Review: All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

Review: All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson
All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

Published by William Morrow on April 3, 2018
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Edelweiss

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I received an advance copy of this book from Edelweiss.

Harry Ackerson has always considered his stepmother Alice to be sexy and beautiful, in an "otherworldly" 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, Harry returns to his father’s home in Maine. There, he and Alice will help each other pick up 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.

Everybody lies.

All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson is a disturbing tale of twisted emotions, betrayal, and obsession. I’m not sure if there were any characters who I particularly liked. Nevertheless, it’s a dark, complex story that I enjoyed reading.

On the brink of his college graduation, Harry Ackerson gets the phone call no one ever wants to receive: his father is dead. Although the police first state that it was an accident, Harry isn’t convinced. Distraught and shocked, Harry goes home to Maine.

Awaiting Harry is his stepmother, Alice, who was considerably younger than Harry’s father. Harry always felt an awkward and inappropriate attraction to his stepmother, but with his father gone, his emotions are especially mixed up. He needs to figure out what really happened to his dad.

At first, Alice doesn’t quite seem like the grieving widow. As Harry spends more time with her, he begins to wonder if she had something to do with her husband’s death. Meanwhile, Harry meets Grace, who’s new in town and may or may not already have a connection to his father.

As Harry struggles to piece together what remains of his father’s life and death, he finds himself drawn closer to both Alice and Grace. But what Harry ultimately discovers is something he never could have expected.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, with all its severely flawed characters—and even some who are reprehensible. The story veers into uncomfortable territory many times, but it’s all worth it for that satisfying ending. All the Beautiful Lies is my first read from Peter Swanson, but it definitely won’t be my last.

Rating: 5 stars


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