Anna Johnson lives in Cleveland Avenue, the house where she grew up in her happy family, just her, her mother and father. But all that has changed. Anna now lives in the house with her partner Mark, a grief therapist and her baby daughter Ella her mother and father having both committed suicide, jumping from Beachy Head within six months of each other.
Anna is getting used to being a new mother to baby Ella when on the first anniversary of her mother’s death she receives a disturbing anonymous letter that makes her question whether her death was suicide after all. Taking the letter to the police she meets the wonderful Murray Mackenzie, a former detective but one who’s employed as a civilian who works on the front desk at Lower Meads police station. Let me just say this book would not have been half as captivating without Murray and his back-story. Anyway, Murray decides to take up the challenge and looks into the deaths of both Anna’s parents.
This is a slow build novel, enjoy the calm while part one unfolds because all of that will soon change. As is common in this genre, the story is told from multiple viewpoints and part one concentrates on the lead up to the suicides. The day Anna found out her father was missing through her meeting of Mark, taking in the Chaplain that had tried to dissuade Caroline away from the cliff edge via the impact on Billy Johnson, her father’s brother and owner of the car dealership that Anna is now a co-owner of. All of this is background and a chance for the reader to put their own stake in the ground on whether someone is messing with Anna or was foul play involved.
I love books with twists and turns, and Clare Mackintosh delivers plenty, so many that at times she could have made me believe up was down. The book, given the subject of suicide, necessarily focusses on Anna reassessing the people that she thought she knew best, her parents, and putting what she knew into context with the memories she’d held so dear. She’s a young woman who has gone through turmoil over the last year and a half which means that those around her tend to treat her with care but her mother’s Goddaughter Laura has decided that the time has come for Anna to start tackling the outstanding paperwork. Will she come across more secrets?
This book is entirely built around secrets and lies – some were hiding in plain sight, other’s less so and the excerpts from an unknown writer only serve to remind the reader that no-one is to be trusted. Of course this means that you distrust everyone more or less from the start and oh my goodness that gives a lot of doubt for one novel!
I did enjoy this latest offering from someone who I consider one of the top writers in this genre. I needed to know what was true, and this is an author who isn’t so determined to keep us spinning that she forgets the link she has forged for us to the characters which means that there are some emotional moments to go with the draw-dropping twists.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Little Brown Book Group who kindly allowed me to read a copy of Let Me Lie prior to publication today, 8 March 2018. This unbiased review is my thanks to them, and the mistress of the twist, Clare Mackintosh.
Other books by Clare Mackintosh