This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf
ARC received from the publisher for an honest review and Blog Tour participation.
Publish Date: May 12, 2020
A special thank you to the publisher, Park Row Books for reaching out and giving me this opportunity to join in the Blog Tour!
With the eccentricity of Fargo and the intensity of Sadie, THIS IS HOW I LIED by Heather Gudenkauf (Park Row Books; May 12, 2020; $17.99) is a timely and gripping thriller about careless violence we can inflict on those we love, and the lengths we will go to make it right, even 25 years later.
Tough as nails and seven months pregnant, Detective Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe of Grotto PD, is dreading going on desk duty before having the baby her and her husband so badly want. But when new evidence is found in the 25-year-old cold case of her best friend’s murder that requires the work of a desk jockey, Maggie jumps at the opportunity to be the one who finally puts Eve Knox’s case to rest.
Maggie has her work cut out for her. Everyone close to Eve is a suspect. There’s Nola, Eve’s little sister who’s always been a little… off; Nick, Eve’s ex-boyfriend with a vicious temper; a Schwinn riding drifter who blew in and out of Grotto; even Maggie’s husband Sean, who may have known more about Eve’s last day than he’s letting on. As Maggie continues to investigate, the case comes closer and closer to home, forcing her to confront her own demons before she can find justice for Eve.
“If you don’t understand how things die how can you understand how they live?”
Talk about a nail biter!!! This book was definitely a thriller from the beginning to the very last page. I honestly could see this becoming a TV Series and or movie, hell, screw The Dublin Murders, let me see this on TV instead!!! I went into this book not knowing much about the book or the author and found that I was instantly immersed into the story and couldn’t stop reading or thinking about it for that matter until I had finally consumed every last word. While it is a thriller, its also a story about family and friendships, and of course murder.
The setting was easy to imagine, like I said above, it felt like a movie to me. I could see the cliffs and the caves. The small town atmosphere with the rickety houses up on the hills. Coming from a small town myself, it felt like I could relate on a personal level to how everyone had known each other for their whole lives and so many lives were filled with secrets that were bound to come out sooner or later. The fact that these girls and so many other teenagers in the book knew about the caves lent a slightly eerie feeling to the plot. To enjoy hanging out and escaping to somewhere so dark and dank and remote is almost setting yourself up for a murder mystery in my opinion. And so its no small surprise that its in these caves where poor young Eve is murdered and it isn’t until new evidence is found 20 years later that the truth will finally be revealed.
Not only is the setting easy to imagine, but the characters are also very realistic. From the struggles of a career driven detective who even though she is pregnant is determined to solve the mystery of what really happened to her best friend. To the strange and twisted mind of Eve’s sister, who honestly gave me the creeps and was my number one suspect. Each character was so fleshed out and lifelike that I read this book like I was reading the diary of a long time friend. I think the author did a fantastic job switching between different points of view but still keeping the reader guessing who it was that really killed Eve. There were so many different times I changed my mind in my guesses of who it could be and even in the end I couldn’t have guessed the twist it took.
This was one of those books that’s so dark and twisted and creepy yet at the same time keeps you on the edge of your seat and guessing throughout. Its not necessarily fast paced, but the need to find out whats going on keeps you flipping the pages mindlessly and the next thing you know you’ve read half the book. I would have liked to know a little more on the back end of the story what happens with the characters but I think it does wrap it all up nicely so that you aren’t left hanging by any means. There’s always going to be a little bit left to the imagination when it comes to a stand alone book and that’s where I always struggle setting aside my love for trilogies. I really do think that this book is not for the feint of heart, with characters like Nola Knox, you have to really be prepared for just about anything. She felt like a descendant of Hannibal and there were times I wanted to just skip her chapter altogether, but then again it added that extra layer of mystery that kept me guessing so in the end I really did appreciate her chapters even if they were a little bit hard to read about.
This being my first book that I’ve read by this author, I am happy to say that I have been looking into reading some of her other books since I really did enjoy this read. I think that the writing was a good change of pace from all the fantasy and sci-fi I normally read. Its good to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while and get a taste for something different. I would definitely read anything this author comes out with next and think that this is a good book for anyone looking for something to take their mind off of all the crazy going on in the real world right now. Trust me, you won’t be able to think about anything else until you find out what truly happened to Eve all those years ago. Happy Reading!
Monday, June 15, 2020
As I slide out of my unmarked police car my swollen belly briefly gets wedged against the steering wheel. Sucking in my gut does little good but I manage to move the seat back and squeeze past the wheel. I swing my legs out the open door and glance furtively around the parking lot behind the Grotto Police Department to see if anyone is watching.
Almost eight months pregnant with a girl and not at my most graceful. I’m not crazy about the idea of one of my fellow officers seeing me try to pry myself out of this tin can. The coast appears to be clear so I begin the little ritual of rocking back and forth trying to build up enough momentum to launch myself out of the driver’s seat.
