I received this book for free from the Bought, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I Love It When You Lie by Kristen Bird
Published by MIRA on March 14, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Thrillers / Crime, Fiction / Thrillers / Domestic, Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological, Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Bought, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
The Williams women don’t just keep secrets…They bury them.The three Williams girls are as close as sisters can be, and they also share one special trait in common: each of them has a man in her life that she could do without.Tara, the pastor’s wife, has been stealing money from the church and would prefer that her husband stay out of it. Then there’s June, who would do anything to have a baby of her own, even if her husband is dead set against it. Clementine, the youngest, is entangled in an affair with her professor, a man whose behavior she's starting to seriously question. Their sister-in-law Stephanie, an outsider, knows all the family dirt and is watching the three of them—and the men in their lives—closely.
When the woman who raised them, their beloved Gran, dies on the eve of her eightieth birthday, the Williams sisters return home to the Appalachian foothills to bury her. But their grandmother won’t be the only one they’ll put in a grave this weekend…because now someone has gone missing in the dark Appalachian woods.And if Gran has taught them anything, it’s how to get rid of a good-for-nothin’ man.
"Exceptional.... This tale of sisterhood is un-put-downable."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A wicked blend of family secrets, sibling resentment and small-town ways. Wondering how to get away with murder? The Williams sisters know.”—Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Irresistible and compulsive, this book is packed full of surprises."—Samantha Downing, internationally bestselling author of My Lovely Wife
It’s gripping mystery/suspense time! Happy Wednesday and I have an excerpt from Kristen Bird’s latest release, I LOVE IT WHEN YOU LIE. My review of this fabulously dark novel follows.
The Sheriff’s Office in Willow Gap, Alabama, One Week After
It would’ve been a touching moment except for the reality of the grave at their feet. Gran’s grave. I shiver just thinking about the three Williams sisters standing in the family cemetery, their arms entwined, gazing up at the sunrise, all that cool Alabama clay piled beside them, their fingernails packed with the red earth, the stench of what they’d done in their nostrils. It was Decoration Sunday, the one day of the year when the entire family descended on Gran’s property to pay respect to the dead and gossip about those still living.
Tara, June, and Clementine Williams are my sisters-in-law. For so long, I’ve waited for the day that their little coven would topple some man’s ivory tower. Now that the time has come, I realize that each of us has a man that we might be better off without, but only one of us is lucky enough to have actually rid ourselves of him.
Four men: a preacher, a doctor, a professor, and a mayor. One goes missing. It’s like our own little Willow Gap edition of Clue. How charming.
Sheriff Brady Dean, his badge shining in the interrogation lights, brings me back to the moment at hand, the moment of reckoning. The aged sheriff wants to know what I know, wants me to spill all the whys, whens, wheres, and hows of the Williams sisters over the past forty-eight hours.
“I’m sure you know why you’re here, Mrs. Williams.” The words emerge like a sigh. He’s been after this family for more than thirty years, ever since he was first elected. Poor guy. Must be exhausted.
I meet the sheriff eye to eye, tapping my recently painted nails—Los Angeles Latte, the dark bottle of polish had read—against the metal table in the claustrophobic office where he’s brought me for questioning. Not that I’m the one in trouble here.
My husband, Walker Williams, knew Sheriff Dean before Walker and I ever met and married a decade ago. Some say ours was a Yankee seduction, but I don’t care. Walker has been the mayor now for eight years, and they have to put up with me, the damn Yank in their midst.
I think of my three children—Walker Jr. and Auggie and Bella—their features too much like my husband’s. They’re fine, I remind myself. They’re with the nanny while I’m here tying up all of the loose ends. I shake my head to dislodge their faces from my mind. It’s important that I focus. I must get this right.
“Call me Ms. Chadrick. Or Stephanie. I’ll be using my maiden name soon enough,” I tell the sheriff.
Sheriff Dean clears his throat, and I follow his eyes to my hand. I’m still wearing my massive diamond, the one Walker bought for our last anniversary. To ten years, baby, and a lifetime more, he’d said as he slipped it on my finger in our Nashville hotel room. I’m not planning to part with my jewelry just because my husband can’t keep his dick in his pants.
I blink innocently at the sheriff and twist my ring around, pressing the stone into my palm until it bites. “I’m here to tell you what I saw after Gran Williams’s funeral. Isn’t that right?”
“Yes’m.” The sheriff lets out a heavy breath that reaches all the way down to the gut hanging over his belt. “I know these women are your husband’s sisters, but we’re hoping…”
“Soon to be ex-husband,” I fire back, reminding him once again.
“Fine. As I was saying, we’re hoping you’ll be willing to give us an account of the movement of your sisters-in-law these past few days. With a missing person, time is of the essence.”
He gives me one of those indulgent smiles saved only for a wronged woman. He knows about my cheating bastard of a spouse, and I breathe, reminding myself again that I’m in good company. Jackie O., Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary—all of these fine ladies were cheated on by their infamous yet politically savvy husbands. Remembering them makes it easier for me to deal with the fact that everyone knows about Walker and his lying ways.
