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Review: Here Lies Daniel Tate

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Here Lies Daniel Tate Cristin Terrillby  is another book that I received from the Ottawa Book Blogger Meet Up. It stood out to me because of the mystery angle, and mystery isn’t a genre I delve into often.


After his disappearance eight years ago, Daniel Tate – a child from an affluent family in Hidden Hills, California – reappears in Canada. He rejoins the family, and they welcome him and give him all the perks of their wealthy life.

The only problem is, he’s not Daniel Tate.

He’s a con artist. A young man fleeing from an abusive home and trying to get by any way possible. And with this latest lie it seems he’s hit the jackpot. Only, something isn’t quite right in the Tate family. With the fear of being discovered always at the back of his mind, one question keeps arising: what happened to the real Daniel Tate?

Let’s get into it…

I hardly think about mystery novels or thriller novels, especially in the YA range. I’m not sure why. I guess I never got in to them when I was younger, so there not a go to when I look for new books. But, if this one’s any indicator, I’m missing out.

The narrator of Here Lies Daniel Tate is quite compelling. It’s unreliable narration at it’s finest. As he recounts his story, he only gives brief glimpses into his own past. We know he has a troubled past and that it informs his actions among the Tates. However, he interrupts his recounting of events with speculations about what could have happened and what he wishes had happened without indicating that these are speculations until he snaps back into the present. These diversions, if you’ll permit me to call them that, add to the air of uncertainty that clings to the story.

Since a single perspective tells the story, readers follow along as the narrator becomes an investigator. It’s a fun ride to take, especially since the narrator’s unreliability makes you want to stay a step ahead of the narration. When I read mysteries and someone asks me “who done it” I don’t usually have an answer. I read very in the moment and don’t spend too much time actually trying to solve the mystery. But in this case, I was actively thinking about the plot. I was considering the different bits and pieces and how they would or could come together. And I’m a little pleased with myself for figuring out a key component of the mystery before the end of the novel.

And what about the novel’s conclusion? Well, its something I’m still thinking about. Not because of the way the various threads came together, but because of the implications of those threads coming together. Obviously, I can’t say too much without giving it away. But I’ll say it was disturbing. Yet, it got me to think about the bonds that hold people together, for better or for worse.

Final thoughts: Here Lies Daniel Tate is a fun mystery novel that shines thanks to its unreliable narration and intriguing plot.

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