Lies We Bury
Author : Elle Marr
Published : April 1st, 2021 by Thomas & Mercer
299 pages : Kindle Edition
Set in the Pacific Northwest, Lies We Bury is a tale of a woman born in captivity by a twisted psycho that held her and two other children and three adult women captive in his basement. The adult women kidnapped off the street, the kids born from rape while in captivity.
Now, as an adult herself, having escaped that nightmare, the past is reappearing as a killer seems to be leaving clues directly tied to that horrifying childhood.
As the body count rises, can she figure out who is behind it before she ends up a victim once more?
Over the years, I’ve collected quite a few mystery/suspense/thriller types of novels.
I’m not all that sure, especially since it’s not a genre I’m ever particularly drawn too.
But, the books are there and my goal is to clear that back log that has grown over the years, so here we are.
That being said, I enjoyed Lies We Bury quite a bit.
The story is told through the eyes of Marissa Mo, aka Claire, as she is struggling to find work as a photographer. This lands her a spot with a local newspaper as a crime photographer and at the scene of the first murder, she photographs an item from her childhood.
Marr does a wonderful job of writing a character in Marissa/Claire that feels so complete. She’s angry, short tempered, but also terrified and protective of her family. I really enjoyed this character and aside from ONE big flaw that I found myself mentally screaming at this book over and over, I thought she was a fantastic lead character for this story.
In terms of the plot – as always I’m not going to say TOO much because I want to avoid any potential spoilers.
The concept, however, is one straight out of a Dateline special or True Crime podcast. And it’s horrifying because unfortunately, it happens in the real world too often.
Women abducted, raped, human trafficking, and in this case they were held captive and forced to give the sicko(whose name was PERFECT in my opinion… Chet) multiple children while never able to leave their tiny little basement they are forced to call home. These are all awful things and Marr does a great job of weaving that past trauma into the current mystery.
It’s the perfect blend of true crime documentary of a horrible event from the past with a happy ending where the women and children find a way to escape, with a serial killer-style murder mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time.
As the story unfolds, we are given a whole bunch of options for who the killer may be through the ever growing paranoia of Marissa/Claire as she struggles to gain control of the situation. It’s gripping and the ending was very satisfying.
I had an idea who it might be, narrowed down to 1 of 3 people, but I hadn’t figured it out completely until the moment it’s revealed. It made for a perfectly paced mystery that kept me fully engaged with the story until the very end.
If I had ONE big gripe about the book, and this isn’t a spoiler, it’s that from the very beginning I found myself mentally screaming at Marissa/Claire to “JUST GO TO THE POLICE FOR HELP!”
Her insistence to solve things on her own IS necessary for the story to work, but as a logical person I had a hard time accepting WHY she wouldn’t just bring all of this to the police vs continuing down the path she was on by herself.
She even questions this and says the same thing at various points.
But she’s dead set on solving it on her own… so she never goes to the police until it’s way too late.
Aside from that, this fast paced mystery/thriller kept me interested from cover to cover. It’s full of the type of dread best described by the feeling of “the walls closing in” or by feeling outsmarted and trapped. As the mystery deepens and the stakes get higher, the feeling of paranoia gets stronger and you start to question everyone and everything Marissa/Claire is coming across. Even if you KNOW that it all could have been avoided had she just gone to the police from the start.
Either way, it was an enjoyable mystery with enough suspense to feel like something real was at stake for Marr’s characters. Something I didn’t expect from this genre since I have a hard time being really sucked into stories of this kind.
Am I becoming a fan of the murder/mystery/suspense/thriller genre?
Lies We Bury by Elle Marr gets 4 out of 5 stars.
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