Once upright, I pause to catch my breath. The morning dew is already sending up steam from the weeds growing out of the cracked concrete. Sweating, I slowly make my way to the rear entrance of the Old Gray Lady, the nickname for the building we’re housed in. Built in the early 1900s, the first floor consists of the lobby, the finger printing and intake center, a community room, interview rooms and the jail. The second floor, which once held the old jail is home to the squad room and offices. The dank, dark basement holds a temperamental boiler and the department archives.
The Grotto Police Department has sixteen sworn officers that includes the chief, two lieutenants, a K-9 patrol officer, nine patrol officers, a school resource officer and two detectives. I’m detective number two.
I grew up in Grotto, a small river town of about ten thousand that sits among a circuitous cave system known as Grotto Caves State Park, the most extensive in Iowa. Besides being a favorite destination spot for families, hikers and spelunkers, Grotto is known for its high number of family owned farms – a dying breed. My husband Shaun and I are part of that breed – we own an apple orchard and tree farm.
“Pretty soon we’re going to have to roll you in,” an irritatingly familiar voice calls out from behind me.
I don’t bother turning around. “Francis, that wasn’t funny the first fifty times you said it and it still isn’t,” I say as I scan my key card to let us in.
Behind me, Pete Francis, rookie officer and all-around caveman grabs the door handle and in a rare show of chivalry opens it so I can step through. “You know I’m just joking,” Francis says giving me the grin that all the young ladies in Grotto seem to find irresistible but just gives me another reason to roll my eyes.
“With the wrong person, those kinds of jokes will land you in sensitivity training,” I remind him.
“Yeah, but you’re not the wrong person, right?” he says seriously, “You’re cool with it?”
I wave to Peg behind the reception desk and stop at the elevator and punch the number two button. The police department only has two levels but I’m in no mood to climb up even one flight of stairs today. “Do I look like I’m okay with it?” I ask him.
Francis scans me up and down. He takes in my brown hair pulled back in a low bun, wayward curls springing out from all directions, my eyes red from lack of sleep, my untucked shirt, the fabric stretched tight against my round stomach, my sturdy shoes that I think are tied, but I can’t know for sure because I can’t see over my boulder-sized belly.
“Sorry,” he says appropriately contrite and wisely decides to take the stairs rather than ride the elevator with me.
“You’re forgiven,” I call after him. As I step on the elevator to head up to my desk, I check my watch. My appointment with the chief is at eight and though he didn’t tell me what the exact reason is for this meeting I think I can make a pretty good guess.
It can’t be dictated as to when I have to go on light duty, seven months into my pregnancy, but it’s probably time. I’m guessing that Chief Digby wants to talk with me about when I want to begin desk duty or take my maternity leave. I get it.
It’s time I start to take it easy. I’ve either been the daughter of a cop or a cop my entire life but I’m more than ready to set it aside for a while and give my attention, twenty-four-seven to the little being inhabiting my uterus.
Shaun and I have been trying for a baby for a long, long time. And thousands of dollars and dozens of procedures later, when we finally found out we were pregnant, Shaun started calling her peanut because the only thing I could eat for the first nine weeks without throwing up was peanut butter sandwiches. The name stuck.
This baby is what we want more than anything in the world but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m a little bit scared. I’m used to toting around a sidearm not an infant.
The elevator door opens to a dark paneled hallway lined with ten by sixteen framed photos of all the men who served as police chief of Grotto over the years. I pass by eleven photos before I reach the portrait of my father. Henry William Kennedy, 1995 – 2019, the plaque reads.
While the other chiefs stare out from behind the glass with serious expressions, my dad smiles showing his straight, white teeth. He was so proud when he was named chief of police. We were all proud, except maybe my older brother, Colin. God knows what Colin thought of it. As a teenager he was pretty self-absorbed, but I guess I was too, especially after my best friend died. I went off the rails for a while but here I am now. A Grotto PD detective, following in my dad’s footsteps. I think he’s proud of me too. At least when he remembers.
Last time I brought my dad back here to visit, we walked down this long corridor and paused at his photo. For a minute I thought he might make a joke, say something like, Hey, who’s that good looking guy? But he didn’t say anything. Finding the right words is hard for him now. Occasionally, his frustration bubbles over and he yells and sometimes even throws things which is hard to watch. My father has always been a very gentle man.
The next portrait in line is our current police chief, Les Digby. No smile on his tough guy mug. He was hired a month ago, taking over for Dexter Stroope who acted as the interim chief after my dad retired. Les is about ten years older than I am, recently widowed with two teenage sons. He previously worked for the Ransom Sheriff’s Office and I’m trying to decide if I like him. Jury’s still out.
Excerpted from This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf, Copyright © 2020 by Heather Gudenkauf
Published by Park Row Books
Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running.
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