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The Good Liar

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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?

382 pages, Paperback

First published April 3, 2018

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About the author

Catherine McKenzie

25 books4,562 followers
Catherine McKenzie was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. A graduate of McGill in History and Law, Catherine practiced law in Montreal for twenty years before retiring to write full time. An avid runner and skier, she's the author of numerous bestsellers including HIDDEN, FRACTURED, THE and the GOOD LIAR. I'LL NEVER TELL was a #1 Amazon Bestseller, a Globe & Mail and Toronto Star Bestseller, shortlisted for the Hugh McLennan Prize for Fiction and has been optioned for a television series by Paramount TV. Her 2022 release, PLEASE JOIN US, has been optioned by Fox Television.

Her next novel, HAVE YOU SEEN HER, will be released on June 27, 2023.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,255 reviews
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,036 reviews3,556 followers
April 3, 2018
Five shining stars!!

Now that’s what I call a thriller! This one had me hooked from the first page, and it took every bit of willpower not to devour it in one sitting. After all, this was a traveling sister read...but I had a hard time waiting for my sisters to catch up to me!

October 10th. The day everything drastically changed for 3 women in Chicago, all tied to one horrid event. One thrust into the limelight, one forcing herself into the limelight and the third crouching into the shadows.

A documentary crew wants to research the events of that fateful day. As they dig deeper, secrets and lies bubble to the surface. So whose lies are told for protecting their own interests? And whose are to protect the ones they love?

Sometimes you read a book and it immediately clicks. As is the case with most avid readers, I was on edge that the ending would be a letdown. I can happily report it remained as good as the rest of the book! Highly recommend to all thriller fans!

This one is going straight onto my favorite’s shelf!

Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Katherine McKenzie

For this review and our full Traveling Sister review please visit Brenda and Norma’s fabulous blog:
Profile Image for Catherine McKenzie.
Author 25 books4,562 followers
October 2, 2018
I am so excited to let you know about my next book coming out in April, 2018! I hope you add it to your to-read shelf and spread the word! More details to come!
Profile Image for Mary Beth .
380 reviews1,616 followers
January 16, 2018
There are three characters, each telling their story. There is Cecily, Kate, and Franny. The big question is out of three, which one is the good liar. There are lots of secrets in this story. All of these woman are guarding important secrets. Just how far will they go to keep them. There is an awful tragedy. An explosion rips apart a Chicago building and the lives of these three woman are forever altered and each character tells their story of the tragedy. The memories of that terrifying morning become dangerous triggers.

This is a great psychological thriller. This one kept me guessing till the very end. The beginning had so much going on and I was so intrigued. I had so many questions. I was hooked and kept turning the pages looking for the answers to my questions. This was a Traveling Sister's read and we all were intrigued. It was a great discussion and I had fun reading each others thoughts. It was a very fun read. This book was a fast paced read but at the same time, I found myself lost and confused and had to go back and reread it. Some of the twists happen fast and that's why I would have to reread it. I had to slow
down to get all the pieces of the three characters stories. I couldn't read it with a lot of distractions. I mainly read this at night when my husband was asleep.

I didn't know who I could trust in this story. Some of the twists were shocking. This one was like a jigsaw puzzle. All the clues are there, but you have to sort them out and find where the pieces of this story belong. I did find one part of the story unrealistic but that was fine for me because I loved everything else about this story. This is a character driven novel. I really got to know each character very well.
I did find some parts of the story predictable, but I loved the ending, and it ended just the way I wanted it too, which doesn't happen. I found this book to be very addicting and loved the jaw dropping moments.
I recommend this book to those that love a psychological thriller.

I want to thank Netgalley, the Lake Union Publishing and the author Catherine McKenzie for the copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
781 reviews12.2k followers
March 25, 2018
Packed with some surprising twists and turns, The Good Liar an aptly tilted psychological thriller about three women tied together by an awful tragedy.

