Wednesday, May 13, 2020

This Is How I Lied

This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf
Park Row Books: 5/12/20
eBook review copy; 336 pages 

This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf is a highly recommended thriller/murder mystery set in a small Iowa town.

"Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa - discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold." Now a new piece of evidence has been found and the cold case is being reopened. Maggie is a police detective in Grotto and is handling the investigation despite her connection to the old case and the fact that she is seven months pregnant. Maggie's father, who handled the original case obsessed over the file for years. Now Maggie, who has been haunted by the case for years, is reviewing the case files and evidence, and notifying the Knox family, in preparation to send the old evidence and the new discovery to the state lab for testing.

This is a well written novel full of suspense and tension. There are several suspects still living in this small Iowa town who are connected to the case in same way and most of them are odd or guilty of other crimes. As Maggie looks into the case, secrets begin to emerge, but small towns can keep things hidden even when gossip is swirling around. And someone clearly has deadly intentions, although pinpointing the guilty party is complicated. The novel moves along at a good pace and will hold your attention throughout.

The narrative alternates between characters and flips from 1995 and 2020. This means that Eve is among the well-developed characters and we know her secrets too. Maggie is a great character. You can tell that she's guarded and keeps herself in check. She has a whole lot of other things going on along with the investigation. Eve's sister Nola is a complicated character and an obvious suspect right from the start - but soon there are some other characters that quickly join that list. 

While I enjoyed the novel quite a bit, I had a few reservations. I felt that some of the small town secrets would have and should have been outed sooner, the ability to test certain evidence is questionable, and the ending went a wee-bit-over-the-top for me. But, if you just want to read a well-written mystery/thriller with strong female characters, This Is How I Lied will certainly fit the bill.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.

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