This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

Posted on May 18, 2020 by Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading in Reviews / 32 Comments

This is How I Lied by Heather GudenkaufTitle: This is How I Lied
Author(s): Heather Gudenkauf
Published by Park Row on May 12, 2020
Pages: 336
Genre(s): Mystery, Suspense
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Format: ARC, eBook
Purchase: Amazon|B&N|Audible
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.
For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.

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This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

Heather Gudenkauf is a new to me author, and I had no clue what to expect in terms of her writing style and ability to pen a good mystery. The blurb provided hints of a page turning story therefore I couldn’t wait to dive into This is how I Lied.

The story introduces Maggie Kennedy O’Keefe a detective with the Grotto Police Department. Eight months pregnant she is preparing to take on desk duty when additional evidence relating to twenty-five-year-old murder case surfaces. This was personal for Maggie as it involved the murder of her best friend Eve Knox.  Because of the additional evidence coming to light, the police chief reopened the case. He assigned the case to Maggie allowing her the chance to ascertain what this fresh evidence would reveal. However, someone is not keen on the reopening of the case and will stop at nothing to prevent the truth from being revealed.

Filled with intrigue and suspense This is how I Lied proved to be a page turner which kept me up late into the night. The story is told from the POVs of Maggie, Eve and Nola, Eve’s sister giving readers an inside look into their state of mind up to time of the murder and after. The story moved between the past, and the present, and the events in both timelines were rather disturbing. Reading of Eve’s last days was heart-breaking. The poor girl couldn’t get a break.

As secrets unravelled, the story left me in doubt has to who killed Eve. The suspect pool wasn’t huge however, each of the persons highlighted had motive and opportunity. However, figuring who was responsible was not a simple task. At the point when I believed I had my answer, the author dropped a twist which left me questioning my initial belief.

The author weaved a tale that kept me engaged from start to finish. This is How I Lied is a story that will not be forgetting soon. The story was so interesting I devoured it in less than two days.


Fans of small-town mysteries will enjoy this latest offering from Heather Gudenkauf. I will definitely be reading more of this author’s work.


Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe
Monday, June 15, 2020

As I slide out of my unmarked police car my swollen belly briefly gets wedged against the steering wheel. Sucking in my gut does little good but I manage to move the seat back and squeeze past the wheel. I swing my legs out the open door and glance furtively around the parking lot behind the Grotto Police Department to see if anyone is watching.
Almost eight months pregnant with a girl and not at my most graceful. I’m not crazy about the idea of one of my fellow officers seeing me try to pry myself out of this tin can. The coast appears to be clear so I begin the little ritual of rocking back and forth trying to build up enough momentum to launch myself out of the driver’s seat.
Once upright, I pause to catch my breath. The morning dew is already sending up steam from the weeds growing out of the cracked concrete. Sweating, I slowly make my way to the rear entrance of the Old Gray Lady, the nickname for the building we’re housed in. Built in the early 1900s, the first floor consists of the lobby, the finger printing and intake center, a community room, interview rooms and the jail. The second floor, which once held the old jail is home to the squad room and offices. The dank, dark basement holds a temperamental boiler and the department archives.
The Grotto Police Department has sixteen sworn officers that includes the chief, two lieutenants, a K-9 patrol officer, nine patrol officers, a school resource officer and two detectives. I’m detective number two.
I grew up in Grotto, a small river town of about ten thousand that sits among a circuitous cave system known as Grotto Caves State Park, the most extensive in Iowa. Besides being a favorite destination spot for families, hikers and spelunkers, Grotto is known for its high number of family owned farms – a dying breed. My husband Shaun and I are part of that breed – we own an apple orchard and tree farm.
“Pretty soon we’re going to have to roll you in,” an irritatingly familiar voice calls out from behind me.
I don’t bother turning around. “Francis, that wasn’t funny the first fifty times you said it and it still isn’t,” I say as I scan my key card to let us in.
Behind me, Pete Francis, rookie officer and all-around caveman grabs the door handle and in a rare show of chivalry opens it so I can step through. “You know I’m just joking,” Francis says giving me the grin that all the young ladies in Grotto seem to find irresistible but just gives me another reason to roll my eyes.
“With the wrong person, those kinds of jokes will land you in sensitivity training,” I remind him.
“Yeah, but you’re not the wrong person, right?” he says seriously, “You’re cool with it?”
I wave to Peg behind the reception desk and stop at the elevator and punch the number two button. The police department only has two levels but I’m in no mood to climb up even one flight of stairs today. “Do I look like I’m okay with it?” I ask him.
Francis scans me up and down. He takes in my brown hair pulled back in a low bun, wayward curls springing out from all directions, my eyes red from lack of sleep, my untucked shirt, the fabric stretched tight against my round stomach, my sturdy shoes that I think are tied, but I can’t know for sure because I can’t see over my boulder-sized belly.
“Sorry,” he says appropriately contrite and wisely decides to take the stairs rather than ride the elevator with me.
“You’re forgiven,” I call after him. As I step on the elevator to head up to my desk, I check my watch. My appointment with the chief is at eight and though he didn’t tell me what the exact reason is for this meeting I think I can make a pretty good guess.
It can’t be dictated as to when I have to go on light duty, seven months into my pregnancy, but it’s probably time. I’m guessing that Chief Digby wants to talk with me about when I want to begin desk duty or take my maternity leave. I get it.
It’s time I start to take it easy. I’ve either been the daughter of a cop or a cop my entire life but I’m more than ready to set it aside for a while and give my attention, twenty-four-seven to the little being inhabiting my uterus.
Shaun and I have been trying for a baby for a long, long time. And thousands of dollars and dozens of procedures later, when we finally found out we were pregnant, Shaun started calling her peanut because the only thing I could eat for the first nine weeks without throwing up was peanut butter sandwiches. The name stuck.
This baby is what we want more than anything in the world but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m a little bit scared. I’m used to toting around a sidearm not an infant.
The elevator door opens to a dark paneled hallway lined with ten by sixteen framed photos of all the men who served as police chief of Grotto over the years. I pass by eleven photos before I reach the portrait of my father. Henry William Kennedy, 1995 – 2019, the plaque reads.
While the other chiefs stare out from behind the glass with serious expressions, my dad smiles showing his straight, white teeth. He was so proud when he was named chief of police. We were all proud, except maybe my older brother, Colin. God knows what Colin thought of it. As a teenager he was pretty self-absorbed, but I guess I was too, especially after my best friend died. I went off the rails for a while but here I am now. A Grotto PD detective, following in my dad’s footsteps. I think he’s proud of me too. At least when he remembers.
Last time I brought my dad back here to visit, we walked down this long corridor and paused at his photo. For a minute I thought he might make a joke, say something like, Hey, who’s that good looking guy? But he didn’t say anything. Finding the right words is hard for him now. Occasionally, his frustration bubbles over and he yells and sometimes even throws things which is hard to watch. My father has always been a very gentle man.
The next portrait in line is our current police chief, Les Digby. No smile on his tough guy mug. He was hired a month ago, taking over for Dexter Stroope who acted as the interim chief after my dad retired. Les is about ten years older than I am, recently widowed with two teenage sons. He previously worked for the Ransom Sheriff’s Office and I’m trying to decide if I like him. Jury’s still out.