When I first moved here from DC, I thought my new husband and his town were adorable, quaint even. As I prepared for Walker’s bid for mayor, I even got a kick out of researching its history at the local library, trying to understand the place where generations of Walker’s family had lived for so long.
Alabama. Some historians say the word is from a Native American language and means “tribal town” or “vegetation gatherers.” My favorite definition of the word, though, was penned by one Alexander Beauford Meek, a highly unreliable
source, but isn’t that what history is made of? Mr. Meek said that the word means “here we rest.” Alabama: here we rest. It’s deliciously spooky, isn’t it? Like something from one of those Faulkner stories I couldn’t get enough of in college.
To be fair though, my problem isn’t actually with the great state of Alabama. It’s with these people, this town, this family. They forget so easily that I’m a part of them now, for better or worse. They forget that I know where all the bodies are buried, and I’m not just talking about their kinfolk in the family cemetery a couple hundred yards down the hill from Gran’s house.
The sheriff clears his throat and tries again. “As I was sayin’, we’re hopin’ you can give us a clearer account of who all was there and what exactly went on, so we can understand what led to our missing person. He’s an important man, a good man, and the last time anyone laid eyes on him was Saturday evening a few hours after the funeral at Gran Williams’s cabin.”
Our missing person. There’s something so possessive in the phrase. I almost giggle, realizing that this man is handing me my chance on a silver platter, an opportunity to expose every inch of the Williams family drama.
“Sheriff, ask me any question, and I’ll tell you exactly what you want to hear.” I cross my legs and study my cuticles. “Although, if you want to know the whole truth, you need to go a lot further back than the past few days.”
I take a sip of the coffee he brought me earlier and stretch my arms in front of me as if preparing for a catnap. I wonder if the sheriff realizes just how far back he needs to reach, how far down he needs to dig until he hits something like the truth.
The sheriff nods at me to continue, and I notice again the plump circles hanging under his eyes. He sneezes into the crook of his arm and settles in for the real reason why people involved with the Williams family might just disappear.
I sit up straighter. “All right, then. Let’s start with the dead one.”
Excerpted from I Love It When You Lie. Copyright © 2023 by Kristen Bird. Published by MIRA Books.
I LOVE IT WHEN YOU LIE starts with a missing person, an interrogation, and an introduction to a family with strong Southern women who will do anything for each other. This book lets you know that someone has gone missing right off the bat, but the truth unravels slowly, taking a circuitous route until the truth is finally revealed in the end. This is a story of family and the tragedies that bind them together–for good and bad.
We start with the death of the grandmother, Pearl. She never hesitated once she learned her son and daughter-in-law died in a car accident, marching right on in to take her four grandbabies out of the disgusting foster home they’d been placed in for a week. For the next several decades, she singlehandedly raised three girls and one boy, giving them the loving home that they so desperately needed. But their past in the town their ancestors founded is clouded with mysteries and secrets, making their family a target for the serious sheriff who thinks the grandmother killed her husband in the nineties.
The older brother is the mayor and his Northerner wife has stood by him faithfully for years. The sheriff thinks he has a shot at the truth by interviewing Stephanie, who he views as an outsider to the Williams family. Woven throughout the novel is her explanations and cover up for that fateful night, as well as a heaping dose of philandering and dirty deeds. The three Williams sisters are very different but have each others’ backs like no one else could. June is married to a preacher, but his devotion to his parishioners leaves her and her daughter out in the cold. Nurse Tara is married to an Hispanic doctor who definitely sticks out in rural Alabama, and all she wants is a child of her own. And Clementine is dating a college English professor who is very married.
The siblings gather to commemorate their grandmother on what was supposed to be her eightieth birthday. With most of the town coming to remember Pearl, the family just has to keep it together a little longer. While we know one of the men with the Williams women has gone missing, we don’t know who or how or why until the very end. And I enjoyed the journey through the women’s tangled history. Their lives haven’t been walks in the park and even more complications pop up once they are grown.
There’s multiple points of view here, telling each woman’s part of the story. Showing their lowest of the lows as well as their highs. Because while family brings out the best in you, it can certainly bring out the worst as well.
I give I LOVE IT WHEN YOU LIE a 4.5 out of 5. I read half of this on ebook and finished up with the audiobook. While the timeline does jump around a little bit, it’s clearly labeled for the time and who’s point of view we getting. The women and their counterparts were so very different from one another, so I became invested in each of their stories very early on. Kristen Bird isn’t afraid to touch on racism, theft, fertility issues, grooming, and even murder when it comes to this family. But these things are given in the context of this Appalachian family’s lives, not just for shock value. The mountainous setting was very easy to picture and the writing had nice flow and tension. I really enjoyed my time with a complicated family who do what has to be done to keep themselves together.
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About Kristen Bird
Originally from Washington, DC, SARA READ tried the nine-to-five life for about a nanosecond before moving to rural Virginia to become a flute-maker’s apprentice and traditional fiddle player. Childbirth led her to a career in nursing. A cancer survivor herself, she now has the distinct privilege of caring for cancer patients. She is co-founder of #momswritersclub, a biweekly YouTube and live Twitter chat for writers. Sara lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband, two teens, a terrier, and three snarky cats. She loves a long run, a long road trip, and a long talk with a friend. www.sararead.net
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