The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzieThe Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie

The Good Liar

byCatherine McKenzie

Paperback | April 3, 2018

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One explosion. Three women. Countless secrets. From bestselling author Catherine McKenzie comes a suspenseful, unsettling novel about what lurks in the wake of tragedy.

Everybody hides. Everybody lies.

On October 10th, three women’s lives are forever altered by a terrible accident.

Cecily was supposed to be in the building that exploded in Chicago and killed her husband. A photo taken of her as she watched the horrifying scene quickly brings her unwanted media attention as the “poster child” of the haunting event. Cecily has secrets she’s desperately trying to hide but cannot find a way to divert the media’s attention from her and her family.

Franny lost her birth motherCecily’s best friendin the destruction shortly after the two met. A year later, she and Cecily team up to help families obtain financial compensation for their loss, but their budding friendship is derailed when it starts to become clear Franny’s story doesn’t quite add up. How did she manage to track down her mother? And why did her mother keep Franny a secret even after they’d met?

A thousand miles away in Montreal, Kate is trying to create a new life. But what led her to leave Chicago in the first place? Will she succeed in moving on from her mistakes or will Kate be drawn back into her old life?

With surprising twists and turns, The Good Liar is a riveting read by a masterful storyteller that will make readers wonder how far they’d go to hide their own secrets.
Title:The Good LiarFormat:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 8.38 × 5.5 × 0.9 inPublished:April 3, 2018Publisher:Simon & SchusterLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1501178563

