Hoarding Lies, Keeping Secrets

Your family has hidden its secrets well, for over two hundred years … are you prepared for its final horrors? The Morton women have long masqueraded behind honeyed tones and a veneer of polite society.

Returned to the family’s home after her eldest sister dies without a will, Jeanne Stewart must again face the pain of her family’s betrayals, deceptions, lies, tales of a poisoning, and dark secrets, while helping identify antiques and heirlooms for the State’s estate appraiser—in what’s become the house of a severe hoarder.

As the house is emptied of a hoarder’s junk, its emotional weight increases. Jeanne imagines herself well-acquainted with her family’s history, but nothing can prepare her for these final discoveries.

Available for purchase through Steel Cut Press and at Amazon.


A hoarder’s stash reveals a horrific secret in Michaele Lockhart’s engrossing novel about family dysfunction. Both timely and riveting, Hoarding Lies, Keeping Secrets will keep you glued to your seat.
~Betty Webb, author of Desert Wind

Michaele Lockhart’s new novel, Hoarding Lies, Keeping Secrets, had several profound effects on me: First, I will never again allow more than a few days worth of newspapers to stack up in our house. Same goes for old magazines, including my treasured Arizona Highways. Second, I am getting rid of all the old half-full cans of paint that I’ve kept in our garage, just for touch-up paint jobs around the house which never got done. Same goes for cardboard boxes that might come in handy if we ever decide to move, which we of course never will. And third, I will never have a house with a basement. Lockhart’s novel takes us inside the world of a once-prominent Texas family now reduced to a decrepit mansion filled with a hoarder’s dusty, rat- and insect-infected treasures. The story of a grotesquely dysfunctional family, it is also a keenly observed psychological study, and a novel where the secrets keep on coming, even after you think nothing worse could be hidden. Hoarding Lies, Keeping Secrets is both spellbinding and gritty, in a way that will leave you wanting to take a long shower afterwards. I recommend it strongly—the book, then the shower.
~Tom Walker, co-author, Contrary Creek

Hoarding Lies, Keeping Secrets is like cheesecake, one slice is never enough. Jeanne Stewart, forced to return to the Morton mansion because her elder sister dies without a will, meets Elizabeth Blanchard, an appraisal agent, with an eye for detail and an instinct for mystery. While touring the home and appraising items, many of value, Blanchard senses a waft of reluctance from Stewart to reveal her experiences in the Morton mansion. The more time these women spend together, the more Stewart gradually reveals her past relationship with her sister. However, not even Stewart is ready for the unveiling of horrors that render her shuddering under the blankets in her hotel room. The relationship between Stewart and Blanchard evolve from professional to personal as room after room is assessed for items of value, and Stewart relives her tortured childhood.
~Roja Gray, Tucson, Arizona

Hoarding Lies, Keeping Secrets, is a bombshell of a book. Beautifully written, we begin with what seems a simple task of closing up an old, once spectacular mansion, and preparing it for its end. The surfacing of all the lies and secrets hidden within the frame of the house, quickly becomes less a matter of cataloguing antiques, than of revelations of horrors the old house guarded so faithfully for years. See for yourself the evils possible to bury, and the “digs” necessary to bring them to the surface.
~Shirley Sikes, author of Suns Go Down

 Yipes!!! Is hoarding the symptom or the cause? This book offers a highly effective exploration of a frighteningly complicated problem.
~Jodi Wilson

With luscious and evocative prose, richly detailed, this story offers enough chills, dark basements, lurking evil, and dark and stormy nights to satisfy the most critical gothic fan. Reminiscent of “The Woman in Black,” (the play) the current focus is on two women who explore the family mansion after the last occupant, a hoarder, dies. I’ve watched a couple of episodes of the television show based on that affliction, but the descriptions of the Morton house are unforgettable in a way that the stuff on the television screen is not. Indeed, the house is the most poignant character, a kind of Quasimodo which both repels and saddens at the same time. Satisfyingly unpredictable pay-off on the mystery, too, but I won’t say more about that.
~Becky Masterman, author of Rage Against the Dying