On a fateful morning in Chicago, a gas leak causes a building to explode, killing over 500 people. Left behind are Cecily, whose loses both her husband and best friend, mysterious Kate, a woman who lives in Montreal who has a deep connection to the explosion, and Franny, who was recently reunited with her birth mother only to lose her once again. All three women are hiding deep secrets and appear to be existing in a fragile reality built by their web of lies.

Told through the POV’s of the three women, secrets are revealed, lies are exposed, and friendships are destroyed.

One of the issues I had with this book is the way Franny’s POV is shared. Where the reader is privy to what’s going on in Cecily’s and Kate’s minds, Franny’s voice is only shared through transcripts of her interviews with the documentary filmmaker. I would have loved to see what was going on inside her twisted mind!

The Good Liar starts off slow, and I had a hard time connecting with the characters in the beginning because there’s a cold distance surrounding them. However the more bits and pieces of their stories are shared, the more I was able to connect. The twists don’t stop until the very end, and while I have read a lot of books lately with too many twists, I enjoyed them in this case because they served a purpose. I would recommend to my fellow thriller lovers!

Much thanks to Cam from Lake Union Fiction for sending me an ARC of this book!
Profile Image for Kendall.
635 reviews633 followers
January 21, 2020
Oh MY what a ride!!

This is my second read by Catherine McKenzie and man did I enjoy this book! First, let me just comment on the cover. So gorgeous!!

This one is a twisty and edgy story about secrets, lies, and betrayal that come to life surrounding the lives of three women that are connected. On October 10th at 10 am a building exploded that killed over 500 hundred people. Let's spring forward a year and "Triple Ten" is all over the media being remembered again.
The Good Liar is a strong character driven novel about three women Cecily, Franny, and Kaitlyn that have been impacted in different ways from the Triple Ten tragedy. The story is told alternating from the three women's perspectives and each story is slowly unfolded at the seams. But, it's never that simple is it? Who is telling the truth?! Who is possibly the "good liar?"
McKenzie does a fantastic job with her characterization. Her previous novel, Fractured, I thoroughly enjoyed and once again her skills/depth of writing is just flawless in this one.

Compulsive, addicting, twists, turns, drama.... what more can you ask for?! And, just how I like my novels... that last little twist McKenzie sprinkled on the top of the cupcake was AHHHHMAZZZING.

Pre-order this one ladies and gents! I promise you will not be disappointed. Highly highly recommend this addicting novel.

4.5 stars!! :).

Thank you so much to Netgalley, Catherine McKenzie, and Lake Union Publishing for an advanced arc in exchange for a honest review.
Expected publication date: 4/3/18.
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12k followers
May 14, 2018
4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars!

THE GOOD LIAR was an enjoyable and entertaining psychological thriller that was such an exciting and thrilling book to read. It's gripping, fascinating, intense, and filled with so many unexpected twists and turns that will keep you guessing right until that cleverly written surprise ending! I absolutely loved this book and it was extremely hard for me to put down. Would recommend!

Traveling Sisters Group Read – Thank you so much for another wonderful reading experience! It is always a pleasure reading along with these awesome group of ladies!
Thank you so much to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Catherine McKenzie for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book in exchange for a review!

Update: Also, thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for also providing me a copy of this book to read and review!

Review is written and posted on our themed book blog Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading:

Coulee is a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of
valley. I am surrounded by coulee's where I live!
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,011 reviews15.7k followers
April 4, 2018

4.5 spectacular stars rounded up! Almost perfect!🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This is my first book by,?Catherine McKenzie... but definitely not my last!

WOW! This book was just so delightfully twisted! The title really should have been; Who is the Best Liar of Them All? It is so hard to review a book like this, because you don’t want to give anything away.... such an amazing rollercoaster ride.... I want you to enjoy the ride as much as I did!

