Category Archives: Maggie Barbieri

Review: Lie in Plain Sight by Maggie Barbieri

Title: Lie in Plain Sight by Maggie Barbieri
Maeve Conlon Series Book Three
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 335 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


It’s a busy day at the bakery Maeve Conlon owns when she receives a phone call from the high school saying Maeve’s employee’s daughter, Taylor Dvorak, is ill. Taylor’s mom is out on a delivery and Taylor has her own car, so harried Maeve gives the school nurse permission to send Taylor home on her own. But Taylor never makes it: Somewhere between the school and her house, she just vanishes.

Not only does Maeve feel responsible, but she can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to Taylor’s disappearance than meets the eye. So Maeve decides to take matters into her own capable hands. She finds that Farringville has a lot more to hide than most small towns, from the secretive high school girls’ soccer coach to Taylor’s estranged father and her troubled mother, and she gets to work shining a light on all these mysteries.

Balancing this dark undertaking and her relationship with a local policeman, Maeve will have to walk the fine line between justice and revenge carefully if she hopes to prevail in the next suspenseful novel from Maggie Barbieri.


Lie in Plain Sight, the third installment in Maggie Barbieri’s series featuring baker (and amateur sleuth) Maeve Conlon, is another perplexing and complex mystery.

When Taylor, the daughter of her newly hired employee Trish Dvorak, goes missing, Maeve cannot help but feel responsible.  Although Maeve’s boyfriend, Detective Chris Larsson, is on the case,  she knows both Chris and the small town police department are out of their depth so she begins investigating the disappearance on her own.  When she discovers another teenage girl from a neighboring town vanished without a trace under eerily similar circumstances the previous year, Maeve is convinced there is a connection between the two cases. 

Maeve is still a little impulsive and it does not take long for her to become obsessed with trying to find Taylor.  She often acts without thinking and while most of the time this is not a problem, she occasionally ends up some rather dangerous situations.  Determined, intelligent and headstrong, Maeve does not hesitate to act on her suspicions which often results in some rather unpleasant confrontations with the town’s residents.  Despite her slightly off center moral compass, Maeve has the best of intentions when she begins her investigation into Taylor’s disappearance and it is impossible to find fault with her reaction when she uncovers the truth.

Maeve’s personal life remains a bit of a mess and her relationships with daughter Heather, ex-husband Cal and boyfriend Chris continue to be complicated.  She and Heather are often at odds and their moments of closeness are fleeting since it does not take much for their interactions to rapidly deteriorate. Ex-husband Cal’s current marriage unexpectedly hits a rough patch and Maeve’s somewhat turbulent relationship with him becomes even more awkward and tense.  Her romance with Chris begins to falter under the weight of her dark secrets and her inability to completely honest with him about certain aspects of her life.  Throw in Maeve’s lack of confidence in Chris as a detective and their relationship becomes even more rocky.

Fast-paced with an intriguing storyline, Lie in Plain Sight is a riveting mystery that fans of the genre are sure to enjoy. With a long list of suspects and plenty of small town secrets, Maggie Barbieri brilliantly obscures the truth about Taylor’s disappearance until the novel’s dramatic conclusion. It is another wonderful (and quite possibly, last 🙁 ) installment in the Maeve Conlon series that I absolutely loved and highly recommend.

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Filed under Lie in Plain Sight, Maeve Conlon, Maggie Barbieri, Minotaur Books, Mystery, Rated B+, Review

Review: Once Upon a Lie by Maggie Barbieri

Title: Once Upon a Lie by Maggie Barbieri
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 301 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Maeve Conlon’s life is coming apart at the seams. Her bakery is barely making ends meet, and one of her daughters spends as much time grounded as the other does studying. Her ex-husband has a new wife, a new baby, and a look of pity for Maeve that’s absolutely infuriating. Her father insists he’s still independent, but he’s slowly and obviously succumbing to Alzheimer’s. And now, her cousin Sean Donovan has been found dead, sitting in his car in a public park, shot through the head.

There was never much love lost between Maeve and Sean and she’s not exactly devastated by his death, but suddenly the police are poking around asking the family questions. It’s just one more hassle Maeve doesn’t have time for, until she realizes that her father, whose memory and judgment are unreliable at best, is a suspect in the murder. Maeve is determined to clear his name, but is she prepared to cope with the dark memories and long-hidden secrets that doing so might dredge up?

Maggie Barbieri will mesmerize readers with Once Upon a Lie, a gripping novel about family, justice, and the choices we make that define who we are.

The Review:

Maggie Barbieri’s Once Upon a Lie is a suspense-laden mystery that takes many unexpected twists and turns. Not the typical police procedural, this compelling whodunnit is a fascinating story that I found impossible to put down.

Lead protagonist Maeve Conlon is one of the most complex and well-crafted characters that I have encountered in a very long time. On the surface, she is a typical harried divorced mom juggling the demands of caring for an aging parent, raising her teenage daughters and trying to keep her bakery in the black. She has a dry wit and off beat sense of humor that kept me giggling off and on throughout the story. Her patience with her father is never-ending and this part of the storyline is quite poignant and a little bit heartbreaking. Maeve is fiercely protective of her daughters and I just had to laugh at the lengths she is willing to go to in her attempts to keep them out of trouble.

But there is a dark side to Maeve that has its roots in her tangled past with Sean. Bits and pieces of her traumatic childhood are slowly revealed throughout Once Upon a Lie and although I had a pretty good idea of what Maeve’s secrets might be, the complete truth is still pretty shocking. What, if any, impact these past events have on the present remains unclear for most of the story and even with full knowledge of Maeve’s past, I was absolutely stunned by not only her actions, but the novel’s dramatic conclusion.

Once Upon a Lie is a riveting murder mystery with a well-developed and sympathetic cast of characters. The plot is unique and full of surprising twists and I cannot wait to see what Maggie Barbieri has planned for future installments inthis innovative and intriguing series.

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Filed under Contemporary, Macmillan, Maeve Conlon, Maggie Barbieri, Minotaur Books, Mystery, Once Upon a Lie, Rated B, Review