As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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HQ (HarperCollins), 27 June 2017. ISBN: 978-1-8484560-0 (PB)
Secrets emerging after the death of a spouse is a theme that tends to
recur in psychological thrillers, but when it popped up in Mary Kubica's latest
contribution to the sub-genre I was pretty confident it wouldn't progress along
hackneyed lines. This sure-footed author didn't disappoint; Every Last Lie
picks up a familiar trope and mines it for previously unexplored ramifications.
Clara and Nick Solberg's
marriage appears to be made in heaven. He has a successful dental practice; she
takes care of four-year-old Maisie and newborn Felix. Then one night soon after
Felix is born the worst happens: the police arrive to inform Clara that Nick is
dead, following a high-speed car accident, from which, miraculously, Maisie has
escaped almost unscathed.
That's only the beginning of
the nightmare. Over the next few weeks Clara is dealing with new motherhood, an
abused neighbour, and her parents; her mother has dementia and her father is
struggling with the support he wants to give them both. At the same time she
makes discovery after unpalatable discovery, about money, about Nick's
business, about the circumstances of his death, and more. She recalls his
edginess in the days before the crash, finds the names of women, asks herself
the inevitable question about them.
In fact questions abound,
piling one on the other to form an insurmountable barrier to the continuation
of real life. Who is the 'bad man', the memory of whom drives Maisie to
hysteria? What was the significance of the black car seen leaving the scene of
the accident? Why has money disappeared from her father's bank account? What
does their abusive neighbour have to do with it all?
Clara's life becomes a
roller-coaster of emotion and problems to solve, and any woman who has given
birth will empathize with the tangle in her brain. She is surrounded by a cast
of characters who all emerge as sharp and interesting, from Maisie, one of the
most real four-year-olds I've encountered in fiction, via neighbours, staff of
Nick's clinic and people involved with the accident, to her father, her mother,
and Izzy, who helps to care for her.
And interleaved with Clara's
unfolding story is Nick's, told in flashback: the true version of the events
which Clara's sleep-deprived, hormone-addled brain is interpreting in a rather
different way, but drip-fed in a way that maintains the tension.
The denouement is a brave
one; not many authors could pull it off. Mary Kubica does; I was left thinking
the book couldn't have ended any other way. But mainly it's a book about
people, and how they cope, or fail to, when their world threatens to fall
apart. I couldn't put it down.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Kubicaholds a Bachelor of Arts
degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American
Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two
children and enjoys photography, gardening, and caring for the animals at a
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.