Along with the twisty plot were some pretty fantastic characters...Cecily was so likable and relatable, I really could see a lot of myself in her... a mom just really wanting the best for her kids after going through a major tragedy and some other pretty major issues... Kate and Frannie I found less likable and less relatable.... but they were pretty darn well developed..... and I really did spend the majority of the book trying to figure out the psychology behind their actions..... liars lying to each other, nothing more unreliable than that!

I emphatically recommend this book to all psychological thriller fans and anybody that enjoys a crazy ride of a book!😍

*** thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for a copy of this book ***
April 3, 2018
4.5 stars! What an addictive story!

This novel follows three women affected by the devastating tragedy of a building explosion in downtown Chicago that kills over 500 people and injures many others. These women move forward with their lives, trying to pick up the pieces after their traumatic personal losses. There are many secrets, lies and hidden agenda’s within this twisted tale – I was hanging on every word!

This is my first book by Catherine McKenzie and I fell in love with her writing! I’m a new fan and will be searching for her previous books to read ASAP! I found myself completely immersed within these characters lives and predicaments. The writing was smooth and captivating and simply perfect!

My reason for taking away ½ star was that there were a couple parts of the story that seemed slightly unrealistic to me – nothing too extreme, but enough that it left me questioning a few things.

This was a Traveling Sister Read with Brenda, Norma, Kaceey, Kendall, Jan, Berit, Sarah, Julie, Stacey and Diane. As always, it was wonderful discussing and dissecting this book with them. To find this review, along with the other Traveling Sister reviews, please visit Brenda and Norma's fabulous blog at:


A big thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Catherine McKenzie for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Expected Date of Publication: April 3, 2018.
November 25, 2020
Traveling Sisters group review

The Good Liar is a cleverly written, entertaining and engaging story with twists and lies that had my head spinning as I tried to untangle these complicated secrets and lies.

Catherine McKenzie does a fantastic job creating some well-developed and compelling liars here with our three main characters who are linked together by a tragedy. I became so tangled up with these unpredictable characters and keeping their lies together and it became a bit confusing at times. As our distrust of these characters builds we questioned them in the discussion who was really the “Good Liar” in this story. Catherine McKenzie does a good job creating connections to the characters and their lies and we really enjoyed our discussion as we tried to pull together those connections.

I loved that one of the settings in this story was in Westmount, Quebec. Catherine McKenzie does a great job creating the atmosphere here for Kate’s place of escape. It really added to the story for me as I was familiar with places that Kate visited in the story, especially The Westmount Park where the library is.

We loved that surprise ending that we didn’t see coming. We spent some time lost in the coulee discussing this one and we highly recommend for group reads.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Catherine McKenzie for a copy to read and review.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,195 reviews1,243 followers
January 3, 2018
Lies simmering on the back burner.

Bring to a rapid boil......and, wowzers, watch the spillover seeping onto the innocent and onto the guilty as well. Eternal blisters and forever scars.

The Windy City is the backdrop as Cecily Grayson rushes up the concrete stairs that meet the street level of The Loop. "Late" has an indelible mark on her back. Continuous rushing leaves her breathless with her head down and feet planted on each step. As she raises her head slightly, Cecily comes into contact with a massive explosion that hurls her to the ground with the power of the impact. A stranger grabs her hand and pulls her in the opposite direction towards safety.

But there will no longer be even a wisp of safety from here on out for Cecily. Her husband, Tom, worked in that building and so did her best friend. Her grief will find no privacy either as that stranger snapped a photo of her at the shocking moment it hit.....hair and clothing swirling and chaos reverberating with its horrifying aftermath on her face.

As time moves slowly forward, Cecily is contacted by Teo Jackson who is creating a documentary of the Triple Ten explosion based on his photo of Cecily. (10th month, 10th day, at 10 am) Cecily's photo has left her with the kind of notoriety that she longs to avoid. She has also been selected to be on the Compensation Committee for the 513 victims of the tragedy. This is where she meets Franny Maycombe. Franny has just found her birth mother who appears to be a victim of the explosion.

