All the Best Lies – Joanna Schaffhausen

Title – All the Best Lies

Author – Joanna Schaffhausen

Published – 2020

Genre – Crime fiction

This was a book I received as a physical review copy – possibly the only physical #bookpost I’ve had in 2020.

The blurb tells me that this is the third in the ‘Ellery Hathaway’ series – something I’ll come back to later.

The main characters are FBI agent Reed Markham and his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway. Markham is suddenly presented with the opportunity to work on a cold case that has a very special connection to him. The case is the murder of a young woman who was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while her baby lay in his crib mere steps away. The connection – Markham was that baby.

Markham enlists Hathaway’s help as they decamp to Las Vegas and try to pick up a forty year old trail. The original investigation focused on one potential suspect but Markham and Hathaway quickly manage to expand this to a larger pool as they discover that the original investigation may not have been as thorough as it could have been. Markham and Hathaway have different ideas about the direction they should take and there are some twists and red herrings along the way.

This was as much about family as it was about the investigation, although the rather dramatic nature of both main characters’ backgrounds didn’t make this feel like it offered much in social or psychological commentary.

There are a number of reasons this was a three-star read. I wasn’t paying enough attention and thought that the blurb on the cover about ‘An accomplished debut’ referred to this book, so felt a bit misled. Ellery doesn’t seem to be the main character, despite this being the third in her series. There was far too much reference to previous events – I could understand the plot and backstory without as much description and reference as was included. If you had read the preceding books in the series you might have found this even more repetitive. There was a a lot of focus on the development of the relationship of the two main characters (which related to the backstory) and I wasn’t particularly fussed, I would have preferred less of this and more action.

Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy.


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