A Town Full of Crazy: This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

Small towns, bruh.

Full disclosure: I’m raising both hands as a long time fan of Heather Gudenkauf, since the first time I picked up one of her books, “The Weight of Silence.” Her work is a go-to for me when I need something that I won’t want to put down and I always look forward to her next book.

She did not let me down with “This Is How I Lied.”

And she reminded me why Iowa isn’t nearly as pedestrian as it can seem to someone from outside the Midwest. All that urban bullshit you get in the cities? Crazy people, secrets and day-to-day plot twists? The big cities have nothing on Grotto.

“This Is How I Lied” tells the story of Maggie Kennedy, police detective and daughter of the former police chief, nearly 8 months pregnant with a miracle baby and married to a decent guy. When the current chief lets her know that evidence was found in a decades-old cold case — the murder of her best friend when she was 15 — Maggie is compelled to take it on and solve the mystery her father couldn’t. Who killed Eve?

Reading a Heather Gudenkauf book is a lot like that scene in The Princess Bride, during which the reader feels a lot like Vizzini aruging with Westley:

Wait, so who is she trying to get me to believe killed Eve?

I mean, she says it’s XXX, but … I think it’s Rick. (I mean he is an asshole and an abusive boyfriend.)

No, Nola. (I mean, the girl is just plain nuts.)

No, Colin. (I mean, really? An artist that also takes care of his dad suffering from dementia?Too good to be true.)

No, wait — Shaun? (Liar, liar pants on fire, Shaun.)

Wait, maybe it’s Cam. (Such a bad man.)

Damnit, who did it?

There are twists and turns and subplots as deep as the caves that Maggie and Eve explored in their younger days. The caves, where this story starts and ends. The caves that come full circle.

I crave just a few more pages to get better insight into Charlotte which would in turn maybe explain the enigma that is Nola. Maybe a small narrative from Joyce’s perspective so we know whether or not she knew about her husband. And please, maybe some bromance between Colin and Shaun. Ah, another story for another day.

Great read, good choice for the upcoming long weekend, easy to get through so that you can feel accomplished in a “I read an entire book this weekend!!” kind of way. Winner, winner, excellent thriller.

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