Catherine McKenzie has put out enough place settings at this story table to make your head spin. You don't have enough time to swallow down the first course while she serves up the next. Relentless sizzle to this one, dear readers. Just like we like it. Fast and furious with more rabbits in the hat than a magician at a kiddie party. Whoa! The lies spill out until we're knee deep in the stuff.
And secrets that will have you wincing as they all come tumblin' out.

Do yourself a favor and start out the New Year with a definite bang. This one makes more noise than a trove of clanging party favors. Enjoy the explosive ending for sure.

I received a copy of The Good Liar through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Lake Union Publishing and to Catherine McKenzie for the opportunity.
Profile Image for Dem.
1,184 reviews1,082 followers
January 22, 2018
3.5 Stars

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive.” ― Walter Scott, Marmion

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

Catherine McKenzie is without doubt a great story teller, creating a suspenseful and fresh thriller with intriguing characters who connect in a startling way. A book of secrets and lies that had me on my toes. The story is told in alternating narratives from each of the three women and we learn how their lives have been affected forever in the many twists and turns of the novel. Their stories start to unravel quickly as the plot progresses and while I liked the format of the novel I did find myself struggling to keep track of who was who and what exactly was happening but the story did settle down for me by the half way mark and I did enjoy the read.

A roller coaster of a novel which I think many readers will enjoy.

My thanks to Net-Galley for the opportunity to read this one in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,696 reviews14.1k followers
January 8, 2018
3.5 Cecily is on her way to meet with her husband, when the office building in which he works is destroyed by an explosion. Over five hundred dead, her husband among them. Her life, as well as two other women, Kate her best friend, and Franny, a young woman with some curious ties to them both. Cecily will become the face of the bereaved, a widow and now the single mother of two children. On the surface things appear simple but all these women have secrets they do not want known.

An addictive read, quickly paced with many, many twists and turns. Hard to know what was happening, because as soon as I thought I knew what would happen, the novel took a different turn. There were a few things I just couldn't come to terms with, things that I couldnt quite process as believable. Who was the Good Liar? One of them or all of them?

I did, however, love the ending. This is one book that after you read the end, makes you see everything, re-evaluate what you previously read in a new and different way. Very well done. It also made for a great sisters discussion.

ARC from Netgalley.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,713 reviews2,240 followers
October 30, 2021

3.5 Stars

”She gets up and pours herself a strong one,
And stares out at the stars up in the sky.
Another night, it's gonna be a long one.
She draws the shade and hangs her head to cry.

“She wonders how it ever got this crazy.
She thinks about a boy she knew in school.
Did she get tired or did she just get lazy?
She's so far gone she feels just like a fool.

“My oh my, you sure know how to arrange things.
You set it up so well, so carefully.
Ain't it funny how your new life didn't change things?
You're still the same old girl you used to be.

“You can't hide your lyin' eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you'd realize
There ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes
There ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes
Honey, you can't hide your lyin' eyes”

--Lyin’ Eyes – The Eagles, Songwriters: Don Henley / Glenn Frey

Cecily, Kaitlyn and Franny are the three main characters in this story, with lives that twist and turn and weave in and out of each other’s stories, connected at the core. Underneath that level where their stories are linked, there is a tragedy that occurs and in the aftermath of that tragedy, their lives begin to connect, as the lies slowly come to light.

An explosion decimates an office building in Chicago, one woman is running late that day, and arrives late, runs from the train up the steps just in time to see flames in the direction she should be heading. A crowd of people running into her, as she stands frozen in shock. A man’s hand grabs her, urging her to run. And so they ran. A photograph of her is taken, and overnight she is the face people will forevermore associate with this tragedy.

