Book Title: The Weight of Lies
Author: Emily Carpenter
Series: None (But I’m rooting for a companion novel of Kitten!)
Genres: Mystery, Psychological Suspense, Thriller, Fiction
Date Read: 02/14/17
Pub Date: 06/06/17
Reformed party girl Meg Ashley leads a life of a privilege, thanks to a bestselling horror novel her mother wrote decades ago. But Meg knows that the glow of their very public life hides a darker reality of lies, manipulation, and the heartbreak of her own solitary childhood. Desperate to break free of her mother, Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir.
Digging into the past—and her mother’s cult classic—draws Meg to Bonny Island, Georgia and an unusual woman said to be the inspiration for the book. At first, island life seems idyllic, but as Meg starts to ask tough questions, disturbing revelations come to light…including some about her mother.
Soon, Meg’s search leads her to question the facts of a decades-old murder. She’s warned to leave it alone, but as the lies pile up, Meg knows she’s getting close to finding a murderer. When her own life is threatened, Meg realizes the darkness found in her mother’s book is nothing compared to the chilling truth that lurks off the page.
Oh, excuse me. I was busy staring at that gorgeous cover. I’ve actually been eyeballing that cover ever since we posted the reveal on this blog a few months back; it’s what initially drew me into wanting to read the book. This is most certainly a book you can judge by the cover because it’s brilliant! Be prepared for a gushing, swooning, fangirling review of the most exciting sense. This was a very structured, complex book, so I’m going to break it down below for you, spoiler free of course. If you choose not to read the full review, just note that this book comes highly recommended from me and is in the running for one of my top reads of 2017!
First let’s touch on the plot. Yes, I know, I hardly ever discuss the plot points of the stories I review, but this one needs a small discussion to prepare the reader for what they are in for, a large dose of exciting and unique storytelling. If you read the blurb above then you realize that the main plot involves protagonist Meg, daughter to mega superstar and horror writer Frances Ashley (think fame level of Stephen King but hyped up a bit more). Bonus points as our main character is a person of color and issues of racism/sexism are incorporated into the plot, so this is no sugar coated “white person saves the day” ordeal. *hand clap* The main plot in it’s most basic sense involves Meg trying to uncover secrets about her mother and the book she wrote in relation to real life crimes that occurred at the “real life” hotel that is a setting in her book. Still with me? Great. Next comes the alternating chapters; these are excerpts from Frances Ashley’s book titled Kitten and correspond with the main plot chapters in a way that you’ll pick up on as you read the book. While we’re on the subject of Kitten, I must say that I found myself so intrigued in this inception like book-within-a-book ordeal that I feel a companion novel of the entire Kitten story would be something I’d devour in an instant. Yes, most of the mystery is revealed in The Weight of Lies, but I think it would be a mind blowing read even knowing what I already know about the book. To sum it up, these two components, along with a handful of blog posts from fan sites, are what comprise TWOL. I know it sounds confusing, but I promise as you read it makes complete sense and flows well.
This was a wonderfully diverse book that touched on a good bit of tough issues that are comprised in a fictional account, yet examples of real world problems we currently face. Much of the story focuses on various Native American tribes and the atrocities that were committed against them and what was stolen from them. I absolutely love how Emily has written a story that slaps you in the face with reality; here you will not find hand holding and you must check your white privilege at the door, yet on the flip side there is also not a sense of white shaming here. This was simply a story stating how things are without apology and I find it encouraging. It is always refreshing for me to read about the struggles faced by people of different backgrounds and races than my own; I think it’s important to be consistently reminded that, while I didn’t have a say in my DNA, I can choose to use my voice to make other’s heard.
The thing that stood out most to me in regards to the plot is it’s simultaneous complexity and compulsiveness. There are quite literally no words I have to describe what I just read; I simply want to hand a book to all fans of psychological suspense and say “Read this so we can talk about it and use all the words I can’t in my spoiler free review”. I’ve not read a book anywhere close to this before; it has the creepy vibe and unique formatting of Night Film, the in depth characterization of a Gillian Flynn novel, all while somehow seeming more intelligent than either of those with a flare of it’s own pizazz. You caught me, I’ve been waiting to use the word pizazz for months now in a review. My point is, this book gives you the satiety of a book that is layered with robust characters and a growing sense of dread all while having the quick pace and laid back air of a book that isn’t pretentious or pompous. I flew through the pages, and when I wasn’t reading the book I was thinking about it, donning my detective cap and trying to solve multiple mysteries at once. I may have contemplated using our basement as one of those crime scene rooms at the police station with all the pictures on the wall and red yarn. Mr. Humphrey said no. 😦
I think I’ve rambled long enough, but my main point is READ THE DANG BOOK! I know, it doesn’t come out for a few months, but pre-order it! This is one that is worth purchasing, trust me. I can’t sing praises highly enough for this novel; I truly loved Carpenter’s Burying the Honeysuckle Girls last year and was so pleased to have found that her books just get better (if that’s possible) with each one she writes. My brain can’t comprehend how she kept everything straight to formulate the structure for this book, but let’s just say I’m glad it was her and not me. I truly didn’t have the ending figured out and was very pleased with the entire plot, beginning to end. Well done and I’m so excited to read more reviews on this one as it’s let loose into the wild!
*Many thanks to Emily for my early copy; it was a delight and a privilege to read it so early and I can’t wait to see what your brilliant brain dreams up next! ❤