Lie in Plain Sight (Maeve Conlon, #3) Review
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Since making the switch from cozy mysteries to dark suspense with 2013’s Once Upon a Lie, author Maggie Barbieri’s has taken each of her Maeve Conlon novels into darker and heavier territory. And with Lie in Plain Sight, Maeve continues her quest to uncover secrets and lies.

The story finds the single mom and bakery owner at the center of yet another mystery. During a busy day at The Comfort Zone, Maeve gets a call from the high school, saying that her new employee’s daughter, Taylor, is sick, and she wants to walk home. Since Taylor’s mom is out on a delivery, Maeve gives her permission—but Taylor never makes it home. As everyone in town—including Maeve’s boyfriend, Detective Chris Larsson—searches for Taylor, Maeve’s feelings of guilt cause her to do some digging of her own. But the more she searches, the more trouble she finds.

In the beginning of the series, Maeve was a strong woman with a troubled past—a mild-mannered, middle-aged mom of two who secretly fought for justice in unexpected (and rarely legal) ways. But as the series progresses, the character seems to be succumbing more and more to her dark side. Though she still has a soft spot for her kids, her sister, and her best friend, Jo, she seems hardened to almost everything (and everyone) else. She’s grown colder and more condescending, even showing growing disdain for her boyfriend, whom she sees as far too soft for his job (and possibly even incompetent). She simply isn’t as likable as she once was—more obsessive than passionate—and it makes it harder to get engrossed in her story.

The latest installment also has plenty of personal drama. As she searches for Taylor’s kidnapper, Meave struggles with her relationships with Detective Larsson, her troubled teenage daughter, and her ex-husband—and she attempts to find more information about her long-lost (and recently found) older sister. But the personal aspects of the story aren’t especially well developed. Most of them feel weak and even unnecessary. And, in the end, when all of the mysteries and investigations come to some kind of conclusion, there are too many holes and too many loose ends.

Lie in Plain Sight is a darker mystery with a character who seems to be losing her way. If you’re a fan of Barbieri’s Maeve Conlon novels, you’ll still want to give it a chance, but it probably won’t attract new readers to the series. And if Maeve continues down this dark path, she may start losing readers, too.

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