Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


Book Author: Clare Mackintosh

LET ME LIE by Clare Mackintosh: Book Review

Clare Mackintosh’s latest mystery, Let Me Lie, will hold you from the first page until the last.  It is as good as I Let You Go, her novel I reviewed in June, 2016, something I didn’t think was possible.

Let Me Lie opens with the voice of a dead person, but we don’t know who that person is.  That voice is interspersed between chapters told in two other voices–Anna Johnson’s and Murray Mackenzie’s.

Anna is a new mother.  She’s thrilled with her lovely daughter Ella and happy with her partner Mark, but she is grieving the loss of her parents.  Both committed suicide seven months apart at the infamous cliff at Beachy Head, and as the novel opens it’s the first anniversary of Anna’s mother’s death.  Neither body was recovered, but witnesses saw both husband and wife on top of the Head, loading their pockets with stones.  Her mother’s suicide was an exact replica of her father’s, something that is making Anna even more distraught.  Knowing how her mother had suffered after her husband’s death, Anna wonders how she could have done the same thing herself, leaving Anna bewildered and lost.

On this sad day, Anna is horrified to receive a Happy Anniversary card in the mail.  Who would do such a cruel thing, she wonders?  And the message inside is even worse.  Suicide?  Think again.

Both Mark and Anna’s Uncle Billy think the card is a despicable “joke” someone with a warped sense of humor is playing on her.  But Anna, who never felt that her parents were suicidal types, now thinks she has something concrete to go on.  She and Ella go to the local police station where they encounter Murray Mackenzie, a recently retired detective who is now a civilian volunteer on the force.

Bored with his retirement and moved by Anna’s sincerity in her belief that her parents were murdered, he agrees to look into the matter, although he does not plan to share his investigation with the active detectives.  Time enough to tell them when I find something significant, if in fact I do, he thinks.

Now for my confession:  at least four times while reading this novel I “knew” the next turn the story would take and how the book would end.  In each case I was totally wrong.  Just when I was certain someone was guilty and just when I could tell what the next wrinkle in the plot would be, I was wrong again.  Let Me Lie is like a roller coaster ride, but every twist and turn is believable.

Clare Mackintosh is a master in leading you astray so skillfully that you don’t even realize what’s happening.  Not until I had finished the book did I realize how much I had misread and how often I had jumped to conclusions.  I am delighted to have been so mislead so cunningly.

You can read more about Clare Mackintosh at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden Oldies, Past Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

I LET YOU GO by Clare Mackintosh: Book Review

A mother and her young son are walking home from his school on a rainy afternoon in Bristol, England.  Across the street from their house she lets go of his hand, knowing his eagerness to get into their kitchen for a snack and a few minutes of television.  As he shouts, “I’ll race you, Mummy,” he darts across the road and into the path of a speeding car.  Instead of stopping, the auto backs up the street, makes a quick U-turn, and vanishes into the darkness.

The hit-and-run case lands on the desk of Detective Inspector Ray Stevens.  He and his team, and especially his young protégée Kate, are determined to find the driver, but there are few clues to follow.  Jacob’s mother is in shock, understandably so, and there is no father in the picture.  There were no witnesses, and the car appears to have left no traces on the street.  The only thing of note is that Jacob’s mother says that the car was speeding, rather than attempting to stop, when it hit her son, but that really doesn’t help the investigators at all.

As is not uncommon in this age of social media, it doesn’t take long for a backlash to appear on various web sites.  Opinions were voiced about the mother’s carelessness, her unfitness, her faults.  And when the police return to question her again, she has disappeared.  The boy’s school, his doctor, their neighbors, no one has seen her in days.  So after several weeks, Ray gets the order from the police chief to close the case, and he has no choice but to obey.

At home, things are not much better.  Ray’s wife Mags, a former police officer and now a stay-at-home mother, is getting fed up with Ray’s seeming lack of involvement with his family.  He’s spending long hours at work and forgetting important appointments they made together.  Most seriously, their teenage son Tom is having difficulties at school, skipping classes, and refusing to say what’s bothering him.  Is it typical teenage behavior or something more serious?

To add to this is Ray’s growing attraction to his subordinate, Kate.  She’s everything that Mags is seemingly not.  Kate’s young, with a free lifestyle, and is obviously attracted to Ray.  He can feel himself sliding down a slippery slope, but does he want to stop himself before things go too far?

Clare Mackintosh has written a fantastic thriller.  The characters and plot are totally realistic, and the desperate situations in which people find themselves could have been taken from today’s newspaper headlines anywhere in the world.  Also, the way the book is narrated is perfect; I can’t say any more without spoiling it for you, so you’ll have to trust me.  I Let You Go is a novel you can’t stop reading.

You can read more about Claire Mackintosh at this web site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.