All the Beautiful Lies: Book Review by Asha Seth

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Author: Peter Swanson| Genre: ThrillerCrime Fiction | Pages: 309

The Plot:

Harry Ackerman has only properly met his step-mother, Alice, for the first time after his father, Bill Ackerman’s death. But as soon as Harry returns to Maine, sinister things start happening around him. Was his father’s death a mere accident or murder? While Harry struggles to get to the bottom of things, his own life is in peril and he may have to save more than one life before coming face to face with the grievous truth around his father’s death.


The Review:

I like those kind of books who dare you to finish them in a sitting, That make you go reading breathless, leaving behind your routine chores because they seem to insignificant compared to the storm the story’s pulling you in. And you take a deep breath and give in to the pressure rather delightedly.

Peter Swanson’s ‘All the Beautiful Lies’ is exactly that book.

Occasionally, I do enjoy an easy-going, less-taxing story, that doesn’t demand the grey matter to be heavily absorbed into deciphering underlying meanings or getting at the roots of multi-plot plots.

Again, Peter Swanson’s ‘All the Beautiful Lies’ is exactly that book.

This being my first Swanson novel, I did not know what to expect and that’s when you are happier. I realised I fell for each and every one of the characters right from Alice, to Harry, to Bill, to Alice’s mother, to Jake.

The chapters keep flitting between the then and now of Alice and Harry’s lives enabling the reader a comprehensive view of each of their histories and how their experiences maybe somehow responsible for their current day behaviors and actions.

While Harry is in a rush to figure what happened to his father on the last day of his life just before his death, significant number of clues start propping up into the story indicating him in a direction that is both revealing of his father’s murder and sucking him into what could be life-claiming for himself, if he is not careful. Harry is a student but his wits are ahead of him and it is quite amazing how he is able to put two and to together thus helping the reader to move on with the story rather than racking their brain on revelation after revelation.

For once, I loved Jake and Alice’s history and was relieved at how they ended up together but when the real story starts to unfold is when you see the picture getting murkier and characters getting nastier. You hold your breath then for what comes next which is as cunning as it is intriguing.

The plot flows seamlessly connecting threads from past and present thus arriving at a well-crafted, meticulously-planned, ending; one that will dazzle your mind. Peter Swanson loves revenge and appropriations, and his stories revolve around love, obsession, sex, deceit, murder, and all derivations of crime one can think of, leading to a perfect concoction of selfish deeds through reckless means.


In a nutshell, this is a book with an average plot with brilliantly built characters and a perfect crime setting, and that’s what makes it a fun read worth everyone’s time. This is not a blow-your-mind kind of a tale but it is one of those stories that remain with you thanks to its characters.

Read more about the author, Peter Swanson.

If you happen to read ‘All the Beautiful Lies’ or have already read it, do share your thoughts below.

©Asha’s Blog