Excerpted from This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf, Copyright © 2020 by Heather Gudenkauf
Published by Park Row Books


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About Heather Gudenkauf

Heather Gudenkauf is the Edgar Award nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence, These Things Hidden and Not A Sound. Heather was born in Wagner, South Dakota, the youngest of six children. At one month of age, her family returned to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota where her father was employed as a guidance counselor and her mother as a school nurse. At the age of three, her family moved to Iowa, where she grew up. Having been born with a profound unilateral hearing loss (there were many evenings when Heather and her father made a trip to the bus barn to look around the school bus for her hearing aids that she often conveniently would forget on the seat beside her), Heather tended to use books as a retreat, would climb into the toy box that her father’s students from Rosebud made for the family with a pillow, blanket, and flashlight, close the lid, and escape the world around her. Heather became a voracious reader and the seed of becoming a writer was planted. Heather Gudenkauf graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages and continues to work in education as a Title I Reading Coordinator. Heather lives in Iowa with her family and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading and hiking. She is currently working on her next novel.

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32 responses to “This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

  1. Debbie Haupt

    Heather is not a new to me author I know how diabolical her mind can work and I LOVE her. Thanks for putting this on my radar 🙂 xo

  2. Shelleen Toland

    This is also on my TBR this month. Not sure if I will get to it though.

  3. Lindy Gomez

    I love a story that I can devour. and want more of the author’s work! I’m glad this was such a great read!!! Wonderful Review Nadene 🙂

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

  4. RO

    I’m hooked on thrillers, and this one sounds like a riveting read. Definitely need to check this one out, and loved your review. Air Hugs, RO

  5. Robin Taylor

    I enjoyed this book as well. I also reviewed it as part of the blog tour.

  6. luzia Narvz

    I couldn’t put this book down. It is so well written, a bit creepy and scary, and has well developed characters and plot. My heart was racing during parts of this book, and I love that it was told from different character viewpoints and time periods. Exceptional book!

    KRW Attorneys

  7. luzia Narvz

    I couldn’t put this book down. It is so well written, a bit creepy and scary, and has well developed characters and plot. My heart was racing during parts of this book, and I love that it was told from different character viewpoints and time periods. Exceptional book!

    KRW Attorneys