Unintended Lies is aptly named considering its main characters are two former secret agents, Buck and Zane, and Catherine DeLong, a woman whose husband was killed in a car accident—or at least that’s what Catherine was told. All three characters have their share of secrets; some of those secrets they intentionally keep from one another; other secrets, even ones about themselves, they have yet to learn. And plenty of other characters in the novel, from sex-crazed Deb, to sinister Roger, and sweet and strong Uncle Walton, also have secrets to be revealed. Intended or not, the lies and the pasts of these characters entwine in interesting and unexpected ways that will give any reader plenty to keep him or her guessing.
The first potential secret surfaces when Catherine starts receiving mysterious checks from the government following her husband James’ death. She doesn’t know what to think about these checks, since her husband had no affiliation with the government–but his best friend and her accountant, Roger, insists the checks are nothing to worry about.
As Catherine recovers from her grief, she decides it’s time for a change so she purchases a farm and begins a new life. Meanwhile, Zane and Buck are also starting their new lives, having recently retired from their undercover work. Lifelong friends, the two men now seem fated to take different paths, but when Zane goes to visit Buck, who just happens to have started a new business running the feed store where Catherine buys supplies for her horses, a series of events are set into motion that result in Zane and Buck helping Catherine out in more ways than she ever would have imagined; and it all simply begins when Catherine does Zane a favor by keeping his horse at her farm.
Still reeling from her husband’s recent death, Catherine is soon called upon to look after her aging and ill Uncle Walton. In the process, Catherine must face her family skeletons while secrets come to light, which actually help her to heal and bring new people into her life. But the mystery behind James’ death is still not resolved, and while Catherine is not aware that a mystery exists, Zane and Buck prepare themselves to protect Catherine from what she does not know.
Author Linda Kendall McLendon does an excellent job of creating likeable, believable characters, showing us their fears and flaws, as well as their resilience, while allowing us to join them every step of the way as they discover new aspects of themselves. I couldn’t help but like Buck despite his somewhat sexist way of thinking, and I admired how Zane would stand up for Catherine whenever Buck crossed the line. Zane is a true gentleman and the kind of protector every lady would wish for when sick or vulnerable. Even the deathbed scenes with Catherine’s uncle left me unwilling to put the book down because I identified with and liked her so much that I was willing to accompany her even when her journey was painful. Unintended Lies is a true page-turner of a novel, and if I’d had time, I would have read it all in one sitting.
Fortunately, not all the novel’s unintended lies are revealed to the characters, nor are all the secrets told in this novel. McLendon is busy writing a sequel that will delve even deeper into the characters’ pasts. I can’t wait to find out more. I am sure these characters are connected in ways they haven’t even begun to guess. But for now, I’ll have to settle for speculating. In any case, Unintended Lies does not disappoint, and I’m sure that neither will the sequel.