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Love and Other Lies    by Ben McPherson order for
Love and Other Lies
by Ben McPherson
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Ben McPherson's Love and Other Lies centers on attempts to understand what really happened at a horrific shooting in a teen summer camp on an island outside Oslo, Norway.

As it opens, readers share the experiences of a girl at that camp, wearing a kingfisher dress, sleeping under a tree. She awakens to enter a scene of carnage. A bomb goes off in the nearby city. She sees two police officers tying up a boat, but there's something off about them. They gather everyone and start shooting. The girl is a heroine, trying to save others, even after she is shot herself. Only a few survive.

Next we meet happily married Cal and Elsa, whose relationship is soundly based on never lying to each other. They have moved to Oslo from Washington, DC. Their eldest daughter Licia is at summer camp, they have two younger children (Vee and Franklin), and they celebrate their seventeenth anniversary. Cal, a Scottish satirist, reports on the bombing to US news, unaware of the island massacre. Elsa is a photographer.

Then they hear of the shooting and everything changes. They wait anxiously with other parents to find out if their daughter is alive. Cal receives repeated messages on his phone - the word 'CELEBRATE' along with a very dark film clip. Cal deletes them. The police identify a body as Licia's but it isn't her. Ninety have been killed by white extremists. What happened to their daughter?

That question grabs readers and pulls them through the story - and the answer is a shocker, as is what follows after that answer is revealed. This is the best mystery I've read in many months, highly recommended!

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