BOOK REVIEW | ALL THE BEAUTIFUL LIES BY PETER SWANSON (SPOILER FREE)

Title: All The Beautiful Lies
Author: Peter Swanson
Pages: 308
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Published date: March 2018
Genre: Thriller, Suspense

From the acclaimed author of Her Every Fear and The Kind Worth Killing comes a diabolically clever tale of obsession, revenge, and cold-blooded murder—a sly and brilliant guessing game of a novel in the vein of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Patricia Highsmith.

Harry Ackerson has always considered his stepmother Alice to be sexy and beautiful, in an "otherworldly" way. She has always been kind and attentive, if a little aloof in the last few years.

Days before his college graduation, Alice calls with shocking news. His father is dead and the police think it’s suicide. Devastated, Harry returns to his father’s home in Maine. There, he and Alice will help each other pick up of the pieces of their lives and uncover what happened to his father.

Shortly after he arrives, Harry meets a mysterious young woman named Grace McGowan. Though she claims to be new to the area, Harry begins to suspect that Grace may not be a complete stranger to his family. But she isn’t the only attractive woman taking an interest in Harry. The sensual Alice is also growing closer, coming on to him in an enticing, clearly sexual way.

Mesmerized by these two women, Harry finds himself falling deeper under their spell. Yet the closer he gets to them, the more isolated he feels, disoriented by a growing fear that both women are hiding dangerous—even deadly—secrets . . . and that neither one is telling the truth. (Source: Goodreads)


When I first started reading this book, I didn't know what it was about. I picked this book on a whim at Book Xcess with my friends. (Ps: You can check out my post about Book Xcess by clicking the link!) Anyway, I was torn between buying this book or I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh. But I Let You Go was only available on the top shelf, which meant I had to call the sales worker to help me get the book. And talking to stranger is the last thing on my list. So I decided to just gamble and buy this book instead even though I knew nothing about it. I didn't even bother to read what it's about on Goodreads because I trust Peter Swanson that much after loving his The Kind Worth Killing.

But oh dear, how I should've learned from my lesson. This book talks about incest and pedophilia and a bunch of uncomfortable things that made me shudder. It was so uncomfortable I almost puked, literally. After finishing the book, I couldn't even talk, let alone look at my dad in the eye because I remember the book. What the character was talking inside his head just popped into my brain whenever my dad was near. I had to wait for him to leave the dining room for me to have my breakfast. Can you imagine how bad is it? It was definitely not something I want to experience again.

Long story short, this book is about Harry, who got a call from his young stepmother informing him his father just died on the day before his graduation. There, we started to dive deeper behind Harry's father death, to find out if it is really accident or is it revenge. 

And then a lot of uncomfortable things happen. But one thing I learned is that pedophiles are shitty as hell because not only they prey on children, they also invoked them to liking children once they get older. And it's really twisted and evil. And just straight up shite. 

Not to mention the details Peter Swanson wrote. Ugh. I guess for the second time reading something from him I can see the way he writes books. The structure of his world, the core of his characters. I have another book by him which I plan to read this month. Hopefully, it will be better than this one.

For this book, I wasn't really invested in Harry or his life. But I kept reading because I was curious as to see how the book will turn out. I wanted to see if the bad guy is going to get a deserving punishment or will he get away with it. I can't spoil but the ending is satisfying, is all I can say. 

If you plan to read this book, just don't HAHA. I guess if you love thriller, or if you don't know what to read, this might be okay for you because it's short. But if you're easily perturbed, then probably don't.

Rate: ★★★☆☆

4 Comments

  1. i am saying no with this kind of things incest and pedophilia like !!! tak pernah boleh terima

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    1. betul! ada satu lagi buku pasal student-teacher relationship. cikgu harass student tu and tak silap ni cerita benar. tapi taktau Kai sanggup baca ke tak buku tu đŸ€ą

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  2. Replies
    1. me too! this year I'm trying to read more thriller ;D

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