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All the Beautiful Lies

A Novel
Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins
3 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

From the acclaimed author of Her Every Fear and The Kind Worth Killing comes a diabolically clever tale of obsession, revenge, and cold-blooded murder - a sly and brilliant guessing game of a novel in the vein of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Patricia Highsmith. 

Harry Ackerson has always considered his stepmother, Alice, to be sexy and beautiful in an "otherworldly" way. She has always been kind and attentive, if a little aloof in the last few years. 

Days before his college graduation, Alice calls with shocking news. His father is dead, and the police think it's suicide. Devastated, Harry returns to his father's home in Maine. There, he and Alice will help each other pick up the pieces of their lives and uncover what happened to his father. 

Shortly after he arrives, Harry meets a mysterious young woman named Grace McGowan. Though she claims to be new to the area, Harry begins to suspect that Grace may not be a complete stranger to his family. But she isn't the only attractive woman taking an interest in Harry. The sensual Alice is also growing closer, coming on to him in an enticing, clearly sexual way. 

Mesmerized by these two women, Harry finds himself falling deeper under their spell. Yet the closer he gets to them, the more isolated he feels, disoriented by a growing fear that both women are hiding dangerous - even deadly - secrets...and that neither one is telling the truth. 

©2018 Peter Swanson (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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Profile Image for Eric Mochnacz
  • Eric Mochnacz
  • 07-05-18

Not one of Swanson's best...

I have found Peter Swanson to be a unique voice in suspense thrillers since I picked up "The Kind Worth Killing." It was also one of the first audiobooks I listened to with different narrators. That story was suspensful, mysterious and full of double crosses and "oh my god" moments, I devoured his next one. So, when friends in a book club shared that he had released "All the Beautiful Lies", I needed to download it immediately.

Ultimately, I was disappointed. Where Swanson has been sleek in his writing in his past two books, I felt the writing in this one was clunky and overbearing. I also felt the characters in "All the Beautiful Lies" weren't clearly written and were missing dimension, so I wasn't invested in what happened to them. Harry, who I thought was the lead character, was boring and had no qualities that made him stand out as a strong literary character. Even Alice, also important to the story, was one-dimensional - and although she could be painted as a villain - she wasn't even a villain I cheered for (which has sometimes happened in previous Swanson works.) The characters are all so emotionless and bland, that they seem crammed together into a story where the connections don't work. The narrative voice changes often. Although this is a strategy Swanson has employed in the past, it didn't work this time. The story became overcrowded...and since he loves his "twists", I spent more time trying to predict the twist involving a secondary character, rather than investing in these lame characters.

This book does deal with heavy themes, especially the effects of pedophilia and sexual abuse on individuals. However, it almost seems like these behaviors are "glamorized" to propel the story. I felt, at times, Swanson almost wanted the read to sympathize with Jake and Alice, although their actions were deplorable.

I would also argue that maybe the narration led to my lack of investment. Mollo-Christensen's voice was soothing almost to the point of boring. I don't like over dramatic narrators, but she bordered on reading the book in the same tone the entire time.

By the end, I was bored and didn't really care what happened to any of the characters.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for shelley
  • shelley
  • 04-04-18

LISTENERS BEWARE!


This is a VERY DARK novel.
It crosses the lines of adults having sexual relationships that border on incestuous between step parents and the teenage children of their spouses. Though technically not incest, the perspective ages of teenagers being seduced by 40ish something adults may make this book unappealing to some.
The story unfolds in two time periods -then and now. There's Alice growing up with an alcoholic mother and her step father (Jake). Her mother's death (murder?) and Alice alone with Jake. Then there's Alice as the step mother with her deceased (murder or suicide?) husband's son, Harry.
Abuse perpetuates abuse.
When a young woman shows up in town who claims she was Harry's father's lover, she is murdered. Then her sister shows up. There's danger around every corner for her.
The characters are cold take matters into their own hands to survive in their own idealistic world. Though it never comes to fruition.
Except for Harry and the murdered woman's sister, I could not muster up a warm feeling for any of the other characters.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

103 of 122 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Stephanie Poninski
  • Stephanie Poninski
  • 10-04-18

Lolita Gone Bad

This is a far cry from the well-written and interesting, The Kind Worth Killing. The plot was implausible and predictable. I felt like I was listening to a Lifetime movie. None of the characters were likable and all were cliche. Save your time and money on this one.

21 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Tabitha
  • Tabitha
  • 07-04-18

Pretty Good for a Peter Swanson Book

Potential spoilers: If you liked The Kind Worth Killing, you will probably like this one. It’s better than his book from last year, Her Every Fear, but still filled with similar cliched literary tropes and far fetched all-too-convenient plot points. The main female protagonist/antagonist Alice is a thinly-veiled reimagining of Lily from The Kind Worth Killing. In classic Swanson style, the characters are all emotionless and unlikable, the writing is plodding and methodical, the story is absolutely packed with plot twist and unforeseen connections until the very last page and people getting away with murder for decades and underage girls being sexually assaulted and EXTREMELY banal dialogue. If you like his formulaic writing style and dark topics this is for you!

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-08-19

Tiffany

I knew I should of went with instinct at the beginning of the book and returned it. Instead I listened and waited for something to happen remotely suspenseful. It never did. Predictable and nothing like Paula Hawkins or Ruth Ware. Please quit comparing books to these authors. The characters were dull and boring. It was a very dark book that went nowhere. At the end I was actually glad for what happened to the main character (I won’t spoil it) don’t waste your time or credits on this book. I doubt I will ever listen or read this author again

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Debbie
  • Debbie
  • 07-10-19

Great storyline

I didn't really enjoy the narrators voice all the time but the story was compelling and I wanted to continue to listen. Really enjoy this author!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Beth Fix
  • Beth Fix
  • 10-09-19

Many twists and turns

I loved this book. Many twists from beginning to end and this one ends very well also. I definitely recommend. I also loved the narrator and the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-07-19

review

Didn't care for the narrator's "male" voices. The story was good. Overall I enjoyed it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for D. WARD
  • D. WARD
  • 29-06-19

loved it

I almost returned this book after I started it because the narrater had such a soft voice ...I just disnt conbect initially. But i stayed with it because of the great reviews. Glad I did...what a great story. Beautifully written and I now love this narrator.!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for lauren
  • lauren
  • 23-07-18

Good twist but becomes repetitive

The twist were amazing and you won’t see them coming... at least I didn’t. Swanson also plays each chapter as “then” vs “now” setting up the characters but after part two of the book it becomes unnecessary. The narrator did a great job nothing to make you leave the story. I actually finished it with in a few days because it was constantly setting up or revealing another aspect. If you’re a fan of The Kind Worth Killing then you may be split on this read. It’s not as good but for sure worth a read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful