Review: To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

Title: To Tell You the Truth
Author: Gilly Macmillan
Published: September 2020, William Morrow
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Source: Publisher via TLC Booktours

The acclaimed author of The Nanny, The Perfect Girl, and What She Knew—“a writer to watch” (Publishers Weekly)—returns
with another serpentine thriller that is a potent blend of atmosphere,
tarnished memories, mystery, and twisty secrets from the past.

mystery writer Lucy Harper’s talent for invention has given her fame,
fortune, and an army of adoring readers. It has also saddled her with
dependents, namely her fawning husband Dan.

When Dan suddenly
goes missing, his disappearance evokes dark memories that take Lucy back
more than thirty years—to the day her brother vanished without a trace.
That’s when Lucy began conjuring stories. The police investigation
revealed few confirmed details, so she created tales to fill in the
gaps, to explain what happened that day her brother disappeared—and
young Lucy was the only witness.

Now decades later, with the
whole world watching, Lucy’s past and present are colliding, and this
bestselling author skilled in telling stories is losing control of her
own narrative. 

Where is Dan? What happened to Lucy’s brother?
And is the brilliant mystery writer—an expert in devising red herrings
and hidden clues—revealing all she knows about both disappearances?

twists and turns, Gilly Macmillan reveals the answers in this clever
and compulsively readable mystery sure to thrill fans of Ruth Ware and
Shari LaPena.

My thoughts: Ever since reading Gilly Macmillan’s debut novel, What She Knew,
back in 2015, I knew this was an author I was going to follow and read
everything she wrote…and so far she has not let me down! I love that
she has her books with familiar characters – DI Jim Clemo  – and then
has her stand-alones, and each and every one stands out as having just
enough twists and turns to keep you engaged without going over the top
and they are also brilliantly crafted, and this latest one is no

I am always such a fan of the whole book-within-a-book concept and it is done so well here. I also loved how layered this story really was. It alternates between the past around the time Lucy’s younger brother goes missing and the present to the days leading up to and after the disappearance of  Lucy’s husband. It really keeps you guessing as to if and how these two story-lines might be connected.

I loved that there were so many questionable characters involved, including Lucy herself. I am always such a fan of the unreliable narrator and that is Lucy in spades. Who as an adult still has an imaginary friend? But on top of that, Dan, Lucy’s husband is a frustrated writer and things have been a bit contentious at home lately. When he goes missing, of course, all eyes turn to Lucy. Did she do it? 

The twists and turns kept me flipping the pages and I could not keep up. On top of everything else, there are the woods nearby that just add to the overall suspense and set the atmosphere for this book. I loved this one and found myself completely engaged and trying to put the pieces together to no avail. Gilly Macmillan is definitely in top form with this one and I cannot wait to see what comes next from her! 

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