Category Archives: This Is How I Lied

Review: This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

Title: This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Park Row
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Everyone has a secret they’ll do anything to hide…

Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.

For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.


This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf is a gripping, tension-filled mystery.

At nearly eight months pregnant, Detective Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe thinks her boss, Chief Les Digby, wants to discuss putting her on light duty when he calls her to his office. Needless to say, she is shocked to learn that new evidence has been found in the still unsolved, twenty-five old murder of her best friend Eve Knox. Maggie jumps at the opportunity to investigate the cold case and submit both old and new evidence for testing. Will Maggie solve her best friend’s murder?

Eve’s murder was originally investigated in part by Maggie’s father Henry who was the police chief at the time. He is recently retired and suffering from dementia. Her brother, Colin, lives with their father who is occasionally prone to wandering off. Henry clearly remembers long ago events but his present day memories fade away within minutes. Although the case soon went cold, Maggie believes her father might have information that could help her with her investigation. But he becomes so upset when discussing the cold case, she is quick to change the subject. Does Henry know anything that is not in the official file?

Eve was more than just Maggie’s best friend; she was also their neighbor.  And Eve’s mother and sister, Nola, still live in the same house. Although she would rather avoid Nola, who has quite the reputation due to her very odd behavior, Maggie knows she has to inform the family the case is under new scrutiny. Just as Maggie feared, Nola is still rather creepy and she is relieved when their conversation is over. Shaken by her encounters with Nola, Maggie tries to stay clear of her, but Nola has every intention of bringing her sister’s killer to justice.

At home, Maggie’s husband Shaun is not at all happy about his wife’s involvement in the case. With the upcoming birth of their long-awaited baby, he wants her to do nothing to jeopardize her pregnancy. Maggie is shocked when she discovers unexpected information about him in Eve’s case file. But does this new-to-her detail have anything to do with Eve’s murder?

Shifting back in forth in time, This Is How I Lied is a fast-paced and atmospheric mystery. The characters are well-drawn with strange quirks, relatable flaws and appealing traits. The investigation uncovers interesting information but the real shocker occurs about at about the half-way mark.  With red herrings, clever misdirects and stunning plot twists, Heather Gudenkauf brings this engrossing mystery to an eye-popping, unanticipated denouement.  I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this outstanding mystery to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Heather Gudenkauf, Mystery, Park Row Books, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, This Is How I Lied