All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson


Spooky Hans!

I had read some great reviews about All the Beautiful Lies, but I haven’t been a fan of Peter Swanson’s books in the past. I decided to give it a try and I’m glad I did because I was hooked and quickly read the book over 3 sittings!

Harry Ackerson has always considered his step-mother Alice to be sexy and beautiful, in an “other worldly” way. She has always been kind and attentive, if a little aloof in the last few years.

Days before his college graduation, Alice calls with shocking news. His father is dead and the police think it’s suicide. Devastated, he returns to his father’s home in Maine. There, he and Alice will help one another pick up of the pieces of their lives and uncover what happened to his father.

Shortly after he arrives, Harry meets a mysterious young woman named Grace McGowan. Though she claims to be new to the area, Harry begins to suspect that Grace may not be a complete stranger to his family. But she isn’t the only attractive woman taking an interest in Harry. The sensual Alice is also growing closer, coming on to him in an enticing, clearly sexual way.

Mesmerized by these two women, Harry finds himself falling deeper under their spell. Yet the closer he gets to them, the more isolated he feels, disoriented by a growing fear that both women are hiding dangerous—even deadly—secrets . . . and that neither one is telling the truth.

I have to start by saying that this book won’t be for everyone. There is some icky subject material *minor spoiler* with relationships between step-parents and “adult” step-children. I wasn’t too uncomfortable with the relationships, but it still didn’t sit right while I was reading. I was a little grossed out.

It is super easy to get hooked with the “Then” and “Now” chapters. “Now” is Harry’s view when he has to go back to Maine after his father’s death. He learns that he may not have known his father as much as he thought he did. Harry also has to deal with Alice, his step-mother, for the first time since he always had his father as a buffer when they have interacted in the past.

“Then” to me was the more interesting story. It was about Alice and her life as a teenager. I won’t go too much into it, but I kept wanting to go back to Alice’s story. The chapter would end on a minor cliffhanger and I then had to read 2 chapters to get back into the story. I think this is why I couldn’t put the book down. Instead of one more chapter, it was two more chapters!

I wasn’t super impressed by the mystery, I wanted some big twist and I pieced it together near the 70% mark. I was surprised by the final chapter though, I couldn’t believe the book had ended that way!

4 calculators out of a potential 5. Looking back now, the story was about 3 calculators worthy, but I just couldn’t stop reading this book. I love a book that just hooks me in and allows me to ignore reality!


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