All the Best Lies

All the Best Lies

Book - 2020
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"The highly anticipated third novel in the award-winning Ellery Hathaway mystery series. FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother's killer is uncomfortably close to home. Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She's eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it. Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer-one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn't about to give up now"-- Provided by publisher.
Topical Term: Women detectives
Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, 2020
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250297389
Branch Call Number: F
PS3619.C3253 A79 2020
Characteristics: 322 pages ; 25 cm


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Mar 15, 2020

All the Best Lies by Joanna Schaffhausen is the third instalment in the Ellery Hathaway series but it reads well as a stand-alone mystery. Forty years ago, FBI agent Reed Markham’s mother Camilla was brutally murdered while her infant son slept in his crib in the next room. He was subsequently adopted by a prominent family and, till now, the murder case was never solved. Due to new and surprising family information, Reed wants to re-investigate the crime and enlists the aid of suspended cop Ellery Hathaway. The pair go to Las Vegas and begin digging into the history of numerous suspects who had been in Camilla’s life at the time of her death. The pair are also experiencing respective family issues and lean on each other as their relationship becomes more and more serious. This is a tense mystery with an original plot and plenty of clues that will keep the reader focused till the conclusion. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Feb 11, 2020

Ever since I read the ending of No Mercy, I’ve been waiting for the next book in this series. FBI agent Reed Markham got some news that left us all pretty gobsmacked so if you haven’t read that one…*clears throat*…POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD. Duty done. Proceed at your peril.

When it comes to Reed’s career, he’ll probably be remembered as the man who rescued a young kidnap victim named Ellery Hathaway. But there’s another case that has always haunted him…the unsolved murder of his biological mother in 1975. It went cold decades ago but there’s been a new development. In a shocking twist, Reed recently learned the identity of his real father & he has to wonder. Is this man the killer?

It’s time to face his past. His adoptive parents are less than thrilled as Reed makes plans to return to Vegas, the scene of the crime. Now all he needs is a partner.

Ellery Hathaway endured unimaginable horrors after she was kidnapped by a psychopath as a teenager. She’s always had a strong bond with Reed & grew up to become a cop. Unfortunately, her last case resulted in her being suspended so when Reed asks her to accompany him to Vegas, she’s all in. There are a couple of good reasons to leave town. First, she has way too much time on her hands. Second, her estranged father has suddenly reappeared & wants to talk. Yup, Vegas sounds like a great idea.

And they’re off. What follows is a twisty story full of all the challenges that go with trying to solve a cold case. Digging up old dirt, tracking down those involved & connecting with local law enforcement are just some of the difficulties they face. Cooperation is hard to come by & they’re forced to get creative. Meanwhile, Reed & Ellery continue to deal with (or dodge) interference from their respective families.

There are some great new characters in this outing. But it’s the further development of a few returning characters that makes things really interesting. In particular, we get to see a whole new side of Reed’s adoptive mother & it made me reassess my opinion of her.

One thing I noticed was the significant amount of time spent detailing Ellery’s history. I think it’s a hard call for authors writing a series…..just how much of the past do you include in subsequent books? For readers like me who’ve been following along, it yanks you out of the present & slows the pace as it’s ground that’s already been covered extensively. It’s a matter of personal taste but the good news is you’ll have no problem picking up the overall story line if you’re jumping in here.

This is equal parts family drama & cold case mystery. The pace ramps up to a pulse pounding finish but not everything is neatly resolved. Through all the adventures & respective personal issues, Reed & Ellery continue to circle each other as they try to define their relationship. There are sparks but also some big roadblocks so it will be interesting to see where the author takes them in the next instalment.

Jan 15, 2020

Tolstoy wrote happy families are all alike. Until they aren’t. In All the Best Lies FBI Special Agent Reed Markham is going three for three. His birth mother, the young Puerto Rican, Camilla Flores was brutally murdered forty years ago in Las Vegas, while he lay in a crib in the next room. He is recently divorced from his wife and desperately missing his daughter. Finally, Reed is about to implode his very loving adoptive family thanks to some information he recently discovered.
Who better to assist Reed in a good old fashioned implosion than suspended cop Ellie Hathaway? Ellery’s background can exceed even Reed’s. What was the rest of Tolstoy’s quote? “Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Ellie’s father left her family when she was a small child leaving no trace behind. Now he is desperately trying to contact Ellery. Ellie wants no part of him, not even an explanation.
When Ellie was 14 she survived a serial killer’s tender ministrations of rape, torture, and mutilation. Actually she escaped a serial killer’s attention twice. The first time, Markham, a newly minted FBI agent discovered Ellery in the killer’s closet. Recently Reed has begun to think he has never brought Ellie all the way home; part of Ellery may always be living in the closet.
Ellery experienced a third tragedy with her brother dying in his teens from leukemia soon after she was returned to her family. Ellery always felt partially responsible as she was not a bone marrow match.
Ellery grew up desperately poor. Reed did not. Powerful Virginia politician Angus Markham adopted Reed soon after his mother was murdered. Markham’s wife and their three daughters completely embraced Reed, thrilled to finally have a son and brother.
With the new information, Reed has decided to put his analytical, profiling skills to work and discover his mother’s killer. Reed realizes he needs the support of a friend and someone who won’t always let rules stop her. Who better than Ellery?
Ellery and Reed experience tremendous growth. Both are forced to learn lessons in trust; sometimes with each other, sometimes with others. They are amply rewarded for their efforts.
Reed has always wondered about his might have been life, but now he has glimmerings of the far different ways his life might have played out, so very different from his Virginia upbringing.
The plot is superb, it never bogs down, it never bores, nor does it ever leave you rolling your eyes in disbelief. All the Best Lies will leave you guessing, then second guessing yourself.
Ellery and Reed travel to Las Vergas, quickly finding the dark side. Yet they are never dismissive of its strange neon beauty.
Author Joanna Schaffhausen does an outstanding job writing her secondary characters. Schaffhausen brings Reed’s mother Cammie slowly to life. Her friends and enemies have no problem remembering Reed’s vivacious and loving mother, dead for more than forty years.
Reed’s Virginia parents are strongly present, coming from Virginia trying to turn Reed from his impossible task, while still offering their full love and support. Can his sisters be far behind?
Reed and Ellery go down a white rabbit hole of an investigation. No one, even 40 years later wants to tell the truth. They persist, proving once again Shakespeare had it right with his “truth will out.” All truths.
I count the Ellery Hathaway series as being in my top five favorite series. There are two prior books that should not be missed. easy to catch up the series. However, All the Best Lies stands perfectly fine as a standalone.
Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange of a fair and honest review. (less)


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