49. All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

This was one of the books I impulse bought at a service station on my way back from Newcastle. I think by this point we’ve established that I cannot be trusted to walk past books and not buy one!

I actually read this in one session. I was hooked and it was fantastic.

The synopsis (as taken from Amazon) is as follows:

On the eve of his college graduation, Harry is called home by his step-mother Alice, to their house on the Maine coast, following the unexpected death of his father.

But who really is Alice, his father’s much younger second wife? In a brilliant split narrative, Peter Swanson teases out the stories and damage that lies in her past. And as her story entwines with Harry’s in the present, things grow increasingly dark and threatening – will Harry be able to see any of it clearly through his own confused feelings?

Ability to read – I didn’t have any issue when it came to reading this book. I found early on that the story was going to be one of those gripping edge of seat stories that I could really sink my teeth into. I was excited to read a murder/thriller that had relieved so many good reviews and it was a combination of the pace and the plot that kept me reading. I wanted to find out what was to happen and who was to blame.

Characterisation – The characters were incredibly well fleshed-out. They had such strong backstories that it made me see the characters in a new light and almost be able to predict how they would act in the present, based on how they acted in the past. At no point did I accurately guess who the murderer was, which I found incredibly rewarding. I was always guessing the character’s next move and the chase of that was more interesting than simply knowing what was going to happen.

Visualisation – My ability to visualise was impacted heavily on my imagination within this story for I think my imagination was vivid enough and strong enough to form a complete picture of what I was reading. Stories like this – and extending to crime/detective/historical genres – are a happy place for me. I was fully in control of what I was seeing and the visual picture was strengthened by my own process of the words and the strong words of the book itself.

Uniqueness – I have a problem, where I’ve read so many murder mysteries that I now find it quite easy to deduce who the killer is and why the killer killed. It gives me great pleasure when I find a book that stumps me and allows me the joy of the story without the knowledge of the ending. This book was such a gripping book and indeed presented a mystery that I found myself unable or unwilling to deduce. I hadn’t heard of Peter Swanson prior to this book but now that I have read it, I wonder about the other books he has written and will be looking to check those out also. It could become my new author obsession….

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