired detective Murray Mackenzie, who's still with the department but relegated to a desk job. He's got personal issues as well, in the form of a much-loved wife who is in more than out of a mental rehabilitation facility. In fact, Murray no longer has any real authority to investigate, but something about the case piques his interest and he forges ahead while skirting official channels. Much of the focus is on what's going on with Anna and Murray (the latter of whom I'd love to read more about). Chapters shift from Anna's and Murray's perspectives to that of an unknown person familiar with the situation, as the TV news wonks are fond of saying. Each chapter adds tidbits of new information, culminating in an exciting, and for the most part surprising, final chapter. Notice I didn't use the word "ending;" that's because what it actually means isn't clear (I think I know, but then what do I know, really)? And if I'm honest, much as I loved the book, even though we see Anna grow more and more paranoid, some of her reactions somehow didn't seem to "fit." But hey, it's the sum of the parts that make a whole, and this book is a whole lot of good. Many thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review it.
Let Me Lie is a true psychological thriller. The suspense, the mystery, the secrets all feed into the story keeping the reader guessing as to what will happen next. There were so many twists and turns that I found myself wanting to skip ahead and see where they were heading. And oh the lies… so many lies. Lies on top of lies on top of lies. Sounds like it could get confusing but it was just the opposite. They all played into the story perfectly. The story is told from multiple points of views. I loved that one of the points of view was unidentified. This kept me guessing as who was telling their story without revealing themselves. From the different voices it was fun to try to tell who was lying, who was telling the truth, and who was telling the story as they knew it whether truthful or not. If you are looking for a psychological thriller full of twists and moment that will make you stop and think…Let Me Lie is the book for you.
Tom and Caroline Johnson took their respective lives within a year of each other and their daughter Anna is left behind to wonder why. Suicide is the ugly truth that haunts Anna daily since her parents have died. Grappling with the tragedy often, Anna’s saving grace in most days is her precious baby girl, Ella. She misses her parents; especially her mother. It would have been wonderful to share the joy of her motherhood with her own mother. On the anniversary of her mother’s death, Anna’s world is rocked when she receives a haunting note. On the outside, the card reads: ‘Happy Anniversary.’ It is the content within the card that rocks Anna’s world: ‘Suicide? Think Again.’ Anna can’t come to terms with the loss of her parents no matter the amount of counseling and time that passes. There is a persistence in her subconscious that refuses to accept both parents chose to kill themselves in less than a year’s time between their respective deaths. Anna spends most days walking on an invisible balance beam of acceptance and sanity. She has a duty and responsibility to her baby girl, Ella. As painful as the reality of never quite knowing the answer to the constant ‘why’ in her mind, it’s time to move on and live her life. Mark, her paramour and Ella’s father wants what is best for them. While he started out as her counselor who Anna sought after her mother’s passing, he quickly recused himself when he realized he was falling in love with her. However, it was Mark who encouraged her with gentle baby steps to return to life with the hope that some day she would say ‘yes’ to his many proposals of marriage. It’s not that Anna didn’t want happily ever after. It was that the past kept coming back to remind her there was more to the double suicide of her parents that required further exploration. Clare Mackintosh launches her audience into a delicious and tangled web of lies and deceit at the onset of Let Me Lie. She challenges her reader with the premise of: ‘was it really suicide or is this a case of the surviving daughter standing on the ledge of crazy about to jump off herself?' There is a consistent element of questioning the motivations of the man Anna loves (Mark) in a crafty way of shining a not so complementary light on him at times. Ms. Mackintosh has a clever way of infusing more doubt by introducing the back story between Anna’s mother and a childhood friend whose paths took very different journeys—Anna’s mother to a life of privilege, her friend; not so much. Just when the reader settles into a (sort-of) acceptance that both parents took their lives, Ms. Mackintosh is at the ready to throw yet another lug wrench into the story line with ample ‘are you sure they killed themselves’ moments. This story has a fantastic ebb and flow throughout and the notion of predictability is non-existent. The twist at the end is one that knocks the reader for a loop. Well done Ms. Mackintosh. How is it possible I’ve not had the pleasure of reading your work before now? I am a fan and look forward to the next. Quill Says: Let Me Lie is a classic tale of things aren’t always what they appear to be.
