The Lie Maker by Linwood Barclay: ingeniously executed, tingling with tension – book review –

The Lie Maker by Linwood BarclayThe Lie Maker by Linwood Barclay
The Lie Maker by Linwood Barclay
When nine-year-old Jack Givins’ father was taken away from their Boston home by witness protection officers, his tearful last words to the boy were ‘Your dad’s not a good person. Your dad killed people, son.’

Linwood Barclay, the bestselling US crime and thriller author with over twenty critically acclaimed novels to his name, takes us on another unforgettable wild ride in this gripping new mystery which stars a man desperately trying to track down his father before his ruthless, but unknown enemies, can get to him.

Brimming with Barclay’s exquisitely drawn characters, and featuring a pulsating, double-stranded mystery plot which delivers jaw-dropping, killer twists at every turn, The Lie Maker is top class entertainment from the tense opener to the high drama of the last act.

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When Jack Givins’ dad was whisked into a waiting car by a witness protection team, he left his terrified wife Rose and heartbroken young son to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives as best they could.

Twenty-five years later, Jack is a grown man with problems of his own. He’s a talented but struggling author who gave up a few years of working in newspaper journalism to write novels and is barely scraping by on the royalties from his two moderately successful books.

So when the U.S. Marshals’ witness protection service approaches him with a lucrative job opportunity, he’s in no position to turn it down. They are recruiting writers like Jack to create false but credible backstories for people in witness protection... people like Jack’s father.

The coincidence is astonishing to Jack at first, but he soon realises that this may be a chance to find his dad. There’s just one problem... it seems Jack’s father hasn’t made contact with his handlers recently, and they have no idea where he is. He could be in serious danger, and Jack may be the only one who can find him.

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But how will he find a man he has never truly known? He’s a man who has done terrible things in his lifetime and made some deadly enemies in the process... enemies who wouldn’t think twice about using his own son against him.

If Jack is to track down his father before their mission of revenge succeeds, he’s going to need all the help he can get from his girlfriend Lana Wilshire, a senior reporter on a leading Boston newspaper. Lana is currently investigating the mysterious disappearance of the retired judge who presided over his father’s trial and if the two mysteries are linked, they could both be in deadly danger...

Barclay enjoys keeps us guessing right up to the final, bone-crunching showdown as he ratchets up the psychological suspense each step of the way through Jack and Lana’s perilous hunt for the truth, and spreads menace and suspicion with the expert hand of a master storyteller.

But he also treats readers to the trademark authentic characterisation and dark brand of humour which have won his thrillers such a large and loyal fan club. From the insecure and haunted Jack to the fearless, resourceful and doggedly determined Lana, these are people who bring the story to vivid, visceral life.

Ingeniously executed, tingling with tension, and with an unexpectedly emotional father-son plotline, The Lie Maker is Barclay at his thrilling, chilling best.

(HQ, hardback, £22)

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