This Is How I Lied

A small-town murder gets covered up by big-time falsehoods in the heart-pounding mystery thriller This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf (The Weight of Silence).

Winter, 1995. Rural Iowa. Fifteen-year-old Maggie O'Keefe and 13-year-old Nola Knox find the beaten and murdered body of 16-year-old Eve Knox. Twenty-five years later, the case remains unsolved, when some kids find Eve's missing boot in the caves where she was murdered. Local police scramble to reopen the case because newer DNA technology might finally reveal Eve's killer. Maggie, now 40 and recently promoted to police detective, gets the case. When Nola hears about it, she begs Maggie to frame Eve's abusive boyfriend as the killer. Maggie refuses, but Nola threatens to expose the bloody fight between Maggie and Eve the night Eve was murdered. Did Maggie kill Eve? Or was it a creepy transient who killed Eve? It's impossible to uncover truth when best friends and family lie to cover it up.

Gudenkauf weaves hand-wringing drama into Nola's and Maggie's desperately opposing agendas for the truth by making each character's argument plausible. Early on, Gudenkauf sets up Maggie as a heroine readers should root for, but then slowly reveals the dark secret behind why she attacked Eve. Nola, thought by the townspeople to be a mentally unstable torturer of animals, could be an intense scientist. Kudos to this author for reminding readers the best stories challenge our surface judgment of characters and people in general. --Paul Dinh-McCrillis, freelance reviewer

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