So many people, it seems these days more and more so, look for a life in the public eye. Fame is what they seek, hoping it will lead to fortune. An expected response to so many public figures who are famous for being famous, with little or no talent to show for it. But a life under public scrutiny isn’t all sunshine and lollipops, or rainbows. You don’t get to pick and choose what you want publicized. When your face becomes the face of a cause, a cause célèbre, a tragedy, you become fodder for the media.

This tragedy, and the ensuing trauma that envelopes those involved, had me questioning the public version of these three women as their more private, personal sides came to light. Little by little their thoughts revealed more and more of their stories.

I enjoyed this; it was a nice break from some of the heavier, more serious books I’ve been reading lately. I found this to be more psychological suspense than thriller (for me, anyway), a nicely paced, character-driven, thought-provoking story about lies and lying. The ones we are told, the ones others tell us, and the ones we tell ourselves.

There are a few breadcrumbs here and there for you to file away, or follow, but even if you think you know who the good liar is before you reach the end, you just might be wrong. The ending will have you looking back over all you’ve read as though you’re seeing for the first time these little things you overlooked in your haste to determine which person is really The Good Liar.

Published: 03 Apr 2018

Many thanks for the ARC provided by Lake Union Publishing
Profile Image for Liz.
1,964 reviews2,413 followers
March 22, 2018
Three women had their lives altered by an explosion that cost over 500 people their lives. It’s now the first anniversary of the event and all are looking back. Cecile is the grieving widow, Franny an adult who had just found her biological mother only to lose her and Kate, who moved to Canada to escape the aftermath. But each has a secret she’s worried will be exposed due to the media coverage associated with the anniversary.

I loved Fractured, MacKenzie’s previous novel. This one starts slower and took a while to grab me. There were lots of twists and turns. Unfortunately, not all of them held together. The women are not likeable to an equal degree. And while I couldn’t sympathize with one of them, I liked the way Mackenzie was able to detail her story.

I also loved the way that Mackenzie details the voyeurism and that sense of the crowd’s right to someone's personal life.

The title is spot on. What does it mean to be a good liar? One who does it well? Or does it for the right reasons?

So, final analysis… this is a good, not great psychological thriller.

My thanks to netgalley and Lake Union for an advance copy of this book.

Profile Image for Susanne.
1,157 reviews36.5k followers
February 11, 2018
3.5 Stars* (rounded up)

All eyes are on Cecily. They have been ever since October 10th at 10 a.m. (known as the Triple Ten) when tragedy struck and the Chicago high rise she was supposed to be in exploded with her husband and over hundreds of others inside of it. Cecily is the face of the tragedy you see. For her there is no hiding. Kate now lives in Canada, thousands of miles away, living a different life. Hiding has become her speciality. Franny may or may not be who she seems. She has been searching for something her entire life and after the tragedy of October 10th, she finally finds it.

These three women are bound together, whether they like it or not. All of them have secrets and have told lies to protect themselves, some worse than others. As we all know, secrets can’t stay hidden forever and when they come out, well, that’s when it gets good.

“The Good Liar” by Catherine McKenzie is an enjoyable character driven suspense novel. For me, this book was about the characters - all of whom were extremely well written. There were a few twists and turns that were unexpected, though I also found a few things to be a little unbelievable as well. All in all, it was a clever, fast paced, easy read that I would recommend as it kept me entertained.

Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and Catherine McKenzie for the complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 2.11.18.

*Will be published on Amazon on 4.3.18.
Profile Image for JanB .
1,129 reviews2,289 followers
March 10, 2018
Oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we begin to deceive. And never is that more evident than in the stories of these three women in the aftermath of an explosion that kills over 500 people.

Cecily was supposed to be in the building at the time the explosion took place but was running late and so was spared. Her husband and best friend were killed that day, and she is in mourning. Franny is a young woman who was in search for her birth mother, who was killed when the building exploded. And then we have Kate, the most mysterious of the three. She’s on the run and in hiding, but why? What is her story?

