Title: All the Beautiful Lies
Author: Peter Swanson
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: April 3, 2018
Genre: Mystery Thriller
My Rating: 3/5
Harry Ackerson has always considered his step-mother Alice to be sexy and beautiful, in an “other worldly” 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, he returns to his father’s home in Maine. There, he and Alice will help one another 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.
Days before Harry is set to graduate college, his father dies. His father’s death is suspicious, and the authorities aren’t sure if his death was an accident, suicide, or murder. Harry returns to the small town in Maine where his father lived. While in town, Harry spends time with his stepmother Alice, works in his father’s bookstore, meets the new girl in town, Grace, and tries to connect the pieces surrounding his father’s death.
This book is told with multiple points of view and multiple timelines. The “then” timeline is Alice’s story. The “now” timeline is Harry’s story. Alice’s story is disturbing and uncomfortable to read. Harry’s story is more mysterious. Harry is not mysterious, but the circumstances of his father’s death and the people connected to his father are mysterious.
A slow-burning thriller that focuses on the characters. The action takes a backseat to the characters, but there are some interesting things happening. Harry’s father’s death isn’t the only suspicious death in the book. Now, let’s talk about the characters. They are complex and seriously messed up. Pretty much every relationship in the book is May-December, and some are more borderline pedophilia. That makes for tough reading.
Suspenseful, twisted, and tragic.