Double the Lies (Book Review)

  • Author: Patricia Raybon
  • Publisher: Tyndale House
  • Available Feb. 7, 2023 (Pre-Order Now)
  • Synopsis: Implicated in the murder after discovering a dead man, Annalee must clear her name, while entering into the tension and upheaval of Simon Wallace’s household.
  • Disclosure: I received a complimentary eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. Opinions conveyed are my own.

Scripture Connection

And God spake all these words, saying …

Thou shalt not kill.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Exodus 20:1, 13-16

The Exodus quotation from the Ten Commandments is included at the beginning of the novel. (King James Version, I’m guessing?) While I don’t usually use this sort of Scripture for the “Scripture Connection” portion of my review, it is definitely fitting for this book, as the novel demonstrates some of the pain and consequences that result from hurting one another and sinning in these ways.

Spiritual Themes

In this book, we see Annalee’s realistic walk with the Lord. Like many Christians, she struggles with trusting God in the scarier moments. But it is in those moments that we get to witness her genuine faith in, and reliance upon, God. For instance, when she simply prays to God for help, she recognizes that this is an honest prayer, and wonders if “[those] are the prayers God answer[s] first. Honest ones.”

And that conclusion certainly makes sense, given the Bible’s emphasis on sincerity in prayers. Jesus decries those who think their gods will listen because they pray long, showy prayers (Matt. 6:7). James discusses the importance of praying with sincerity, though this reference is in the context of doubt (James 1:6). Still, I think it makes sense in Annalee’s context, too, because the fact that she’s asking for help does show that she’s placing her faith in God.

We also see Annalee’s prayer of gratitude, in the last few pages of the book. She thanks God for helping her through a situation. It’s a short prayer, but what I like about it is its simple familiarity. While in some ways, the book is lighter in “spiritual content” than other books that I read, the brief moments of prayer point to the character’s simple dependence on God– and beyond dependence, a friendship with Him. Annalee doesn’t always get everything right, but it’s clear that she recognizes God is with her. And that friendship is beautiful.

I also enjoyed an allusion to Sherlock Holmes believing in God. I have not read all of the SH stories, but Raybon’s books definitely put me in the mood to!

What I Liked

Just as in the first book, quotations from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books are included as epigraphs to begin each chapter. This is something I really enjoy in the Annalee Spain books. Likewise, the detective element, throughout the story, is a lot of fun. I especially like to join Annalee on her undercover investigations, as she enters into the thick of the mysteries. In fact, reading this book reminds me of just how much I enjoy the mystery genre, exemplifying the differences between “mystery” and “suspense.” Plus, it definitely gave me the feel of a Sherlock Holmes book.

The historical elements are well-written. This novel, like the first, is set in the 1920s, amidst the resurgence of the KKK. In Double the Lies, the characters are becoming more aware of the presence of the KKK and of the hold that it is gaining in the community: terrorizing minority groups and banning entrepreneurs from the business world. The KKK is an imminent threat, and the reason Annalee must solve the mystery, throughout the book. Even so, she continues to demonstrate grace and dignity, even when confronting those who have made themselves her enemies.

The plot pacing was great, moving swiftly from one action point to the next, while also spending just the right amount of time on some particularly interesting moments, which I won’t spoil here. I also think the author did a good job of weaving in Annalee’s romance with Jack, while also keeping the mystery tight and engaging.

Character relationships, and not just romantic ones, were also a major point of interest for me, in this book. I enjoyed witnessing the formation of unexpected friendships, including friendships that resembled family connections, like Annalee’s continued relationship with young Eddie, a white orphan. It was also interesting to tag along with Annalee, as she untangled the complicated interactions within and surrounding the Mann and Wallace families.


At the end of the first book, Annalee learns that her parentage is not what she had thought, and part of the plotline in book two has to do with her reaction to this news. I’ve mentioned occasionally that I feel there is such a lack of media representation for people who experience this. Media typically portrays the “new family member” as a problem, rather than considering that person’s perspective. I feel that Patricia Raybon does an excellent job in her treatment of this theme.

Content Notes

As with the first book, there are a number of colloquial uses of the Lord’s name. Romantic content isn’t particularly graphic. There are a few allusions to Annalee “not minding” or “letting him” when Jack holds her closer or longer than necessary.

Recommendation Status

I really enjoyed All That is Secret, the first book of Patricia Raybon’s Annalee Spain series, and Double the Lies is an excellent follow-up. Recommended, in particular, for those who enjoy detective stories in the vein of Sherlock Holmes.

Published by Stephaniesninthsuitcase

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: