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Every Last Lie


Every Last Lie

How often do you keep a secret from your spouse or significant other? Has a single white lie ever led to other, potentially more serious ones? What things do people lie to one another about, and why? These are the kinds of questions readers will concern themselves with after reading Mary Kubica’s latest suspense novel, appropriately titled EVERY LAST LIE.

The book opens with a bang (or, more appropriately, a crash). Clara is home caring for her infant son when she has a phone call with her husband, who’s been taking their four-year-old daughter Maisie to dance class. Clara gives Nick her takeout order and hangs up --- and never hears from him again. The next thing she knows, a police officer is knocking on her door, informing her that, although Maisie survived the crash unscathed, Nick has been killed in a single-vehicle car accident. The police almost immediately rule the crash a true accident, citing Nick’s high rate of speed at the time of the incident and his prior citations for speeding. But Clara wonders if there may be more to the story.

"Believe it or not, all of these various threads do come together, as the reader’s suspicions mount alongside Clara’s."

It turns out she’s right; she just has no idea how much more there is to the story. EVERY LAST LIE is told in alternating chapters: Clara’s begin with the crash, while those told from Nick’s perspective start months earlier and lead up to the moment of his death. It turns out that Nick, who adores his wife, also hasn’t been entirely forthcoming with her. For example, the dental practice into which they poured their life savings (and then some) is on the verge of financial failure. Nick has tried a number of harebrained schemes to try to raise money, but none of them seem to work. What’s worse, he’s on the edge of needing to lay off his dental colleague (and the couple’s oldest friend), who in turn is threatening him with blackmail. I won’t get into the full details of the tangled web Nick weaves, but suffice it to say that, if Clara were to know or guess the extent of his personal and financial woes, she’d be even more convinced that foul play was involved.

Compounding all of this is Nick’s history of run-ins with a neighbor, a man who terrorizes his own family and has been publicly abusive to his wife. Could their altercations, not Nick’s financial distress, be at the root of what happened?

Clara’s conviction that there’s more to this story than meets the eye compels her to play amateur detective, sometimes making questionable choices as she tries to care for her young children. She’s also increasingly preoccupied by her mother’s worsening dementia and her father’s seeming inability to care for her and keep her safe.

Believe it or not, all of these various threads do come together, as the reader’s suspicions mount alongside Clara’s. Some might wish for perhaps one more chapter, showing more fully what Clara does with the information she gleans near the novel’s end, and (more critically) if she and her grieving family are able to bounce back and even thrive in the wake of not only Nick’s death but the discovery of (at least some of) the lies that enmeshed his life.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on July 5, 2017

Every Last Lie
by Mary Kubica