One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.
Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to question her parents’ deaths. But by digging up their past, she’ll put her future in danger. Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie…
Let Me Lie is the third novel by Clare Mackintosh who is becoming renowned for her marvellous twists. Mackintosh’s first novel I See You had an astounding twist half way through the novel that has to be one of the best twists I’ve ever encountered. Needless to say, I’ve come to expect the twists in Mackintosh’s books now and it becomes a challenge to see if you can work out what’s going on before the end.
Let Me Lie is divided into three parts with each part concluding with a twist of some sort which will alter your reflections on what’s already happened. The narrative is shared by three people: Anna, Murray and unknown protagonist whose identity is only revealed at the end. The unknown narrator messes with your head somewhat because initially you believe there is something supernatural happening and it doesn’t fit with Mackintosh’s usual style. The first half of the book is very slow and I have to admit the supernatural aspect did make me hesitate more than once because it seemed so out of place.
It’s always a challenge to review books like this because you don’t want to give too much away so as not to spoil it for others so apologies if this all seems a little vague. One thing we do know from the outset is that Anna’s parents both committed suicide by jumping from Beachy Head, which is advertised on tourist sites as the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, however it is also has a sinister side due to the high number of suicides. As I was reading this book, the news sites were reporting on the discovery of three bodies at the base of the cliffs which sadly included a mother and a child.
Anna’s father, Tom, took his own life by jumping from the cliffs and eight months later, his wife, Caroline, apparently out of grief, jumps from the same spot leaving their daughter doubly bereaved within a short time span. The similarities of the deaths did seem a little far fetched to me and I wondered what Anna had done to deserve such selfish parents, however all is not what it seems. The plot twists and turns come thick and fast after the first part ends, and it is hard to keep up with them all which makes the plot a bit convoluted in parts.
Being a former policewoman, you’d expect Mackintosh to get the procedural details correct and this time they are provided through the lens of Murray, a semi-retired detective who keeps his hand in by manning the front desk. Murray isn’t supposed to get involved in investigations but something about Anna’s plight touches him and he is compelled to help her. Murray finds a few holes in the investigation that bother him enough to believe the previous detectives didn’t look far enough beyond the suicide verdict. Although Murray no longer has access to police resources, he has a solid network of friends on the job who are willing to do him a few favours but he also embraces the wonders of modern technology, namely Google, to unearth facts faster than his colleagues.
Murray is a lovely soul with an old-fashioned outlook to police work, despite his eagerness for the internet, who really cares about the people he is helping. Murray is further humanised by the introduction of his wife, Sarah, who has been battling depression most of their married life. While Murray knows what he doing in regard to police work, he is powerless to help Sarah and his frustration is very apparent. Murray is probably the only character I actually really liked in this novel as everyone else seemed to have their own agenda or were under the finger of suspicion.