Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Review: All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

Title: All the Beautiful Lies
Author: Peter Swanson
Published: April 2018, William Morrow
Format: Hardcover, 287 pages
Source: Publisher

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.

My thoughts: I think what I love most about reading so many psychological thrillers is always being kept on my toes. There are ones that you can guess where they are headed, and then there are ones like this one that chock full of twists and turns and keep you glued to the pages as you desperately try to connect all the dots to figure out what is going on. 

This book is dark and twisted. It goes to some places that are definitely going to make some people uncomfortable, but for me, what really kept me interested and glued to the pages was the way the story was told. Alternating back in and forth in time, we get the present and the past, learning about Alice's history. As much as this book is about what happened to Harry's father, I think Alice's character really does steal the show - she is such a fascinating character and her story really compells you to keep reading. There's just something not right about her.

This book really pulls you in, but it might not be for everyone. The relationships that the book explores tend to wander into the taboo category which might turn people off - think huge age gaps and inappropriate relationships. If you can get past that, though, it really is quite a page-turner because of the fascinating characters you do meet in this book...and I mean, crazy, intriguing characters! And all the lies...OMG...once they start coming out, it's one shock after another.

This is a very addictive, fun book. It's dark and twisty and has complicated, complex characters that likeable or not, just pull you in further and further. I love books like that and cannot wait to read more from this author! 



  1. I read The Kind Worth Killing a year or two ago and thought it was SO good! Super twisty. I am excited to read more of Swanson's books.

  2. Sounds very intriguing despite the dark and twisted!


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