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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

‘Let me Lie’ by Clare Mackintosh

Published by Sphere,
8 March 2018.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-6490-7 (HB)

Anna Johnson is trying to come to terms with the loss of her parents. A year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life, just a few months after Anna’s father killed himself. Now, with a new relationship and a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and begins to ask questions about her parents’ deaths – “They were the last people you would expect to give up on life”.

So why did they do it?

Then, on the anniversary of her mother’s death she receives an anonymous card in the post with a message she can’t ignore.

Retired police officer Murray Mackenzie is working as a civilian at a police station and is feeling the need for something more in his life when Anna walks in.

And so, begins Clare Mackintosh’s third psychological thriller, and the twists that are her trademark start to appear. With the shouty strapline on the cover of the book about suicide and murder, it isn’t difficult to guess the initial set up and the first ‘reveal’, but, although the novel begins slowly, the story gradually pulled me in until I was totally involved. Lies build upon lies, and I was pushed back and forth through the engrossing writing as the slow burn turns into a thrilling ride. The south coast setting is beautifully evoked, and the themes of grief, loss and motherhood explored sensitively. There are several narrators throughout the book – all their characters are well-developed and plausible, though not necessarily likeable.

However, there is, for me, one stand-out character, that of Murray Mackenzie, who wants to find out the truth behind the suicides of Anna’s parents. His touching relationship with his sharp and funny wife is heartwarming, and it is wonderful to see how he helps her with her mental health issues and she with his cases. He is a wonderful, well-rounded and sympathetic character and I loved his part in the story.

I really enjoyed Let Me Lie. The writing is superb, and it is a real treat of a read. Whether you have read one of Clare Mackintosh’s books before or not, do have a look at this one. Mackintosh is in for the long haul.
Reviewer: Mary-Jane Riley

Clare Mackintosh spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant and is the founder of the Chipping Norton Literary Festival. She now writes full time and lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.  Clare's debut novel, I Let You Go, was a Sunday Times bestseller and the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It was selected for both the Richard and Judy Book Club (and was the winning title of the readers' vote for the summer 2015 selection) and for ITV's Loose Women's Loose Books. It is a New York Times bestseller, with translation rights sold to more than 30 countries. Her second psychological thriller, I See You, was a number 1 Sunday Times bestseller and Audible's bestselling psychological thriller in 2016. Translation rights have been sold to almost 30 countries.  Clare is the patron of the Silver Star Society, an Oxford-based charity which supports the work carried out in the John Radcliffe Hospital's Silver Star unit, providing special care for mothers with medical complications during pregnancy.

Mary-Jane Riley wrote her first story on her newly acquired blue Petite typewriter, when she was eight. When she grew up she had to earn a living and became a BBC radio talk show presenter and journalist. She has covered many life-affirming stories, but also some of the darkest events of the past two decades. Then, in true journalistic style, she decided not to let the facts get in the way of a good story and got creative. She wrote for women's magazines and small presses. She formed WriteOutLoud with two writer friends to help charities get their message across using their life stories. Now she is writing crime thrillers drawing on her experiences in journalism. Her third book, set in East Anglia and featuring investigative journalist Alex.  Dark Waters, was published by Harper Collins/Killer Reads in March 2018.

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