LET ME LIE by Clare Mackintosh {Review}

Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★½

The stunning new novel from Clare Mackintosh, the international bestselling author of I Let You Go and I See You.

The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

Last year, Tom and Caroline Johnson chose to end their lives, one seemingly unable to live without the other. Their daughter, Anna, is struggling to come to terms with her parents’ deaths, unwilling to accept the verdict of suicide.

Now with a baby herself, Anna feels her mother’s absence keenly and is determined to find out what really happened to her parents. But as she digs up the past, someone is trying to stop her.

Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie…

LET ME LIE is a dark and clever psychological thriller, and the perfect cure for my reading slump. This is the third book by Clare Mackintosh that I’ve read, and I always enjoy her writing. She has a talent for creating emotional, character-driven suspense with amazing twists that really mess with your head. She makes you love/hate/sympathize with characters, and then bam! A big twist comes along to make you question everything.

Anna Johnson is a daughter grieving over the suicides of her parents the previous year. Then she receives something that makes her suspicious, makes her think that maybe they were murdered instead. The story alternates between Anna and other players in this twisted tale, including a retired detective named Murray who checks into the Johnson’s case. I loved Murray’s character, and his relationship with his troubled wife was heart-rending. The book goes from a slow-burn in the beginning to a thrilling roller coaster ride at the end, and I enjoyed it all.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

BRING HER HOME by David Bell

Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★½

In the breathtaking new thriller from David Bell, bestselling author of Since She Went Away and Somebody I Used to Know, the fate of two missing teenage girls becomes a father’s worst nightmare…

Just a year and a half after the tragic death of his wife, Bill Price’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life.

As Bill holds vigil over Summer’s bandaged body, the only sound the unconscious girl can make is one cryptic and chilling word: No. And the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he wonders what happened to her. Or if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter at all.

When troubling new questions about Summer’s life surface, Bill is not prepared for the aftershocks. He’ll soon discover that both the living and the dead have secrets. And that searching for the truth will tear open old wounds that pierce straight to the heart of his family.

BRING HER HOME is another gripping, character-driven mystery/thriller from David Bell. I flew through this book. The shorter chapters that ended with a new clue or reveal really quickened the pace. What would come next? I was compelled to keep reading.

This is the kind of book that can easily be spoiled with too much talk of the plot, so I’ll just say wow. Lots of delicious and disturbing surprises made this an entertaining read. The characters were complicated, flawed, and easy to empathize with. They could be frustrating at times, but given their situation, it’s understandable.

This was an enjoyably nerve-racking thriller that was hard to put down. It also had that emotional edge that I love in David Bells’ novels. I’ve read several of his books, and BRING HER HOME is probably my favorite.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THE LOST LETTER by Jillian Cantor

Publisher: Riverhead Books
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Source: Penguin’s First to Read Program
Rating: ★★★★½

A historical novel of love and survival inspired by real resistance workers during World War II Austria, and the mysterious love letter that connects generations of Jewish families. A heart-breaking, heart-warming read for fans of The Women in the Castle, Lilac Girls, and Sarah’s Key.

Austria, 1938. Kristoff is a young apprentice to a master Jewish stamp engraver. When his teacher disappears during Kristallnacht, Kristoff is forced to engrave stamps for the Germans, and simultaneously works alongside Elena, his beloved teacher’s fiery daughter, and with the Austrian resistance to send underground messages and forge papers. As he falls for Elena amidst the brutal chaos of war, Kristoff must find a way to save her, and himself.

Los Angeles, 1989. Katie Nelson is going through a divorce and while cleaning out her house and life in the aftermath, she comes across the stamp collection of her father, who recently went into a nursing home. When an appraiser, Benjamin, discovers an unusual World War II-era Austrian stamp placed on an old love letter as he goes through her dad’s collection, Katie and Benjamin are sent on a journey together that will uncover a story of passion and tragedy spanning decades and continents, behind the just fallen Berlin Wall.

A romantic, poignant and addictive novel, The Lost Letter shows the lasting power of love.

Three words: beautiful, moving, and bittersweet. This book is a unique tale of the Austrian Resistance during World War II, centering around the love story between the daughter of a Jewish stamp maker and his apprentice. THE LOST LETTER is really historical fiction within historical fiction; the story alternates between the fall of the Berlin Wall (late 80s/early 90s) and the German invasion of Austria (late 1930s).

In 1989, Katie Nelson, whose life has been upended by her divorce and caring for an ailing father, finds a curious stamp on a letter from the World War II era in her father’s extensive stamp collection. With the help of an appraiser named Benjamin, Katie is able to uncover the story behind the mysterious letter.

I enjoyed this book very much, and was intrigued by both Katie and Benjamin in 1989, and Elena and Kristoff in 1939. What secrets did the stamp and letter hold? This book was a lovely blend of mystery, romance, and history. I do love vintage stamps, and this book gave readers a look at the intricacies of stamp engraving, and how they were miniature works of art. Highly recommended!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.