My emotions were all over the place while reading Lie Still. At times my pulse was racing and my heart was pounding. While others I was laughing and smiling at the oddities coming off the page. This is good... This is what makes for good reading. This is why I'm rating this book 4.5 stars because it was just a pleasure to read.
We meet Emily and the first thing we learn is she's been raped. That this event, this singular moment has changed, shaped and directed her life. That act of violence has never left her.
For me, the rape is a permanent fixture on the clock, like midnight. A point of reference. I was nineteen years and four days old.
It's not surprising that Emily married a big bad protective ATF agent. Her life has felt safe and secure from that moment forward but as we dive more into Lie Still and each secret is revealed we find that there was so much more to that singular moment, that the rape was just the beginning.
In Lie Still Emily and Mike move to Clairmont, Texas (not a real town) which is near Fort Worth/Dallas area. They're going to have a baby and decide to leave New York for a life where Mike can be the new Chief of Police and Emily can take care of the baby. What we learn is this little town has some crazy Texas women in it and this is where things start to get interesting...
I felt like I was living on the last place on earth, trapped in an Edvard Munch painting with the cast of Real Housewives.
This is where things get very interesting. These women are crazy, they lie, hold secrets and are part of this elite club where everyone stabs you in the back. It was hilarious to see these Texas women thru the eyes of Emily. I should say that I lived in Texas for 2 years and never once met a women like Caroline, Letty or Misty. I never once walked in the kind of circles that Emily did though.
Throughout the story that unfolds with each page the underlying reference to the rape is constant. I don't want to spoil anything but I also want to touch on the feelings that Emily would get around certain men. She understood what some men want, that they're not all like Mike. Protective and kind. That some men are predators. When Emily meets Letty's husband she sees in him what he is...
This was the archetype of the guy I didn’t do well around. The grown-up Pierces. Harry Dunn would have sex with me, pregnant and married, tonight, in the back of a car, hell, in the one-holer bathroom in the back of this restaurant. He’d said it with his eyes and with the hand he casually drifted up and down my back while his lips brushed my cheek. I hated myself for the primal physical response he elicited. Attraction and abhorrence at the same time.
That right there... that is how Julia Heaberlin is able to write us right into the room, sitting right behind Letty watching this take place and it's why I enjoyed reading Lie Still. That's an uncomfortable moment, there are many in this book but this stands out to be because Emily understand that kind of man. Harry is able use his sexuality and not be called a slut. He's just a whoring husband with a wondering hand. The world would not look so kindly upon Emily if she was to do the same thing.
There there's Letty, I'll admit she was a character I didn't see her changing but she was so funny to read. I never knew what was going to come out of her mouth from moment to moment...
“Lucky I dropped by. I decided it was as good a time as any to stick a personal reminder invitation to Caroline’s memorial service in your mailbox since you hadn’t been polite enough to RSVP. I go up to the mailbox, put my ear to the door, and ask myself, Why is Emily using power tools at midnight? My spidey sense was tingling. I got my Remington 700 ADC rifle out of my trunk, and here we are.”
In conclusion, I enjoyed reading Lie Still. My heart broke for what Emily endured. My pulse raced as the mystery was unraveling and clues were being dropped right and left. I found myself unable to put this book down and had to find out what really happened to Caroline. Not to mention those funny hilarious moments that just took the edge off the heavy moments littered through out. This was my first book by Ms. Heaberlin but it wont be the last.
I'll leave you will a note from the author...
Tell your girls. Tell them, tell them, tell them. Tell them to fight and scratch and yell his name. Tell them not to be ashamed. To break the necklace of women who’ve kept their rapist’s secret because they know him. Grandmothers and mothers, daughters and sisters, aunts and best friends. Century after century, decade after decade, year after year. Heartbeat after heartbeat.