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Lies That Bind    by Maggie Barbieri order for
Lies That Bind
by Maggie Barbieri
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Lies That Bind is the second (following Once Upon a Lie) in Maggie Barbieri's mystery series starring tough, driven baker Maeve Conlon. Maeve had a tough childhood after her mother died, despite the care of her beloved father Jack, a police officer. To call their extended Irish American family dysfunctional would be a severe understatement.

Maeve was abused by her cousin Sean who was her regular babysitter and was murdered in the first episode. She had always kept the abuse secret from her father, who was in a nursing home with budding Alzheimer's as the series opened. Maeve runs her bakery (The Comfort Zone) with the help of her best friend Jo and steps up to the challenge of dealing with her teen daughters Rebecca and Heather, who give her all kinds of trouble.

As Lies That Bind opens, Maeve acquires a gun, and is informed of the death of her father after a heart attack. At the funeral after party, her unpleasant cousin Dolores reveals that Maeve had an elder sister named Aibhlinn (Evelyn) - news to her! Maeve becomes obsessed with finding what became of said sister, disturbed that her father never mentioned her existence.

She learns that her sister was institutionalized but that the Mansfield Institution ('hell on earth') had burned down and a dozen young adults went missing - was Evelyn one of them? Complicating matters further, Maeve is knocked out at the bakery. She's robbed. And she's kept busy attending birth classes with a very pregnant Jo.

As before, Barbieri ties together her disparate plot threads into an entertaining, often over the top, tale with a strong, rather reckless but very likeable and big hearted heroine. Maeve's antics are great fun.

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