The story line toggles back and forth from before the explosion to the current day, the one year anniversary of the tragedy. All of these women are harboring secrets. Even the dead had secrets. Are some secrets worth keeping or is the price too high? When is a lie justified? Where is the line drawn? The twists and revelations continued right up to the last page. Who is lying and who is the best liar of them all? You will start to question just who the good liar is and your opinion may change several times as you read.

I found the author’s writing style engaging, her characters interesting, and the story line a page-turner. The characters were compelling and I admit to being shocked on more than one occasion. After I turned the last page I found myself going back and re-reading certain parts and questioning some of my assumptions. There are moral dilemmas to grapple with, and there are circumstances that are debatable, which is why I think this would make a thought-provoking book club choice.

Many thanks to Netgalley, Catherine McKenzie, and Lake Union Publishing for a copy of the e-book for review.
This was a great discussion book with my fellow traveling sisters!
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,089 reviews30.1k followers
April 3, 2018
4 suspenseful stars to The Good Liar! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Published today, April 3, 2018!

The Good Liar has a completely original premise that hooked me from the start. Three women’s lives are inextricably linked when there is an explosion in a Chicago building.

Each woman is impacted differently by the fire- one watches the building burn as her husband and best friend are inside, one is searching for her birth mother and knows that the woman she is desperately seeking is inside as the building crumbles, and one is fleeing the disaster and moving over 1,000 miles away.

The women all appear to be safe after the disaster, but what bubbles underneath the surface for all of these women is secrets, lies, and intense betrayal. Who do you trust? What is the truth?

The Good Liar is a character-driven psychological thriller with a satisfying and worth-the-wait ending. The twists and turns took me by surprise and kept me glued to my Kindle. If you are looking for a fascinating, thrill ride of an adventure, The Good Liar is an honest bet!

Thank you to Catherine McKenzie, Carolyn at Lake Union Publishing, and Netgalley for the ARC. The Good Liar is available now!
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,001 followers
January 15, 2018
I love Catherine McKenzie’s work, and this novel, although different from her other books, was just as enjoyable a read.

On October 10 at 10 a.m. an explosion decimates an office building. Three women who escaped the tragedy are forever marked. Their stories are told in part because a documentary filmmaker interviews them about the experience.

Told from the alternating points of view of the three women, lies and deceptions are slowly unveiled right until the very end, which had me smiling and thinking, bravo Ms. McKenzie.

Thanks so much to NetGalley and Lake Union publishing for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this novel, which RELEASES APRIL 2, 2018.

For more of my reviews, please visit: http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
Profile Image for Matt.
3,673 reviews12.8k followers
March 12, 2018
So close, but I have to call it 3.75 stars!

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Catherine McKenzie and Lake Union Publishing for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Catherine McKenzie is back with another novel that pushes the reader to think while enjoying this fast paced story. On October 10th at 10am (Triple Ten), an explosion rocked a building in Chicago, leaving more than 500 dead and destroying many families. This story surrounds the lives of three women with intimate ties to that explosion and the personal tragedy that befell them. Cecily has spent the last year coming to terms with the loss of her husband, Tom, and how she will raise two children on her own. Not only does she have that on her plate, but she was on her way to see Tom when the explosion occurred and her face was caught by a freelance photographer, making her the ‘face’ of the tragedy. Cecily has been forced to endure the faux-celebrity of being ‘that woman’, personifying the Triple Ten event for the last twelve months. Franny Maycombe has become a friend of Cecily’s over the last year, as they both sit on the compensation board for the families of the victims, in hopes of bringing some financial stability during these trying times. Franny lost her biological mother in the blast, an event that is still hard to digest. Franny was adopted as an infant and just recently discovered her birth mother who lived in Chicago, only to see her killed after such a short reunion. Franny’s story emerges in a series of interviews conducted by an eager filmmaker, trying to create a documentary of the Triple Ten event a year later. The more the reader learns of Franny, the more mysterious she becomes. The third woman who plays a key role in the story is Kate, who has relocated to Montreal and tried to put the events of Chicago behind her. Kate has a secret that no one knows and a family that presumes she is never coming back. With the anniversary of the Triple Ten, Kate is forced to come to terms with what happened and her role in the larger scheme of these. Cecily, Franny, Kate... three women who have suffered, though all have also been holding onto a lie from that day; a lie that could destroy them. Keeping it under wraps might be the only way they can come out of this as a good liar, if such a thing exists. McKenzie offers up another wonderful piece of writing that is sure to attract the attention of many, as it is thought provoking and leaves a definite aftertaste. Those familiar with her work will likely enjoy this piece, though new fans are sure to emerge as well.

