BOOK REVIEW: The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

In this gripping, atmospheric family drama, a young woman investigates the forty­-year­-old murder that inspired her mother’s bestselling novel, and uncovers devastating truths—and dangerous lies.

Reformed party girl Meg Ashley leads a life of privilege, thanks to a bestselling horror novel her mother wrote decades ago. But Meg knows that the glow of their very public life hides a darker reality of lies, manipulation, and the heartbreak of her own solitary childhood. Desperate to break free of her mother, Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir.

Digging into the past—and her mother’s cult classic—draws Meg to Bonny Island, Georgia, and an unusual woman said to be the inspiration for the book. At first island life seems idyllic, but as Meg starts to ask tough questions, disturbing revelations come to light…including some about her mother.

Soon Meg’s search leads her to question the facts of a decades-old murder. She’s warned to leave it alone, but as the lies pile up, Meg knows she’s getting close to finding a murderer. When her own life is threatened, Meg realizes the darkness found in her mother’s book is nothing compared to the chilling truth that lurks off the page.

Oh my grits and gravy...this book.  When I first requested it from NetGalley it seemed like it would be interesting.  A bit of intrigue, a heap of family drama, and a dash of crazy thrown in for good measure.  Oh it had all that but then took it to a completely different a good way.  Meg's mom wrote a cult classic that happened to capitalize on the horror fame of the 70s.  It wasn't necessarily well written but it was well received.  So much so that multiple movies were made of it.  And here we are 40 years later with a re-launch of the book hanging in the balance on the anniversary of the first release.  Meg doesn't really care about any of that.  She's estranged from the mother she felt was never there for her to begin with.  But of course, things happen that put them back together - sorta. Not necessarily in the same room but definitely in the same space.  And most assuredly at odds with each other, again.

This book brought it all to the table for me.  Most importantly, a good mystery.  Throwing in the poor little rich girl (I say that in the nicest way possible) and the attention hungry mother just added fuel.  Oh and don't forget the publishing guy who is out to make a name of himself at anyone's expense.  Or the family on Bonny Island whose lives were forever altered because of this book.  Kitten, or Doro as everyone knows her, was just a child when the book came out.  The huge acceptance the book garnered also brought a lot of fingers pointing in her direction.  Was she the inspiration for the murderous child in the book?  Lots of theories were thrown out, lots of fans created their own sub-culture, and lots of lives were caught in the balance.  Meg sets out to uncover the secrets and learn the truth.  Was the book 'Kitten' really just a work of fiction?  Was this book worth the end result of how it affected Meg's life, when she wasn't even born yet?

This book hit all the right notes, even though I still can't stand Ash - you know that publishing guy who would sell his grandma's soul for a contract.   It kept me guessing, surprised me more than once, and had me checking over my shoulder as I read well into the dark of night. The ending was a bit predictable and trite, after of course it changed paths and kept me guessing.  Once the secrets were out it lost originality but I can't fault like a chapter ya know.   I'm definitely interested in reading more of this author and am seriously contemplating a paperback copy to reside with honor on the bookcase.  Yup, it was THAT good.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley.  I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.  

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The Weight of Lies

About Emily Carpenter
Emily Carpenter, a former actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant, was born and raised in Alabama. After graduating from Auburn University, she moved to New York City and now lives in Georgia with her family. She is the author of Amazon bestselling Burying the Honeysuckle Girls and The Weight of Lies.

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