ISBN - 13:9781501178566

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Irresistible! Three women. One fateful October morning. A tragedy that will tie them together through secrets, lies and betrayals. Cecily, running late to a meeting, arrives at the building in which her husband works just to watch it explode. Franny, witnesses the tragedy on television, losing the mother she has just started getting to know. Kate, thousands of miles away in Montreal, watches the one year anniversary memorial on TV, desperate to hide her past. Another fast paced and engrossing read by the awesomely talented Catherine McKenzie. She craftily creates a story from breadcrumbs masterfully left within the pages you read, each woven together, chapter by chapter. Each morsel divulging a tiny glimpse of what is to come. You can feel it, just within your grasp, tantalizing, suspenseful, irresistible. As with her previous novels, and The Good Liar is no exception, Catherine's writing is so personal, probing and guaranteed to touch a nerve in the reader. It's as if she writes from experience and ultimately this is part of the charm and appeal of her books. In my humble opinion, this is why so many readers, me included will always keep coming back for more.
Date published: 2018-05-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome read Lies..............and more lies....................twists and turns...................and then more lies. A real page turner that will keep you up at night reading until the wee hours of the morning!
Date published: 2018-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lie after lie after lie... Wow...this will keep you on your toes...I found myself being fooled and conflicted...truly an emotional read!
Date published: 2018-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book will keep you hooked until the end! I've read every one of Catherine McKenzie's 8 novels and I think this one is now my favorite of them all. If I could give this one more than 5 stars, I would. I really like the way Catherine told the story from 3 different women's perspectives, tying the story together a little bit at a time, to all come together at the end. I couldn't put this one down and I've actually read it twice! I honestly had no idea how this was going to play out - Catherine has a fantastic way of writing so that you're hooked until the very end of the book. There was drama, twists, turns, hidden agendas, regret and secrets. The characters were people I would be able to relate to. Part of the story takes place in Chicago and part in Montreal. I love the Montreal references, as that is where I live and where Catherine is from as well. I like it as it helps me picture the story in my mind better, since I've been to a lot of the places that are written about. I recommend this novel to anyone looking for a good thriller full of suspense that will keep you hooked until the end. Catherine is a fantastic storyteller. I received a copy of The Good Liar through NetGalley for an honest review. Thanks to Lake Union Publishing and to Catherine McKenzie for the opportunity. I actually ended up picking up a paperback copy of the novel at Catherine's book signing at my local Chapters on April 7th, 2018.
Date published: 2018-04-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lies all around Won this ARC as part of Goodreads giveaways and am so happy I did! Great main story on a national tragedy and a deep dive into the lives of three women somehow tied to the tragedy. I like how you learned about them separately and as the book went along how their stories all intertwined. Each has many secrets and each has many lies but I loved the last lie revealed on the last page, revealing the good liar. Although this isn't her first book, I would definitely read another by her.
Date published: 2018-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Good Liar isn't "just another thriller" I've been reading Catherine McKenzie's books for years. I've enjoyed all of them but her last couple weren't as high up on my "really good" books list as I would have expected. But then I read her newest, The Good Liar. And it's fantastic. I'm finding the whole twisted story told by an unreliable female character trope getting a wee bit old. But then a novel like The Good Liar comes along and reminds me that there are a lot of really great stories being told in that genre (whatever we're calling that genre these days). I wouldn't really say this book is a psychological thriller because it's not quite a thriller - but it's definitely a psychological story. It's also a bit deceptive because you may think you know how all of the twisted threads will be unraveled. But, let me assure you, you will not know. Not at all. And I loved that! McKenzie starts dropping little clues to something being not quite right early on in the story. Some of them start to make sense quickly but others led to a complete shock for me. It's almost not until the last third of the novel that I start wondering who I should be trusting. Cecily seems fairly trustworthy but you know she's hiding something and when that's revealed first, you wonder what else she could be hiding. Kate's motivations seem simple enough on the surface but are they? And what about Franny? I also really liked that it was a balance of a mystery with a family drama. I mean, it's all tied together really but both parts of the story were told so well. Cecily is trying to find out what really happened the day her husband and her best friend (along with 500 other people) died. But at the same time she's raising two teenagers. And trying to start a new job. And maybe start dating? All the different facets of the story were balanced and told so well. The women are front and centre in this book. The men all play a secondary role to the females, which I thought was great. Even Teo, who is trying to weave his own narrative for his documentary, is never in the forefront of the story. I'm really excited for everyone to read The Good Liar. Catherine McKenzie is still one of my favourite authors and she's written an amazing novel.
