Good Liar (McKenzie)

The Good Liar 
Catherine McKenzie, 2018
Lake Union Publishing
380 pp.

Can you hide a secret with the whole world watching?

When an explosion rips apart a Chicago building, the lives of three women are forever altered.

A year later, Cecily is in mourning. She was supposed to be in the building that day. Instead, she stood on the street and witnessed it going down, with her husband and best friend inside.

Kate, now living thousands of miles away, fled the disaster and is hoping that her past won’t catch up with her.

And Franny, a young woman in search of her birth mother, watched the horror unfold on the morning news, knowing that the woman she was so desperate to reconnect with was in the building.

Now, despite the marks left by the tragedy, they all seem safe.

But as its anniversary dominates the media, the memories of that terrifying morning become dangerous triggers. All these women are guarding important secrets. Just how far will they go to keep them? (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—ca. 1973-74
Where—Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Education—J.D., McGill University
Currently—lives in Montreal

Catherine McKenzie, a graduate of McGill University, practices law in Montreal, where she was born and raised. She is one of three children of college professors at Dawson College. Growing up, McKenzie was fascinated by the law, perhaps hooked by the TV's LA Law. She eventually headed to McGill University where she attained a law degree and now practices litigation.

In addition to practicing law, McKenzie has also written some eight novels, several of them Amazon Best Sellers. As she told the Montreal Gazette, a lot of lawyers are writers. "To be a good lawyer, you have to be a good storyteller."

You’re not making up facts, but you are telling a story. To convince someone of something, you have to lay out the facts in a compelling way. The skills you develop writing effective pleadings and delivering them are very applicable to writing. Also, lawyers are driven, they’re focused, they know how to get things done.

An avid skier and runner, Catherine’s novels Spin, Arranged, Forgotten, and Hidden are all international bestsellers and have been translated into numerous languages. Hidden was an Amazon #1 bestseller and a Digital Book World bestseller. Her fifth novel, Smoke, was an Amazon bestseller, a Goodreads Best Book for October 2015, and an Amazon Top 100 Book of 2015. (Adapted from the publisher and the Montreal Gazette.)

Book Reviews
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.  READ MORE
Abby Fabiaschi, author - LitLovers

The questions raised by The Good Liar accumulate with every plot twist. What is the hierarchy of victimhood? Are you a bad person if you feel a touch of schadenfreude on hearing that someone you’ve known and disliked has died? Can we shield our children from the harsh realities of the world, and from our own flaws, without cheating them? What is the line, for a documentary filmmaker, between recording and exploiting? The Good Liar goes to those difficult places and many more.
Montreal Gazette

A riveting thriller
Entertainment Weekly

(Starred review.) [T]hought-provoking.… Who the good liar may be, and what that phrase might actually mean, are questions that will resonate long after the book is finished. Many will devour this book in one sitting.
Publishers Weekly

[Catherine McKenzie] builds suspense in steady, page-turning steps all while drawing the reader into the lives of her characters.… Each woman has secrets and each is a bit of an unreliable narrator of her own life to nice effect.
Library Journal

Give this to fans of seemingly benign characters with dark inner lives like those in Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies.

Perhaps liar should instead be plural—the lies are abundant, making it a satisfying page-turner that leads us toward a twisty surprise ending.

Secrets and lies swirl on these pages, intermingling with guilt and doubt. For readers who love experiencing one event from multiple perspectives, this is a gripping novel to pick up this spring (A Spring 2018 Must-Read Book),

Discussion Questions
1. Few people knew about the impending divorce between Cecily and Tom. What do you think about Cecily’s motives for keeping it a secret?

2. Do you think Cecily’s anger toward Tom even after his death is a way for her to avoid dealing with her grief and feelings of guilt, or is what he did so awful?

3. What would Cecily have to gain or lose by forgiving Tom?

4. Do you think Cecily is right to eventually tell Cassie and Henry about the difficulties in her marriage?

5.Cecily was supposed to be in the building at the time of the explosion but wasn’t. What role do you think fate played in that situation? How might Cecily and other characters have acted at various times if their beliefs about fate or coincidence were different?

6. Cecily feels too guilty about hiding the trouble in her marriage to see that she’s been a hero to many after the tragedy, while Kaitlyn believes herself to be a “bad mother,” even though she’s a good nanny. Why do you think some people have trouble seeing the good parts of themselves and focus only on their faults?

7. What do you think of Kate/Kaitlyn’s choice to run away from her family?

8. How much regret do you think Kaitlyn has about her actions in life? Do you believe she does love her children? How differently do you think you’d feel about it if the character were a man?

9.Kaitlyn risked exposure by returning to Chicago to save her family from Franny, but then she chose to leave again. Why? Do you think she made the right choice the second time?

10. Why do you think that Franny acts the way she does? What does that reveal about her? What is she hoping to accomplish?

11.Why are people so suspicious of Franny and her motives? What might she have done differently to alleviate those fears?

12.Why do you think Kaitlyn refuses to acknowledge Franny? How much of a role does that play in Franny’s actions, and in Kaitlyn’s own?

13.Has there ever been a time in your life when you were tempted to run away from everything?

(Questions found on the author's website.)

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