At the outset of this solidly plotted novel from Holahan (The Widower’s Wife), three racially diverse, upper-middle-class couples converge on a Hamptons beach house they are renting. Ben Hansen and Rachel Klein, Jenny and Louis Murray, Susan and Nadal Ahmadi—two lawyers, a doctor, a TV sports commentator who was once an orthopedist, and two stay-at-home parents—are neighbors whose backyards back home touch but who barely know each other. The weekend starts well with drinks and tasty food, but ends with the murder of one of the wives. Gabby Watkins, the sole black detective on the local police force, investigates. The action remains strong as it touches on infidelity, betrayal, abuse, bad business dealings, and underhanded lawsuits. But most of the characters are unfocused until halfway through the story. Only Gabby is consistently well developed as she deals with racism and sexism in the department and in town. Still, Holahan does a fine job portraying fraying marriages and artificial friendships. Agent: Paula Munier, Talcott Notch Literary. (July)
Praise for One Little Secret:
“A domestic thriller that’s actually filled with lots of secrets, some of them pretty big.”
“Engrossing...Holahan keeps the suspense high.”
“Well-drawn characters... [an] absorbing page-turner.”
“A great beach read for those with a penchant for scandalous secrets and gossipy, suspenseful mysteries.”
Praise for Lies She Told:
ONE OF KIRKUS' BEST BOOKS OF 2017
“A suffocating double nightmare…‘To be a writer is to be a life thief.’”
Kirkus starred review
“Recommended for anyone who enjoys Paula Hawkins or Gillian Flynn, primarily because it’s better.”
“Engrossing…Holahan keeps the suspense high…until the surprising denouement.”
"Holahan's gripping, commercial storytelling slips this self-reflective examination into what is first and foremost a compelling thriller, allowing Lies She Told to be both indicative of a genre and outstanding in its field."
“An eerie and chilling read…Unexpected and explosive.”
NY Journal of Books
“A swift and intriguing psychological thriller heavy with surprises.”
Foreword Reviews starred review
“If you can only pick one psychological thriller to read this fall, it needs to be Holahan’s Lies She Told…”
RT Book Reviews
“Pure, binge-worthy entertainmentthe kind of effortlessly engaging read that can only come from the author’s intelligent plotting and careful construction…An instant-hit for…readers looking for an addictive, layered suspense novel.”
Crime by the Book
"Lies She Told had me questioning my own sanity…The best kind of suspense…An excellent and compelling psychological read!"
Susan Crawford, bestselling author of The Pocket Wife and The Other Widow
"Intricate, intense, and completely sinisterthe talented Cate Holahan keeps you guessing until the final disturbing page."
Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author of Say No More
“Brilliantly conceived, chillingly conveyed, Lies She Told is a mind-bender of a novel within a novel, with a story that is both gut-wrenching and compulsively readable. Cate Holahan is one of the best psychological suspense writers out there, and she’s only getting better. Read her.”
Brad Parks, Shamus, Nero, and Lefty Award-winning author of Say Nothing
"This was a thriller I couldn't put down...Bravo!"
Rena Olsen, author of The Girl Before
"A page-turner of the top order, cleverly conceived, brilliantly executed and impossible to put down. Cate Holahan has proven herself a master of psychological suspense…This mind-bending tale of jealousy, love, and revenge should be at the top of everyone’s summer reading list."
Allison Leotta, author of The Last Good Girl
“Intelligently written…A gripping and highly suspenseful story that features amazing female characters caught in difficult situations they never asked for.”
Mystery Scene Magazine
“A wonderful psychological suspense story.”
Manhattan Book Review
“Lies She Told masterfully weaves together the parallel tales of two troubled young wives…This is a fast-paced read that will keep readers riveted as the surprise endings of both story lines blossom into a crescendo of compassion and conflict resolution.”
"Wow. Just wow. As soon as you think you've figured it out, Cate Holahan hits you with a twist you did. Not. See. Coming…A taut story."
Alexia Gordon, award-winning author of Murder in G Major and Death in D Minor
“[A] masterpiece.…Lies She Told is guaranteed to make Cate Holahan a household name.”
Joe Clifford, author of the Jay Porter thriller series
"A chilling story…Cate Holahan keeps you guessingand turning the pagesright to the end."
Patrick Lee, NYT bestselling author of the Sam Dryden and Travis Chase trilogies
While their children are at summer camp, three couples meet at a beach house in the Hamptons. They don't know one another well, but at the end of the night, after drinking too much wine, secrets are spilled and one person is dead. DS Gabby Watkins suspects each of the other people in turn. Is the killer the husband whose alibi was attendance at a party with underage drinkers? What about the abusive husband, or the victim of that abuse who tries to hide it? Maybe it was the man whose start-up is threatened by a lawsuit, or the stay-at-home mother of two boys homeschooling a son on the autism spectrum. Gabby will stumble through a series of mistakes as her investigation collides with another case, a party in which there may have been drugged drinks and sexual assault. This unconventional psychological thriller alternates between views of the day of the murder and the day after to reveal secrets that could destroy marriages and lives. VERDICT Holahan's latest stand-alone (after Lies She Told) is a great beach read for those with a penchant for scandalous secrets and gossipy, suspenseful mysteries.—Lesa Holstine, Evansville Vanderburgh P.L., IN
A domestic thriller that's actually filled with lots of secrets, some of them pretty big.
Their kids safely packed off to summer camp, three couples—ER physician Louis Murray and his wife, orthopedist-turned-TV sports commentator Jenny Murray; indifferently successful writer Ben Hansen and his wife, Rachel Klein, a lawyer; and venture capitalist Nadal Ahmadi and his wife, Susan, whose own law career is on hold while she home-schools their autistic son and supports her husband's app Doc2Go, with which he hopes to make a killing—head to an unseen Hamptons rental for some R&R. What they get instead is instant disappointment with the lodgings (though there's a great view of the beach), enough wine to take the edge off their sorrows, an escalating round of spats and accusations, and sudden death. When Rachel turns up strangled and drowned at water's edge, suddenly every little twitch of the survivors looks suspicious. Recently promoted DS Gabriella Watkins is pulled away from a party-rape accusation to the crime scene because the victim's torn swimsuit suggests the kind of assault Gabby's good at investigating. Not surprisingly, she finds beneath the vacationers' moneyed veneer a roiling stew of sins—adultery, abuse, threatened lawsuits—that make everyone look guilty, even if not of this particular crime. The surprise is that the alibi of Ben Hansen, whose heated quarrel with his wife sent her flouncing off to the beach, never to return, depends on his presence at the very party Gabby had been investigating, the one at which 18-year-old au pair Mariel Cruz woke up naked next to surfing banker Andrew Baird with no memory of how she'd ended up there.
Holahan deploys a before-after-during-after-before-and-so-on series of perspectives that go a long way toward dissipating the suspense they're presumably meant to intensify. But her gimlet eye for the foibles of this particular social set is as unforgiving as in the much superior Lies She Told (2017).