Book Review: Once Upon a Lie by Maggie Barbieri

Maeve Conlon has a lot on her plate. Between running her bakery, dealing with her ex-husband and uncooperative teenage daughters, and trying to keep her father from wandering away from his nursing home, Maeve barely has time for herself. She certainly doesn’t have the time to deal with the death of her cousin, Sean, though there was no love lost between them. However when the police begin looking at her father as a suspect in Sean’s murder, she’s forced to clear his name and deal with memories she’d rather keep buried.

I think what impressed me most about Once Upon a Lie was the characters. The secondary characters–like Maeve’s father Jack, her friend/employee Jo, and all of the town gossips–gave the story its depth. The main character can only do so much to create the sense of her world, so the other players make a world of difference.

There was just the right balance of mystery, deceit, and drama to keep me turning the pages. The difference between the setting of suburbia–where everything is sunshine and roses–and the darkness that oozes from all of the secrets put me on edge. It does justice to the thriller genre.

My only complaint about the book has to do with one of Maeve’s secrets, so I can’t exactly divulge it. I’ll just say that one of the secrets let me down as I’ve seen it done way too many times in the crime/mystery/thriller genre. This book was so well written that that secret doesn’t do the story justice.

I’d recommend this book to thriller junkies, anyone who loves a good, dark mystery.

Rating: four of five stars

Once Upon a Lie by Maggie Barbieri will be published in hardcover by Minotaur Books and will be available December 10,2013

*I received an advanced copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.

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