Author: Clare Mackintosh
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publication Date: March 8, 2018
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
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 …
Having enjoyed both I Let You Go and I See You, I was so excited to tackle another mystery promising the twists and turns with which Clare Mackintosh’s writing has become associated. The summary of Let Me Lie caught my eye right off the bat – if not suicide or murder, what could be the truth behind Caroline and Tom Johnson’s identical deaths, only months apart? And it wasn’t just the mystery that called to me; I was intrigued by how their daughter Anna, now with a child of her own, would handle the past being dug up and forcing her to question everything she believed about her family.
Let Me Lie follows a structure you’ll be familiar with if you know Mackintosh’s writing. The story is split between multiple narrators, following Anna Johnson, whose insistence on discovering the truth could put what family she has left in danger, and Murray Mackenzie, a retired detective who isn’t quite ready to begin the next chapter of his life and can’t help but be intrigued by Anna’s situation.
It was Murray’s character that I felt most connected to throughout the novel. His civilian job at the police station can’t quite scratch his itch for the days when he was one of the leading investigators. Unable to resist Anna’s case, which hits close to home as he has a wife diagnosed with borderline personality disorder who has attempted suicide in the past, Murray begins investigating off the books. I love how seriously he takes Anna’s concerns from the start, and how he treats his wife as an equal when they begin to probe deeper into the Johnsons’ past, despite the difficulties that her illness presents. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Murray has a wide range of character development throughout the story, and he’s easily my favorite character through all of Mackintosh’s books.
It’s true that Let Me Lie gets off to a slow start, much like I Let You Go and I See You, but I didn’t mind as much here because I was enjoying Murray’s perspective, even when completely unrelated to the mystery of Anna’s parents. I also didn’t mind that after the midway twist, the entire rest of the novel clicked into place for me – and that’s honestly only because at this point, I expect the non-stop twists from Mackintosh. It wasn’t a deal-breaker because I was still interested to see how those twists would get revealed and how the various characters would react.
Let Me Lie is a solid mystery that, true to Mackintosh form, makes you second guess yourself all the way until the last line on the last page. The slow pacing and my ability to predict the ending didn’t detract too much from my opinion of the novel as a whole; it would have been a worthwhile read for Murray’s character alone. If you enjoyed either of Mackintosh’s previous books or if the blurb just catches your eye, I definitely recommend giving this one a shot.