Book Review: Lies that Bind – Maggie Barbieri

lies-that-bindTitle: Lies that Bind
Author: Maggie Barbieri
ISBN: 9781250011701
Pages: 336
Release Date: February 17, 2015
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Mystery
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Maeve’s life has settled down since the events of Once Upon a Lie, and she’s making ends meet and providing for her two daughters at her bakery. But when the unthinkable happens, and Maeve’s ailing father dies, she’s bereft. When she learns that her father may have been keeping secrets from her, secrets that could change Maeve’s life, she’s determined to follow the trail and discover the truth, no matter what it may lead to.

Review:

The other day, I was in the mood for a good mystery, one that would capture me from the very first page and that I’d want to read in one sitting. I enjoyed the first book in Barbieri’s Maeve Conlon series, so picking this up seemed like a sure thing, and I’m glad to say my instinct was right. Barbieri pulled me right back into Maeve’s world, and I raced through this novel, eager to see where Maeve ended up.

Can you pick Lies that Bind up if you haven’t read the first in the series? Yes, definitely. I appreciated that Barbieri made her book stand on its own; I read enough such that the details of books often fade, and if the author is relying on me to remember 100% of the nuances of the story of a previous book, well, I’m usually somewhat lost. Not only did Barbieri write an excellent thriller that can stand alone, but she didn’t ruin the ending of the first book. This means you can easily read this novel, and then go back and read Once Upon a Lie if you wish.

Maeve’s a great character who’s a bit of an enigma in Lies that Bind. Does she always make the best decisions? No. She’s a bit of an absent parent, and her priorities don’t always make sense. But Maeve’s compulsive personality is part of her charm. She has to see things through, no matter what happens, and oftentimes the cost is dear. It’s interesting to watch the different threads of this novel come together to make Maeve’s already difficult life even more complicated.

Want a great series of novels featuring a strong, but imperfect and messy, woman? Then Maggie Barbieri is who you should be reading. Barbieri expertly balances plot and character, making these quiet and contemplative mystery novels. I enjoyed these first two books and am very much looking forward to what comes next.

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Book Review: Once Upon a Lie – Maggie Barbieri

Once Upon a Lie coverTitle: Once Upon a Lie
Author: Maggie Barbieri
ISBN: 9781250011671
Pages: 304
Release Date: December 10, 2013
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Mystery
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Maeve Conlon’s life wasn’t exactly great before she found out that her cousin Sean was found murdered. And now? Things have somehow become even worse. Her bakery is struggling, her teenage daughters are difficult, and her ex-husband’s new baby is just infuriating. Oh, that, and the police have zeroed in on her Alzheimer’s-ridden father as Sean’s murderer. Maeve must continue to juggle her many priorities while also convincing the police that her father couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with Sean’s death.

Snapshot Review:

Maggie Barbieri examines the notion of family in Once Upon a Lie through the prism of Sean’s murder. It’s a thrilling novel, filled with complicated relationships and an investigation into the meaning of justice. Crime fiction and mystery fans shouldn’t hesitate to pick this one up.

Full Review:

Family. It’s complicated. Maeve knows that very well, as she argues with her daughters, bites her tongue when her ex-husband flaunts his new-found happiness, and scolds her father for “escaping” from his care home. But Maeve loves her family more than anything and will protect them as fiercely as she can—that is, except for Sean. Maeve didn’t have anything nice to say about Sean when he was alive, and she can’t help but be relieved that he’s dead. But when the police begin sniffing around her family for a motive, she knows she must take matters into her own hands. It’s this examination of family relationships that gives Once Upon a Lie an added depth, more than most mystery novels.

The twists and turns in Once Upon a Lie make for entertaining (and gripping) reading. This is a novel you could easily devour in one sitting. As more comes to light about Sean and his proclivities, readers will race through the novel, wanting to know who, in the end, brought justice to this despicable character. Indeed, justice is a theme that runs throughout the novel; what should be done when you can’t protect those you love? It’s thought-provoking questions like this that make this novel worth reading.

Maeve is an excellently written character; her confident voice carries the reader through the story. She’s smart, resourceful, and very witty; Barbieri did a great job bringing her to life. Indeed, all the characters in this novel, both major and minor, are well written and engaging. This is a book you’ll be sad to put down; it’s easy to become immersed in this world that Barbieri has created. It’s an excellently constructed mystery novel that readers of the genre will revel in, while those who enjoy character driven stories will appreciate how well Barbieri wrote Maeve. Here’s hoping that Barbieri is planning on revisiting Maeve soon in a future novel, as I’m not quite ready to say goodbye.

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