Tuesday, April 3, 2018

All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

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.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Told from multiple perspectives across more than twenty years, this is an intense, mind bending thriller. In the present, Harry finds himself caught up in his father’s murder investigation. In the past, we get moments in time from the perspectives of a few different characters. Like all good psychological thrillers, readers are able to piece together each of the seemingly discordant scenes to find the killer before the final revelation.

I’m always in two minds about books with unreliable or unlikeable narrators. This story has both and while I enjoyed the moral ambiguity, I’m not sure I wanted to get so far into the minds of a couple of the narrators. Harry himself is too bland for readers to either like or dislike and it is impossible to view any of the other characters without suspicion. The result is a tense and often ugly search for truth.

I don’t want to give anything away, but something about the ending felt both too easy and slightly unsatisfying. However, I’m not sure any ending would be completely satisfying because this is a story that prompts far more questions than it could ever answer. I’m not sure I enjoyed the book but I loved the puzzle and I honestly couldn’t put it down.

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/F Thriller
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

Harry has a mystery on his hands. With the death of his father, he comes home and now has a mystery to solve. His stepmom is hiding something, his family friend is hiding something, and there is a new person hanging around who is trying to solve the same mystery as Harry, but for a very different reason.

This has a great mystery. While I wish that Harry had more personality, his flashbacks were helpful in figuring out part of the mystery. I really liked his friend, and wished he was more part of the story since he gave off more personality and flare than Harry.

Without giving away the mystery, you could see it play out slowly and like a train wreck you can’t look away from, despite the predictability, it was still entertaining.

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 Fiction, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure, The Guardian, The 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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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson to read and review.

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