I always spend some time over Memorial Day weekend reflecting on those who have given their lives while serving our country, as we all should be doing. That is, after all, the whole purpose of the holiday. I also spent some time this Memorial Day weekend relaxing, soaking up some sunshine, and of course reading. This weekend I dove into a new release by Natalie Walters, Living Lies. While largely a murder mystery, Living Lies also touches on many important subjects, including those who serve and have served our country. This book especially highlights those who have lost their lives due to their service, particularly post-service as a result of trauma. It was a most fitting book for Memorial Day weekend, and I couldn’t put it down.
In short, I loved this book! Living Lies is first and foremost a contemporary murder mystery. When a young woman’s body is found in the woods of a small, sleepy town in Georgia, the town is shocked and terrified. The sheriff quickly sets out launching an investigation, which turns out to be full of surprises.
Working the case is town newcomer, Deputy Charlie Lynch, a handsome former Marine turned police officer. Charlie quickly learns the ins and outs of small town life, including how quickly gossip travels when you set your sights on the beautiful town sweetheart, Lane Kent. Lane is dealing with demons of her own and desperately trying to keep up appearances for her family’s sake – a prominent and wealthy southern family, including her father, a judge running for a Senate seat. Lane and Charlie quickly learn that small towns are not exempt from holding big secrets.
In Living Lies, Ms. Walters offers much more than the love story between Lane and Charlie. She also offers a love story between God and woman, highlighting through some of her characters’ darkest moments how beautiful and special each of us are to Him, how loved and how worthy of love we are, even when we feel the most unworthy and unlovable.
This book tackles so many important issues including the sacrifices of men and women in uniform, family relationships, and mental health, particularly the need to end the stigma around mental illness.
Overall, this was a great mystery. It was well-paced, the characters were beautifully developed, and the story pulled me in right away. The romance aspect of the story moved at a realistic pace. It wasn’t rushed like in many romance novels.
I will close in saying that yes, this book is from a Christian publisher; however, the Christian message is subtly woven throughout the story. In no way did it ever feel preachy or over-the-top. I just loved this book, and it appears to be the first in a series (fingers crossed!) I would love to read more of Lane’s story. While reading, I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen to Lane. I needed to know that she and certain other characters would be okay. I loved the way this story addressed the importance of sharing – not hiding – mental illness. Can we please end the stigma now and start the conversation?!
Living Lies is out now! Anyone who enjoys mystery, romance, and/or contemporary Christian fiction should check it out!