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Once Upon a Lie    by Maggie Barbieri order for
Once Upon a Lie
by Maggie Barbieri
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Maeve Conlon had a much tougher childhood than anyone in her family ever realized, especially her father Jack, an ex-cop with 'budding Alzheimer's' who regularly wanders from his nursing home. After Maeve's mother died, her cousin, Sean Donovan, was her regular babysitter - and frequent abuser.

Maeve's bakery (The Comfort Zone) is struggling; her ex Cal is remarried and a new stay at home father; and her teen daughters Rebecca and Heather each present a different challenge. Her life becomes even more complicated when her cousin Sean is murdered and Maeve's dad is a suspect - and unfortunately he was wandering the night of the killing. Jack gradually moves 'from person of interest to prime suspect' - did he do the deed?

After her best friend Jo guilts Maeve into a speed dating venture with her, she meets Rodney Poole, a cop who happens to be investigating her cousin Sean's death. He piques her curiosity. As police interest in her dad's activities the night of Sean's death grows, Maeve becomes obsessed with a child whose birthday party she hosts at the bakery - the mother is clearly abused and she worries about little Tiffany Lorenzo.

Maeve begins stalking Mr. Lorenzo - is she losing it? These 'nocturnal reconnaissance missions' become her hobby. Maggie Barbieri pulls all these strands of plot together into a compelling and unusual storyline. Maeve Conlon is a strong female lead.

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