BOOK REVIEW: ‘Simple Lies’ by David Baldacci

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“Simply Lies” is David Baldacci’s latest book. It is a psychological thriller set in Virginia about two women in a cat and mouse race to solve a murder and find a treasure stolen from an organized crime family. 

Mickey Gibson is single mother of two and a former police detective. She works from home for ProEye, a global investigation company that hunts down wealthy tax and credit cheats. Mickey receives a phone call from Arlene Robinson, who claims to work for ProEye as well. She gives Mickey an assignment to go to a vacant mansion to inventory the contents.

Mickey, who usually works from home, welcomes the change of scene. The mansion is owned by an arms dealer who cheated ProEye and vanished. When Mickey arrives at the mansion, she finds the body of a dead man in a secret room. After reporting the crime to the police, Mickey finds out Arlene is not an employee of ProEye, and she doesn’t even exist. Neither does the arms dealer – he’s a man in witness protection who was formerly in organized crime.

Mickey becomes the prime suspect in the murder. She must prove she has been framed. While Mickey is trying to prove her innocence, the mystery women calls her again. Arlene encourages Mickey to use her investigative skills to find the killer and the lost money. After listening to the story, Mickey feels it would be beneficial to join forces with Arlene to keep her family safe.

The mystery woman is a con artist who uses many aliases. She tells Mickey her real name is Clarissa. She is a blackmailer, is very cunning and morally corrupt. Clarissa is jealous of Mickey. She thinks Mickey has had every advantage and squandered it. Clarissa knows every detail of Mickey’s life. It seems that they have a shared past.  

We learn more about Arlene/Clarissa’s past. The pair somehow reach a truce to solve the crimes. The two sometimes work in opposition and sometimes work in tandem. The novel is a complex story with many subplots.

As the novel progresses they find some of the missing money is in cryptocurrency, NFTs, blockchains and metaverses. Which I must admit, I do not understand! This novel will keep you guessing until the end. I can usually figure out how a book will end. But not this one! 

David Baldacci has written 47 books for adults; all have been best sellers and several have been adapted for film and television. He and his wife created the Wish You Well Foundation to promote family and adult literacy.

Cathy Lay Mayor grew up in Cullman and graduated from Cullman High School in 1976. She says when she writes book reviews, she tries to remember what Mrs. Gilbert taught her in 11th-grade English. She lived in Dothan for more than 30 years and is married with three adult children and six grandchildren. She retired to Panama City, but still calls Alabama home.