In her latest, THE GOOD LIAR, Catherine McKenzie demonstrates the same strong handle of suspense narratives that readers enjoyed in Fractured and Smoke. The story is told from intertwining perspectives, though the bulk of the pages follow the strong and relatable Cecily, mother of two, during an impossible time: a year after her husband died alongside over five hundred others in a building explosion caused by a gas leak.
I feel as if I’m standing on a cliff and there’s a hand on my shoulder waiting for an opportune moment to shove me off. And sometimes, even, as if I might jump.
Cecily received a hefty financial compensation for her loss, and sits on a committee designed to determine other survivors deserving of the remaining funding.
In shorter chapters we hear from Kate, who was impacted by the same tragedy, though it’s unclear how. She left Chicago for Canada and is no longer with her family. She often thinks back on her old life, recalling things like her husband’s lack of support when they first became parents: They’d both come home from the hospital with the same amount of information. How had she become the expert and he the hopeless? But where is her husband now? Her children?
We meet Franny though transcripts with a documentarian. Like Cecily, she sits on the compensation committee, but unlike Cecily, her “right” to funds is yet to be determined.
The title relates to all three of them, to varying degrees and consequences. Readers will stay up too late working to understand what really happened and how a future can be built atop such an unsteady foundations. I read this in one sitting. Perfect for a summer read or book club discussion.
After working for years in technology, Abby turned to writing, and in 2017 her debut novel, I LIKED MY LIFE, was published by St. Martin’s Press. She’s also a human rights advocate, and when she’s not busy watching “the comedy show that is her children,” she manages to find time for one of her favorite activities, reading. Visit Abby’s website.