Reviews for Simply Lies

by David Baldacci

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Motherhood is no barrier to crime busting in this clever thriller. Mickey Gibson is an ex–crime scene tech, ex-cop, ex-detective, and a single mother of two tykes, including one who's been known to throw up on her. She works at home as an investigator for ProEye, chasing down criminals online, and she is quite good at it. Her ex-hubby, the rat, had said he wanted a big family but bugged out on her when the “daddy do list” “ruined” his weekends. Now a phone call turns her life upside down. A woman she doesn't know, ostensibly from ProEye, asks her to do some fieldwork: inventory the contents of an old mansion. The woman at first goes by Arlene, but she might really be Clarisse or Francine. In other words, “she’s a liar, plain and simple,” and she has strong motivation to get Mickey involved. Naturally, the contents of the mansion include a murder victim, a smelly corpse that had once been “a criminal on a global scale.” Mickey feels compelled to solve the crime, though she’s emphatically told “it’s not your job to solve this sucker. You’re not a cop anymore.” More murders follow as the possibility of a hidden treasure looms. Two strong, engaging women drive the complicated plot—the multitasking mom who’s compelled to solve a crime while defending against threats to her children, and the childless manipulator who has her own big-time personal issues. She—let’s call her Clarisse for now—has the best lines: “Hell, with just the right eyeliner I can rule the world,” and “Life was a shell game. The winners could just hide the truth better than everybody else.” And she has a lot to hide. In the end, the plot elements are all tied up in a neat little bow. More good fun from a master storyteller. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Mickey Gibson, formerly a police detective, now works for ProEye, a private company that looks for the financial assets squirreled away by rich folks who cheat on their taxes. When she gets a call from another ProEye investigator, asking her to conduct an inventory of the home of an arms dealer who skipped town, she thinks nothing of it—until she’s on the property, where she finds a murdered man. Soon Mickey discovers the victim wasn’t an arms dealer, ProEye has no record of anyone asking Mickey to inventory the property, and she’s the number one suspect in a homicide. She’s been set up, but by whom and why? Baldacci’s latest stand-alone is a bit clunkier than some of his recent efforts (2022’s The 6:20 Man, for example); in particular some of the supporting characters feel insubstantial, as though the author hadn’t gotten around to fleshing them out. On the other hand, the setup is definitely intriguing, and the main characters, especially the villain, hold our interest. Baldacci’s readers will find plenty to enjoy here, even if it doesn’t represent his very best work.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Baldacci doesn't need his A game to attract his devoted and enormous fan base.

Publishers Weekly
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Baldacci (The 6:20 Man) is at his best in this standalone thriller about an ex-cop and single mother who’s drawn into a murder investigation. Mickey Gibson has found some stability after her husband divorced her while she was pregnant with their second child, having moved to Williamsburg, Va., to be near family and joined investigative firm ProEye. Her new normal is rocked, though, when she’s called by a woman named Arlene Robinson, who says she’s working with Mickey’s boss and assigns her to inventory the contents of a recently foreclosed mansion. When Mickey arrives at the house, she discovers the decomposing corpse of an elderly man and immediately becomes a person of interest in his death—especially after police learn that ProEye has never heard of anyone named Arlene Robinson. As Mickey tries desperately to clear her name, she’s drawn further into a shadowy plot orchestrated by the woman calling herself Arlene. Baldacci keeps the twists coming fast and furious in this tense page-turner, never losing credibility even as it takes bigger and bigger swings. Readers will fall in love with Mickey and hold their breath for her through to the very end. Agent: Aaron Priest, Aaron M. Priest Literary. (Apr.)