ARC Review: This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf [Blog Tour]

(Last Updated On: May 15, 2020)

Welcome friends to my post on Harlequin Trade Publishing’s blog tour for This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf, which is out now!

If you are looking for a dark and twisty whodunit and how mystery that will keep you guessing, look no further than This is How I Lied! Click To Tweet


About This is How I Lied

Publisher: Park Row Books  |  Release Date: May 12, 2020  |  Pages: 352
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller  |  Format: eARC  |  Source: Publisher via Netgalley

This is How I Lied coverWith the eccentricity of Fargo and the intensity of Sadie, THIS IS HOW I LIED by Heather Gudenkauf (Park Row Books; May 12, 2020; $17.99) is a timely and gripping thriller about careless violence we can inflict on those we love, and the lengths we will go to make it right, even 25 years later.

Tough as nails and seven months pregnant, Detective Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe of Grotto PD, is dreading going on desk duty before having the baby her and her husband so badly want. But when new evidence is found in the 25-year-old cold case of her best friend’s murder that requires the work of a desk jockey, Maggie jumps at the opportunity to be the one who finally puts Eve Knox’s case to rest.

Maggie has her work cut out for her. Everyone close to Eve is a suspect. There’s Nola, Eve’s little sister who’s always been a little… off; Nick, Eve’s ex-boyfriend with a vicious temper; a Schwinn riding drifter who blew in and out of Grotto; even Maggie’s husband Sean, who may have known more about Eve’s last day than he’s letting on. As Maggie continues to investigate, the case comes closer and closer to home, forcing her to confront her own demons before she can find justice for Eve.

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My Review of This is How I Lied

This is How I Lied is a heavy, powerful, and twisty read. Reading this book was uncomfortable at times, resulting in an unnerving reading experience where I didn’t know who to trust.

“Dark places made it so much easier to be cruel, to exact revenge.”

Maggie’s best friend was murdered 25 years ago and she’s now been assigned to work on her cold case. Told in the present-day perspectives of Maggie and Nola (Eve’s sister) along with Eve’s perspective of her final day, Gudenkauf crafts a gripping mystery where the focus is whodunit and why.

I mentioned the book made me uncomfortable, and that’s because the characters are all pretty horrible. I’ll say it: being inside of Nola’s head was unnerving! That’s kind of the point, but I didn’t really connect with Maggie for some reason, which at times made it difficult for me to care. I found myself most invested in Eve’s storyline leading up to the time of her murder. I enjoyed how Gudenkauf parsed out that information alongside the present-day investigation.

Each character and narrator holds a piece of the puzzle, and I like how the gaps to their knowledge played into their perspectives. There are also some mixed-media elements and doctor’s notes included, but for me I wasn’t sure how useful they are and in some places they repeat info rather than reveal clues. There is one thing about the mystery that just… doesn’t make sense based on the narrative, which did take me out of the story a bit unfortunately, but barring that tiny aspect, I enjoyed the twists and turns.

Gudenkauf’s writing is highly descriptive and I could envision myself in the story alongside the narrators. With fast pacing and a quick-wit, you will come up with a lot of theories about what truly happened… and with a cast of characters as bleak as this, there’s no shortage of suspects.

“Over the years, I lost my mom, my innocence and my best friend. This street has been a graveyard to me.”

The prologue captivated me immediate with the final moments of Eve’s life. I want to mention that this book handles a lot of difficult and potentially triggering subject matter, so please be sure to read my content warnings to ensure you are in the right headspace before picking it up. Poor Eve had a difficult life that only lasted 15 years, and from her abusive boyfriend to the creepy neighbor there are a lot of suspects in who killed her. I appreciate how this relationship is depicted and think it is important to depict abusive relationships where the character is trying to stand up and escape, but also how manipulating an abuser can be and how easy it is for them to regain control.

Overall, I found This is How I Lied to be a gripping read. I enjoyed feeling intensely uncomfortable and trying to figure out what happened. There is one twist that just doesn’t logically make sense to me, but I want to leave no spoilers so those interested can discover everything for themselves.

Content warnings: abusive relationship (physical and emotional, absent parenting, animal death & alluded torture, bullying, death of a parent, gaslighting, infertility and loss of pregnancies, murder, sexism, sexual assault, statutory rape, suicidal thoughts, victim blaming

eARC provided by the publisher as part of the blog tour in exchange for my honest review. Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and subject to change upon final publication.


About the Author

Heather Gudenkauf photoHeather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running.


Thanks so much for reading, friends! What do you think about This is How I Lied? Is this a book that is on your TBR, or have you read it yet? I’d love to chat with you in the comments below.

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  1. Dedra @ A Book Wanderer

    May 18, 2020 at 12:57 PM

    I’ve been seeing this one everywhere! I’m intrigued. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Kal

      June 2, 2020 at 7:49 PM

      Thanks you and I hope you enjoy if you pick it up!

  2. Shannon

    May 18, 2020 at 4:01 PM

    I just finished this one and totally agree with your review – I had a hard time connecting to any of the characters, and parts were a little unbelievable, but ultimately I enjoyed it!

    1. Kal

      June 2, 2020 at 7:51 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed the book overall and thanks for reading!

  3. Ngoc

    May 28, 2020 at 6:34 AM

    This sounds like it’d be such a gripping read! The way you described how it made you feel reminded me of how I felt reading The Best Lies – I’m still trying to recover from that, but next time I feel like a good mystery/thriller I’ll be sure to check this one out!

    1. Kal

      June 3, 2020 at 6:11 PM

      It definitely was gripping and my GOODNESS did the book make me feel uncomfortable! I am going to have to check out The Best Lies… I love the thought of needing time to recover haha

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