As a fan of Clare Mackintosh’s “I See You,” I was interested in reading her latest work-“Let Me Lie.” The plot follows Anna Johnson, a mother-of-one living with her boyfriend Mark, a grief counselor, who she met shortly after her whole life turned upside down following the suicide of first her father and then her mother, who, for reasons unknown to her, decided to take their lives by jumping off a cliff, seven months apart. On the anniversary of her mother Caroline’s death, Anna receives a mysterious note that casts doubt that her parents were killed by suicide—causing Anna to contact the police and request the investigation into her parents’ suicides be re-opened. The book goes back and forth between Anna’s chapters, the chapters of Murray—a detective investigating the case, and finally an unnamed narrator whose identity is soon put to light. What I like about Mackintosh’s writing is the focus on twists. About mid-book, the mystery seemed solved and explained. I wondered what the rest of the book would be about. But then chapters later the author re-arranges the pieces into a completely different solution. It’s never clear who the villain is until the actual end of the book, which also ends on a twist. If you like dark, domestic dramas with a mystery component, this is that kind of a read.
Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh is a standalone thriller, which the author has become known for after her successful debut with I Let You Go. Let Me Lie revolves around Anna Johnson, who lives with her partner, Mark and their baby, Ella. Anna is still grieving over the death by suicide of her mother, which was a year ago. Her father also killed himself around 7 months prior to her mother’s death. Anna just can’t get past the fact that both of her parents died the same way. On the day of the anniversary of her mother’s death, she receives an anonymous note questioning that their deaths were suicide, which convinces Anna that both of them were murdered. She goes to the police with the note, and a retired cop, who works at the police desk takes the note and says he will look into it. Besides Anna, we also get the Pov of the cop, Murray, who upon researching the case, begins to believe she is right, that her parents were murdered. Murray was a good cop, and we also get to see him with his wife, who fights off mental illness. On her good days, she helps discuss the case with him, and this was a nice element to the story and investigation. As Anna is determined to find the truth, she will receive a shock that will change the game. To say too much more would be spoilers, and throughout the book, there are so many twists and surprises that will further change everything. There are a number of other characters who are part of Anna’s life; Mark, her partner, who wants to marry her; Laura, who is a friend to the family; Billy, her uncle from her father’s side. Who can Anna trust? What follows is an exciting and intense story that bordered a bit on the wild side with all those twists and turns. Anna, the main character all the way through, was in the middle of every revelation, that by the end, her own life was very much in danger. At the same time, the story took a bit of an unrealistic feel, though it was very much a thriller. Let Me Lie was a dark thriller, lots of excitement, action and game changers that made you constantly guess wrong, especially since for the most part, the other characters could not really be trusted. If you love psychological thrillers, you can never go wrong reading Clare Mackintosh
Clare Mackintosh has done it again! I was close to half-way through when I thought I might give up on Let Me Lie, but she pulled out the big guns and I had to see Anna's story through to the end. It's not that the story was boring, or the characters non-relatable, there just wasn't anything that drew me in until a big plot twist happened and I had no choice but to keep going. This is one suspense where I didn't see the surprises coming and I thought I had it all figured out. There wasn't anything to give away the ending and I love that Clare Mackintosh pulls the hood over my eyes before shattering my assumptions. I enjoyed reading Let Me Lie, but overall I'd have to say that it wasn't as consuming as I See You and seems less like a thriller and more of a suspenseful mystery. *ARC provided via First to Read*
My Review of "Let Me Lie" by Clare Mackintosh Kudos to Clare Mackintosh, Author of "Let Me Lie" for writing such a captivating and intense psychological thriller. The author describes her characters as complex and complicated. There are dark deep secrets, betrayals, and lies, pathological lies. The only thing is, that you won't see them coming. There are twists and turns. There are characters that you know are suspect of something, or not. Anna Johnson, has just given birth to an infant baby girl. It is now the Anniversary of her Parent's deaths. It is an extremely anxious, depressing and emotional time for Anna. The Blurb from NetGalley says: "The Police say it was suicide. Anna says is was murder. They're both wrong" As a new mother, Anna wants to know the truth about what really happened to her parents. Or does she? Mysterious things start to happen as a warning to STOP. These are dangerous things. Someone or Someones want things to just stay as they are............ or else!!!! I highly recommend this riveting, exciting, suspenseful, novel to those that appreciate a good psychological thriller. I received An Advanced Reading Copy from NetGalley for my honest review.