“Let me lie” by Clare Mackintosh – Book Review

The Queen of the plot twist has done it again!

Two years ago, I read Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel “I let you go“.  It contained what was for me, a ‘gasp’, jaw-dropping plot twist, and I considered it to be one of my favorite reads for that year.  Her second novel, “I see you“, which I read last year I enjoyed just as much as the first. Now with her third novel, I realize that this author is unlikely to disappoint me.

When I first started reading this book I thought the author had changed tactics by adding a supernatural element to her story. I was wrong. She has a way of carefully leading you down one path, then letting you know that you were a naive fool to have followed her.  After three novels I should know better. LOL

Set in East Sussex, the novel features Anna Johnson, a new mother to two-month-old Ella. Anna lives with Mark Hemmings, the baby’s father, in the home where she grew up.  She has inherited the house after her parents commit suicide just seven months apart.  Both jumped to their deaths from the suicide hot-spot, Beachy Head.

Beachy Head, East Sussex

Anna and Mark are coping well with their new parental role. Until… On the first anniversary of her mother’s death Anna receives an anniversary card with the words: “Suicide? Think again.

Distraught, Anna goes to the police with the card.  She encounters a civilian police officer who takes her claims seriously.  Murray Mackenzie, now working on the desk as a civilian, was once a respected detective.  Retired from the CID, he now works in this capacity to fill the long hours. His wife, Sarah, is mentally ill and is oftentimes living at a nearby psychiatric hospital.

“Murray had the skills, and he had the time. Lots and lots of time.”

Murray believes Anna’s claims that her parents would never have commit suicide. He combs the old files and learns that the policemen in charge of the cases might have taken the easy way out, and, with no refuting evidence, closed the cases prematurely.

When Murray contacts Anna again, she tells him to forget about it and hangs up on him. This arouses his copper instincts further.  Why would she be so adamant one day, then want him to drop the whole thing the next?

“Some secrets shouldn’t be shared outside the family. Others shouldn’t be shared at all.”

Anna now keeps a vital secret from Mark.  Then, when the Christmas season is in full swing and tensions are running high, someone throws a brick through the window of Ella’s nursery. Luckily the baby was not in her cot at the time.  But what if????  This time it is Mark who contacts the police. Only this time he goes through more official channels – which ends up getting Murray Mackenzie in a spot of bother…

“…how can you know someone all of your life, yet not know them at all?”

Who could be threatening Anna and her family?  Her parents’ death has left her a very wealthy woman. If they didn’t commit suicide, have they been murdered? Or, are they dead at all?  

Once again, Clare Mackintosh has written a novel in which I liked most of the characters. Even the ones I really shouldn’t have liked.  My very favorite character though was the retired policeman, Murray Mackenzie.  This novel contains two powerful plot twists, one I suspected, the other one came as a complete surprise.

Let me lie” is another well written thriller by former policewoman Clare Mackintosh.  She knows how to entangle her readers with expert characterization and devious plot twists.  She seems to understand the motives behind crimes – crimes of all sorts.  This is a novel of betrayal, deception, avarice, bitterness, and revenge. Most of all though, it is a story of family secrets of the most serious kind. Oh, and of lies – deadly lies.

Highly recommended to readers who like psychological thrillers with surprising twists.

I am grateful to Berkley Publishing via NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this enjoyable novel.

Clare Mackintosh is an author, feature writer and columnist. She has written for The Guardian, Sainsbury’s Magazine, The Green Parent, and many other national publications, and is a columnist for Cotswold Life and Writing Magazine.

Clare spent twelve years in the police force, working on CID, in custody and as a public order commander, and has drawn on her experiences for her psychological thrillers. She left the police in 2011 to work as a freelance journalist and social media consultant, and now writes full time. Clare’s debut novel, I Let You Go, was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller for 12 weeks, and was the fastest selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It was selected for both the Richard and Judy Book Club and ITV’s Loose Women’s ‘Loose Books’, and has been translated into more than 30 languages. It has sold more than a million copies worldwide. In July 2016 Clare received the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award, and won the Cognac Prix du Polar for International Novel of the Year that autumn. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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22 Responses to “Let me lie” by Clare Mackintosh – Book Review

  1. James McEwan says:

    An interesting and encouraging review. I have read her book “I Let You Go”, her first published novel and enjoyed the suspense.
    I like the ambiguity in the title, “Let me Lie”, should be an exciting read.
    Many thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandra says:

    Gosh, this sounds good! Another one for the list. Or should that be three!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. carhicks says:

    Great review Lynne! I enjoyed this one as well. I will have to go back and check out her other books, this was my first.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. skyecaitlin says:

    Nice review, Lynne: I loved I Let you Go, but haven’t read any others.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was fooled at first by this one too – she definitely does well with the twists although I was slightly confused by the very last page…


    • I wasn’t confused by the last page. She was very angry and bitter with her mother for deceiving her. She pushed her mother off the balcony – and someone saw… Or, at least that was my take on it. Another great plot twist.


  6. Berit&V@Audio Killed the Bookmark says:

    I’m so glad you like this! I haven’t read it yet but there have been a few not so great reviews, this is good news!😍

    Liked by 1 person

  7. gkdewolfe says:

    Lynne, I too recently read “Let Me Lie”and like you my favorite character was Murray Mackenzie. I also liked when Murray’s wife, Sarah, was having
    a good day and was up to doing some
    sleuthing…..they worked well together!
    While Clare Mackintosh has written
    another excellent mystery with one exceptionally good surprise, I found it
    wasn’t quite up to her first two page
    turners…..though I certainly had no
    problem reading it late into the night.
    I look forward to reading another Clare
    Mackintosh; unfortunately, will have to
    wait until next year!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree 100% Gaye. I rated her first two novels 5/5 and gave this one 4/5. It was still a great read, yet somehow it lacked the WOW factor of the first two. That being said, she remains an author that I will follow closely.


  8. I loved this one. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kaila says:

    Phenomenal review! I actually just finished this one about twenty minutes ago 😊 We really should know better by now, making assumptions with Clare Mackintosh’s writing, huh? Glad to see you liked Murray’s character as much as I did!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great review! I enjoyed Let Me Lie as well

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Amanda. I’ve loved all of her novels. This one was not quite as good as the previous two, but very enjoyable nonetheless. My favorite remains the first one, “I let you go”. Clare Mackintosh is an author that I will automatically read whenever she writes a new novel.


  11. Excellent review, Lynne.

    Liked by 1 person

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