The Book Club — All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

2 min readJan 15, 2021

All the Beautiful Lies is a thriller written by Peter Swanson. With a rating of 3.62 on Goodreads, I can’t say I was overly enthusiastic to give it a go but as it arrived in the A Box of Stories subscription box, I felt it would be the easiest read of the four books. I was right.

“In a dark and brilliant guessing game of a novel, Peter Swanson once again displays his unique gift for reprising and refreshing mystery writing’s greatest tropes.

On the eve of his college graduation, Harry is called home by his step-mother Alice, to their house on the Maine coast, following the unexpected death of his father.

But who really is Alice, his father’s much younger second wife? In a brilliant split narrative, Peter Swanson teases out the stories and damage that lie in her past. And as her story entwines with Harry’s in the present, things grow increasingly dark and threatening — will Harry be able to see any of it clearly through his own confused feelings?”

I am always dubious about stories boasting split narratives because they can be notoriously difficult to follow. On this occasion though, I am left surprised. The split narrative compliments the plot perfectly and the story flows easily with the help of the characters.

Some of the characters did lack a little sparkle, and I don’t feel I really made a connection with them — they felt quite empty. However, they performed well in their roles and grew into the space allocated for them. They even performed the admirable task of guiding me through the plot.

Overall, I really enjoyed All the Beautiful Lies and, if you like a thriller that is also an easy read then this is a book for you.

Originally published at on January 15, 2021.




Left Wing (ish) Entrepreneur, Historian, Feminist (ish), Writer.