Date published: 2018-04-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Lots of lies . . . The plot of "The Good Liar" focuses on an explosion in Chicago which killed over 500 and how this tragedy impacts several different people. As the story progresses, the reader realizes that lies abound. Cecily lost her husband in the explosion and is trying to rebuild her life with her two teen-aged children; she's participating in a documentary about the event - perhaps to bring her closure. It is believed her friend Katelyn, employed by her husband's company, died too . . . But did she? As I read this novel I became increasingly disturbed by inconsistencies. Perhaps that was the author's intention, as the book deals with lies. I could not, however, get past one inconsistency. When Katelyn appears alive in Montreal, one explanation is she got out of the building which exploded unscathed and that she decided to take the opportunity to run away from what was an unhappy life. If this decision was unplanned, why did she have her two passports (she held dual Canadian/US citizen) in her purse? In my experience one doesn't carry one passport, much less two, unless one plans to travel; she had both passports on her at the time of the explosion, which leads me to think that she was planning to run to Canada (she even says at one point that she knows Canadians must enter Canada on a Canadian passport). At this point in the story I began to doubt the tale, and from then on the author lost me. A disappointing read.
Date published: 2018-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! What a story! I received this as an ARC, in order that I post a review about it. Very complex and convoluted story but easy to follow. A building explodes, killing over 500 people. The story evolves as it follows 3 women in the aftermath of the explosion. There are secrets, lies, deceptions, lying by omission, betrayals and a twist every time you take a breath. The title was well chosen. By the time I finished the book I was not sure who was the best liar. Great book to read if you are looking to escape your own real life responsibilities for a short while!
Date published: 2018-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fascinating page-turner Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and NetGalley for an advance e-copy of The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie in exchange for an honest opinion. This is one great story. On October 10th, an office building in Chicago explodes, extinguishing the lives of more than five hundred people. The Good Liar is the story of three women whose paths cross and whose lives are changed forever by this tragedy: they are Cecily, Franny and Kate. It quickly becomes obvious that secrets dominate the storyline and all three women will need to tell lies to cope with each of their situations. This is a most fascinating novel and I could not turn the pages fast enough. The plot changes quickly and the suspense builds with each chapter. This is my first novel by Catherine McKenzie and I look forward to reading all of her previous and future books. The Good Liar is a must-read.
Date published: 2018-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thought-provoking, intricate, and masterfully crafted! The Good Liar is a perfectly executed, character-driven psychological thriller that highlights how devastating, damaging, and dangerous secrets can truly be and has you quickly questioning whether a good liar is one who lies out of benevolence or spite. The writing is polished and fluid. The characterization is exceptional with a cast of characters who each draw your curiosity, loyalty, sympathy, and doubt. And the plot told from multiple perspectives and using a mixture of narrative styles creates tension and suspicion as it unravels piece-by-piece all the deception, secrets, histories, personalities, and relationships within it. The Good Liar is one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read this year. It’s a clever, twisty, skillfully paced page turner that will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first page and will leave you surprised, shocked, satisfied and ruminating the weight grief, guilt, insecurity, and obsession have over our reactions to tragedy.
Date published: 2018-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lo So wonderful. Totally lived this book. Can’t wait to read again!
Date published: 2018-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Page-Turner This story pulls you in and holds you to the end, and even then, you need the epilogue to complete, and all the while you are thinking of 9 11 instead of 10 10, a real page turner. No one is who they appear, and when the bomb shells drop you are left flabbergasted and they just kept coming. The author has created characters that you will care for and feel like you are walking in their shoes, but would you do what these women did? A story that will make you think, and can we find out what is important to these people, for some it is family, but for others? This is one you don’t want to miss, and it will keep you thinking about it long after the last page is turned, and the last twist is dropped! I received this book through Net Galley and Lake Union Publishing, and was not required to give a positive review.
Date published: 2018-04-03

