All the Beautiful Lies
by Swanson, Peter

Devastated when his father commits suicide days before his college graduation, Harry returns to his home in Maine, where he is baffled by the increasingly sensual attentions of a mysterious woman and his own alluring stepmother, who he comes to realize are hiding dangerous secrets. By the award-winning author of The Girl With a Clock for A Heart. 100,000 first printing.

Harry Ackerson rushes to his childhood home in Kennewick, Maine, after learning that his father has died from a fall off of his favorite cliff walk. In Kennewick, Harry becomes the crutch for his femme-fatale stepmother, Alice, whose grief takes the uncomfortable form of sexual attraction toward Harry. When Bill Ackerson's autopsy reveals the death was a homicide, Alice insists that Bill was killed by a woman she's certain was Bill's mistress. But Harry questions her story after meeting Grace, a mysterious young woman from New York who reveals that she and Bill were in love. When Harry finds Grace's body and realizes that she and his father were killed in the same manner, he becomes convinced that a killer is stalking people connected to his father. But why? An alternating narrative in Alice's voice provides fruit for suspicion, but Swanson guards the killer's identity and motives until the bitter end. Swanson's fourth psychological thriller is a gripping exploration of delusion and deceit; sure to please readers of Laura Lippman's stand-alones. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Swanson's (Her Every Fear, 2017, etc.) fourth suspense novel once again offers a bleakly idyllic setting, an intricate plot, and, à la Patricia Highsmith, remorseless sociopathic villainy.Just before college graduation, Harry Ackerson is summoned home abruptly. His father, not quite 50, has died, presumably from a fall during a cliffside walk. Harry arrives in coastal Maine, where he's consoled and fussed over by his young stepmother, who, at 35, is exactly halfway between Harry's age and his father's. Harry isn't sure what to make of Alice, an "otherworldly" beauty whom he doesn't know well; his father, a secondhand bookseller, left New York to open a second location here just a few years ago, and he married his realtor. Soon the police tell Harry they think his father might have been murdered, and the enigmatic Alice, whose clear seductive interest Harry finds both provocative and suspicious, points toward the husband of a female bookstore employee who was, she reports , carrying on an affair with her husband. Meanwhile, at the funeral, Harry spots a lovely young woman he can't place. She claims at first, not persuasively, to have impulsively moved to Maine from Manhattan, where she lived near the elder Ackerson's shop, but Harry—again, both skeptical and smitten—recognizes that she's more entangled with his father than she's let on. Pinched between two women he desires but can't trust, Harry tries to unravel the mystery. Swanson neatly intercuts chapters that fill in Alice's troubled and troubling youth, but he too insistently invokes Lolita, a dangerous point of comparison not only because he can't match Nabokov's magisterial prose, but because it's impossible to take on the notorious psychopathy at that book's heart without having something of its author's command of tone and empathy. Swanson's novel has the twisty plot and page-eating pace one expects from him, but it lacks the finesse and psychological acuity required to m a ke its villains quite believable. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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