The Mysterious Bookshop

Swanson, Peter - All the Beautiful Lies

Otto Penzler's Book of the Month Review, from our April 2018 Newsletter:

Swanson has quickly established himself as one of the best suspense writers in America, and he may have topped himself with All the Beautiful Lies. His ability to create fabulous women characters with whom it’s easy to fall in love, as both his readers and his characters do, opens the door to betrayal and deception. This compulsively readable novel, told alternately between the current day and events of the past, opens with Harry, a young man away at school, learning that his father has died, apparently by accident, when Alice, his young stepmother, calls with the bad news. Alice, excruciatingly lovely, seems beset by ill fortune, as her mother had died when she was only 14, apparently by accident. Alice had fallen in love with her stepfather, who found her irresistible. When his wife died, Alice continued to live with him, but not very much as a daughter. Alice eventually moved out of the house and married Bill, the owner of the little Maine town’s bookstore. After his death, a young woman from New York attends his funeral. Who she is, and why she’s there, is a mystery for the whole town but especially for Harry and Alice. There are plenty of hints to suggest to readers that darker forces are at work than are on the surface but, just as it becomes evident that one person clearly orchestrated evil acts, Swanson pulls a curtain aside to show hidden machinations. And there is more than a single curtain. I admit I’m easy to fool but Swanson has totally embarrassed me by fooling me again and again. What a thriller!



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