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To Tell You the Truth


To Tell You the Truth

When you don't know whom to trust or who is telling the truth, the world can be a scary place. In Gilly Macmillan’s TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, not only does Lucy Harper not know who is telling her the truth, or if she can trust her best friend and alter ego Eliza, we also don't know if we can trust what Lucy is telling us in her first-person narrative.

Lucy is an established author. She has written a popular detective series featuring Eliza, a character created from the imaginary friend she had as a child and who is still part of her life --- a very real part. But in her fourth book, she veers from her successful formula, much to the consternation of her husband, Dan, who enjoys living a luxurious life thanks to her hard work, and that of her agent and publicist.

"Gilly Macmillan does a masterful job leading us in one direction while subtly indicating that the truth is not that easy to figure out."

In fact, Dan surprises Lucy with a new, very expensive home on a private street near where she grew up. She does not want to live there, but the deed is done. Is Dan getting revenge for the fact that Lucy is the acclaimed and successful author as he once aspired to be? He now works as her assistant and handles all the finances. Yes, we smell a fish!

However, all that becomes minor, at least to Lucy, when Dan disappears one night after they had an argument. To tell the truth, we aren't sad that he leaves in a huff because he's not very likable. But what we don't know is if Lucy is involved in his disappearance. We also don’t know what really happened 30 years ago when Lucy's little brother, Teddy, disappeared. We know that she was with him in the wee hours of the morning, but we also know that she lied to her parents and the police about what happened. Is she also lying to us?

Things happen, and Lucy reacts stupidly. We wince at some of what she shares with the police. But we really don't know what happened to Dan, or to Teddy all those years ago, and why some of her neighbors are acting a bit off.

Lucy decides that she's not going to leave Dan's disappearance to the police to solve and begins to investigate on her own. How much of what she tells us is the truth? Can we trust Lucy? Can we trust Eliza?

Gilly Macmillan does a masterful job leading us in one direction while subtly indicating that the truth is not that easy to figure out. Of course, there are twists that we don't expect and, just as in real life, mysteries left unsolved.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on September 23, 2020

To Tell You the Truth
by Gilly Macmillan