Book Review: To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

To Tell You the Truth is a page-turning thriller that I devoured in two days!  I didn’t want to put the book down to eat or run my errands because I just had to know what was going to happen next.  Also, I am pretty sure I’ve found my next auto-buy author.  If this is standard Gilly Macmillan writing, then I’ve been missing out big time!

Goodreads Synopsis:

Bestselling mystery writer Lucy Harper’s talent for invention has given her fame, fortune, and an army of adoring readers.  It has also saddled her with dependents, namely her fawning husband Dan.

When Dan suddenly goes missing, his disappearance evokes dark memories that take Lucy back more than thirty years – to the day her brother vanished without a trace.  That’s when Lucy began conjuring stories.  The police investigation revealed few confirmed details, so she created tales to fill in the gaps, to explain what happened that day her brother disappeared – and young Lucy was the only witness.

Now decades later, with the whole world watching, Lucy’s past and present are colliding, and this bestselling author skilled in telling stories is losing control of her own narrative. 

Where is Dan?  What happened to Lucy’s brother?  And is the brilliant mystery write – an expert in devising red herrings and hidden clues – revealing all she knows about both disappearances?

With twists and turns, Gilly Macmillan reveals the answers in this clever and compulsively readable mystery sure to thrill fans of Ruth Ware and Shari Lapena.


I really enjoyed the format and structure of this book, which flowed flawlessly.  The chapters toggle between what is clearly a draft of a book, flashbacks to when Lucy’s brother Teddy disappeared, and the present-day search for her missing husband.  I loved thinking one way and being completely wrong when the truth was finally revealed.  This type of structure can oftentimes seem choppy, but Macmillan does a superb job at weaving the pieces together to tell a coherent story.

The character of Lucy was quite interesting and at times exhausting.  Her decisions were never in her best interest and that drove me crazy.  However, it fit perfectly with her character and made her an unreliable narrator.  We witness everything play out through Lucy’s eyes – Teddy’s disappearance, her marriage, and the investigation into Dan’s disappearance.  I found myself questioning Lucy’s interpretation of events and whether she was telling the truth or the latest version she concocted in her mind.  Her paranoia had me on edge throughout the entire book because I was afraid of what she was going to do next and wondered if someone was out to get her. 

Eliza is another character that was lurked in the pages of the book and Lucy’s mind.  She was Lucy’s imaginary friend as a child and the heroine of Lucy’s bestselling detective series.  Most people grow out of their imaginary friends, but Eliza remained with Lucy throughout her adult life.  I loved how she would just pop up in the middle of a chapter and rescue Lucy from herself.  However, I started wondering if Eliza was an imaginary friend or if Lucy had some sort of personality disorder.  The character of Eliza provided another layer to Lucy as an alter ego and a sign of her instability.

I seriously could not stand Dan’s character and the way he leeched off Lucy’s success and disguised his jealousy as devotion and protection.  When he turns up missing I thought “good riddance,” but still wanted to know what happened to him.  I found myself going back and forth as to whether he disappeared on his own or if something more sinister happened.    

Macmillan’s writing brought the characters to life and had a vice like grip on my attention.  I couldn’t stop reading and had to physically force myself to put the book away and go to bed.  I was captivated by the twists and turns in the story and completely invested in the outcome.  The one thing that I disliked would have to be the way the book ended.  There were some unanswered questions that I hoped would have been resolved, but this did not impact my overall rating.  I highly recommend To Tell You the Truth to anyone that loves fast-paced thrillers that shock you with each revelation. 

Thank you to Netgalley and William Morrow for my ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

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