Read from the Book

The Good Liar 1 POSTER CHILD CECILY I’m late again. That’s rarer today than it was a year ago, because now, when I feel the tick of time, my body starts to prickle with an anxiety I can’t shake without medication, and I feel each second pass as if I’m one of the gears in a clock. As a result, more often than not, I’m early, my foot tapping with impatience as I wait for others as they used to wait for me. After what happened, I can’t believe anymore that being late has no consequence. I’m proof to the contrary. Yet, my changing personality isn’t rationally connected to what happened. I’m alive today because I wasn’t in the building. I wasn’t sitting on the fifteenth floor in a conference room with a river view, trying to remain calm. Because I was late, I was safe. Close by. Marked, scarred, even, but alive. Five hundred and thirteen other people weren’t so lucky. So I don’t want to tempt fate again or rely on not being where I’m supposed to be to save me from my destiny. Like the man who escaped the Twin Towers, only to die in an airplane crash a few years later. Death had plans for that man; it would not be denied. But despite my efforts, I am late today, my racing pulse reminds me. I check my watch for the twentieth time. It’s only five minutes past when I’m due, not enough to matter, I tell myself, breathing in and out slowly as I’ve been taught to do in these situations. My pulse slows. It will be all right. Death will give me a reprieve; even it can’t punish me for my lateness today of all days, the day before the first anniversary of my husband’s death. •  •  • “Cecily Grayson?” the receptionist for the Compensation Initiative asks. I try not to notice as every head in the room snaps toward me with a collective so that’s who she is. It would be wrong to notice. Immodest. Selfish. Ungrateful. I’m not allowed to be any of these things. Instead, I raise my hand as if I’ve been called on in class, follow the receptionist to my meeting with Teo Jackson, and try not to think about the fact that this building also has a fifteenth floor and I’m on it. The Initiative said they chose the floor deliberately when they rented the space and announced their intention via press release. They did it to remember—memorialize—the fifteen-floor building that had come crashing down a year ago. Remembering. That’s their purpose, they repeat loudly and often in ads you can’t skip at the beginning of YouTube videos or those pop-ups that follow you around the Internet like a basset hound. Remembering’s important, but the Initiative’s real purpose is compensation. Weighing up a life lost and assigning it a value, then paying it out to the victim’s family, changing their lives forever, though they’ve already been changed forever. There’s big money in this, I’ve learned, as the furnishings on this floor attest. I’m surrounded by plush gray carpet, newly painted cream walls, and expensive pieces by up-and-coming Chicago artists hanging under directed lighting. People might leave here millionaires or paupers, but they’ll all be treated to the experience. As if love or loss has a price. As if being denied access to the funds set aside to ease their way through life after suffering this tragedy can be softened by a glass of ice water with a perfect lemon wedge floating in it. I push these ungrateful thoughts aside. The Initiative has done a lot of good for a lot of people, myself included. I shouldn’t be so critical. Teo Jackson’s waiting for me in a boardroom lined with corkboards. They’re covered in multicolored cue cards arranged in columns. Above each one is a white card with one word on it. Street, reads one. Unidentified, reads another. “Cecily,” Teo says. “Great to see you again.” “Is it?” Teo rubs at his close-cut beard. His skin is a dark amber, and he’s wearing his trademark gray-blue T-shirt under a well-cut corduroy jacket. Inky jeans. Converse shoes. He’s worn some variation of this outfit every time I’ve seen him. I imagine his closet divided into four neat sections, his day eased by a lack of decisions. “Why would you even question that?” he asks, smiling with his eyes. I avoid eye contact. Teo’s far too handsome for my current level of self-esteem. “My therapist says I need to be more . . . definite.” “Does he?” “She. Yes.” I wasn’t in therapy before, but it’s the only place I can unburden myself. Now I use the fact that I have a therapist as a measure of someone’s merit—if they flinch or look embarrassed when I mention it, then I know they’re not worth bothering over. Teo doesn’t flinch or look embarrassed. He does, however, say, “Wait.” He picks up a pink card, writes Poster Child? on it in thick marker, then tacks it into place beneath the Street column. “What’s all this?” “It’s my storyboard. My map of the day.” He smiles again. It’s the first thing I remember about him, how he smiled and told me it was going to be all right when he had no way of knowing if that was true. But there was something about him that made me want to believe him, and so I did. “It’s what I do for every film,” he says. “It’s a way to set out the narrative.” “But it’s a documentary.” “It still has to tell a story. Have a beginning, middle, and end. A protagonist and an antagonist.” His hand shifts from one column to the next, tapping the cards so they pop. “A hero.” His hand comes to land on the card he just wrote on. “I’m not the hero, Teo.” “Why don’t you let me be the judge of that?” A year ago, Teo had been scouting locations with his assistant for a commercial he’d agreed to shoot to pay his bills. He was photographing some of the homeless who hang out at Quincy Station when the world turned sideways. He was another person who stood still that day, photographing Chicago as it changed irrevocably, taking a more careful catalog than the crowds who captured what they could on their cell phones. When the fire started to spread up Adams Street, he knew they had to get out of there. But first he decided to take one last shot. He caught me in a whirlwind of debris with