Simply Lies by David Baldacci requires a very concentrated reader. The plot is complex and the twists even more so. David Baldacci is usually a very reader friendly writer but Simply Lies requires more mental energy from a reader than any of his many other excellent mysteries or thrillers. This is not a mystery that will gain Baldacci new fans.

To try to put it simply, Mickey Gibson is a work at home mom whose job is to track down money in hidden accounts around the world. She gets a call from Arlene, a work colleague, asking her to go meet a client. This is a bit unusual but Mickey goes and finds a dead body. The dead man will turn out to be a scammer who left the FBI witness protection plan and amassed quite a fortune.

Arlene, who is not a work colleague but someone named Clarisse, forces Mickey to find the fortune.

It will turn out Clarisse, whose name is neither Arlene nor Clarisse, is also being threatened to find the fortune. Eventually, three different parties will all, directly or indirectly, threaten Mickey to find the fortune.

There are a lot of secondary characters here who left witness protection and are on the loose and after the loot. They are all related either by blood or biography. Even the cop who is investigating the murder and the FBI agent who was in charge of all these people in witness protection are not quite who they seem to be.

The treasure hunt aspect of Simply Lies by David Baldacci it interesting enough if, like the plot and characters, quite complicated. Keeping track of everything and everyone requires a lot of note taking.

By the time a reader gets to the end he or she will probably quite exhausted and not quite certain the payoff was worth the time or energy.

Simply put, David Baldacci can do and has done much better than this too complex and perhaps even convoluted mystery.

Simply Lies
David Baldacci
Grand Central Publishing 2023
418 pages

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