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Book Review: Depth of Lies

Depth of Lies. E.C. Diskin. Seattle: Thomas & Mercer, September 26, 2017, Trade Paperback and E-Book, 278 pages. 

Reviewed by Renee James

E.C. Diskin's third mystery, her most ambitious yet, introduces us to a clutch of suburban women whose long-standing friendships have been shaken by the death of one of their own. When beautiful, flirty Shea Walker drowns in a bathtub, a shocking combination of drugs and alcohol in her system points to an accidental death or suicide. Shea's closest friend, Kat Burrows, finds everything about her death hard to accept and takes it upon herself to ferret out the facts about what happened. With each question she explores, new ones pop into view, and the deeper Kat digs, the more closely held secrets she discovers in the lives of Shea and their circle of friends.

Depth of Lies is an elaborately constructed mystery that combines a cerebral whodunit plot with an exploration of the lives of a group of empty-nester women, each of whom is experiencing anxiety in her personal life that is not apparent on the surface. Kat's investigation of her friend's death reveals each woman's secrets in turn, including Shea's. 

This story is told through two points of view—Kat's, and Shea's. The alternating points of view take some getting used to because of the time difference: in Shea's story, she is alive and the story chronicles her life in the days and weeks leading up to her death, while Kat's story works backward from Shea's death to cover the same ground, but through the accounts of other people.

Along with the alternating points of view, the early pages of Depth of Lies are slowed by the introductions of a half-dozen important characters and the backstory of their relationships to each other. Don't be fooled, though—the plot starts picking up momentum fairly soon, and the momentum builds to a pulse-pounding level as Kat's and Shea's stories near their climaxes. The dual points-of-view are especially effective in ratcheting up the tension as the novel nears its climax. 

Depth of Lies is a fun mystery that starts out as a good read and builds momentum as it moves along, achieving can't-put-it-down, page-turner status as it builds to a great climax. Its plot is pleasingly complex and beyond the mystery, and its characters let us explore the trials and tribulations faced by many women in their fifties. E.C. Diskin has created a reading experience that is both pulse-pounding and intellectually engaging. 


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