the river glinting in the background. When I look at it now, the image seems staged, like a scene in a movie where the heroine’s been through hell and is waiting for her final showdown with a bad man who’s almost impossible to kill. My clothes are covered in grime, but my face is unmarred, and I’m staring fixedly at the building. If you look closely enough, the fireball it’s become is reflected in my eyes. He got his shots—click, click, click—and then he grabbed my hand and pulled me to safety. While we waited in Washington Station like Londoners during the Blitz, Teo uploaded that picture to a website freelance photographers use to sell their photos. It became the shot of the day, the image everyone associated with October tenth, and for the next month, two, three, wherever I went, my own face stared back at me. Somehow, I’d become the poster child for a tragedy that killed 513 people and injured more than 2,000, including Teo’s assistant, who ended up with second-degree burns on his arms and torso. I didn’t want the recognition, the notoriety, the fame. When Teo asked for my permission to upload the picture as we waited for the “all clear” in the station, I didn’t think of the consequences; I just said yes to the man who’d saved my life. By the time I thought to revoke my consent, it was too late. So instead, I’ve tried to pass it off, to play it down, to let it pass me by. But I’ve learned that you don’t get to choose what becomes an enduring image, even when you’re the subject of it. A couple of months ago, Teo was hired by the Initiative to make a documentary about what’s become known as Triple Ten, because the explosion occurred at precisely 10:00 a.m. on October tenth. His approach, he told me in the series of e-mails he used to persuade me to participate in his film, is to follow three families a year later. My family—the Graysons—is the “lucky” family. Though my husband, Tom, was killed instantly in the blast (one hopes, and one will never tell our children otherwise), we were able to recover his body; bury him; and, ostensibly, through the generous support of the Initiative, move on. One of the “unlucky” families—the Rings, who are fighting for their compensation—is the flip side of the coin. And then there’s Franny Maycombe. But more about her later. “I’m not sure I want to do this,” I tell Teo as his hand rests on the index card that’s supposed to represent me. His nails are short but neat, in contrast to my own, chewed down by my worry. “Why not?” “Isn’t it someone else’s turn in the spotlight? We aren’t the only family who’s been compensated. Why not use one of the others?” I turn from him and catch my reflection in the bank of floor-to-ceiling windows. I’m wearing black slacks and a simple gray sweater. My blond hair’s two months past a cut, but I’ve been told to leave it as is till we finish filming, “For continuity,” Teo’s production assistant told me. As if a couple of inches of hair could make me unrecognizable from the woman in that photograph. If only. “I understand how you feel,” Teo says. “But we need you in this film.” I inch over to the glass, getting as close as I can to see if panic sets in. Another side effect: ever since I missed that meeting, whenever I’m at any height above a few feet, 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. “Why, exactly? And don’t say because I’m the face of this tragedy. Please.” I touch the pane. It’s cold today, and the glass burns my fingers. I pull my hand away. My fingers have marred its clear surface, which now holds a perfect print of my index and middle finger. If I jumped, floating down like the lazy flakes that have started to fall from the dark clouds gathering above, they’d have something to identify me by. Teo moves behind me. “Because you’re the heart of this story, Lily. I can’t imagine telling it without you.” Lily. It’s what Tom used to call me. Had I told Teo that, or did I just look like a Lily to him? A placid flower floating in a pond, providing a counterpoint to the bullfrogs? “I’m not the heart of anything,” I say. My voice is wavering, unconvincing. I need to work on that, too, my therapist says. I shouldn’t live with so much uncertainty, or project it, either. “I wish you could see what I see,” Teo says, resting his hand on my shoulder. I lean against it, letting him hold my weight for a moment. “Ahem.” His hand’s gone so suddenly I almost fall. “Yes, Maggie?” Maggie is Teo’s production assistant. Twenty-five, slender, and dressed in an outfit my fourteen-year-old daughter, Cassie, would beg me for if she saw it, she looks at Teo territorially, even though, at forty-two, he’s technically old enough to be her father. I wonder, not for the first time, whether something’s going on between them or if he’s just the object of her fantasies. “Franny Maycombe’s arrived,” she says. I guess we’re getting to Franny faster than I’d planned. I catch Teo’s eye and shake my head. “Can you ask her to wait?” he says. “We’re not quite done here.” “Of course,” Maggie says. “I’ll let her know.” “I thought you were close with Franny?” Teo says when Maggie’s out of earshot. “What’s up?” “I’m just tired. It’s a lot right now with the memorial and everything, and Franny . . .” “Can be needy?” “Yes, frankly. Not that I blame her.” I turn back to the window. Teo lets me take a minute. A beat. “Are you still okay to do your first interview tomorrow? After the memorial?” “I suppose you’ll be filming all that, too?” “I will.” My eyes meet his in the glass. What does he see when he looks at me? I don’t feel like the woman on the cover of all those magazines. What’s that song? “Pretty on the Inside.” I used to feel that way. Now . . . “And after,” I say, “you’ll come to the house?” “Yes.” I guess there’s nothing left to do but face it. I nod my agreement. “Is there a back way out of here?”

Editorial Reviews

“McKenzie breaks your heart in this story of two grief-stricken women mourning the same man. Hidden’s complex grace and page-turning sympathy left me satisfied through every the last page.”