I can admit that I thoroughly enjoyed this piece, even if I felt there was something holding it back. I kept thinking to myself that this book is on the cusp of being ‘great’ for me, but lacked something on which I cannot place my finger. As though superb is on the other side of a thin cellophane wall, but I was kept from it by McKenzie holding something back with the story and her characters. The three women who spend much of the time in the spotlight could not be more different and similar at the same time. Cecily is struggling with digesting Tom being gone and the strains within her marriage. Franny wants nothing more than to connect with her biological mother’s family, as well as slide into the middle of the drama that is Triple Ten mourning. Kate hides herself away, though has an interesting backstory for leaving and choosing to make her way up to Canada. All three propel the story forward, working with a handful of well-crafted secondary characters. The story is rich in both backstory and character development, a strong suit for McKenzie, and said pieces help form a strong foundation on which the story can rest. There is something eerie and yet heartwarming about the story and the way it develops. Struggle is woven throughout, though each of the three protagonists comes at it from a unique perspective. Added to that, the constant theme of lies and deception helps to imbue a strong sense of distrust between characters and forces the reader to judge the actions of those on the printed page, while also trying not to be too harsh. McKenzie uses some interesting techniques in the book to pull out the plot, with the direct approach that Cecily portrays, the more ‘interview-centric’ release of information that Franny utilises, and Kate’s thoughts and flashbacks to deliver her own personal angle. All three work effectively, as does the documentary that pushes the story along, though there seems to be something missing that kept me from proclaiming that this was another masterpiece. I suppose the slow development that led to an abrupt end, as though the reader was expecting a climax and had the carpet pulled out from under them. However, McKenzie’s writing is so strong and alluring that some weaknesses cannot take away from the overall pleasure that comes from reading this novel.

Kudos, Madam McKenzie, for dazzling and keeping things fresh throughout. I have encouraged others to read your work in the past and will continue to do so.

Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Taryn.
325 reviews294 followers
August 13, 2018
3.5 Stars. Three women's lives are altered by a national tragedy. They all have parts of their lives that they're trying to keep hidden, but it's difficult to conceal anything when the whole world is watching. Tread carefully when reading about this one because there are many twists and turns. I've tried not to be too specific beyond each character's first two chapters, but sometimes it's easy to read between the lines!

Kate couldn’t help thinking that whenever more than five hundred people die together, odds are that at least some of them were assholes. It was the law of averages. And also: deep down, at least one person was probably glad when their wife, husband, lover, friend didn’t come home that day. That was the law of averages, too.

On October 10th at exactly 10:00 AM, a blast ripped a Chicago building apart, killing 513 people and injuring thousands.
• Cecily Grayson was on the way to her husband's office building when it exploded before her eyes. Her husband was killed and in an instant she became a widow and a single mom. If she'd been on time, she would've been one of the victims too. A photograph of her shocked reaction to the explosion went viral, turning her into the reluctant poster child of the tragedy. Maintaining the public face of a brave, grieving widow while hiding the truth about why she was there that day makes her feel like a fraud.
• Kate Lynch left behind everything to begin a new life and forget all she lost that day, but the wall-to-wall news coverage of the tragedy's first anniversary makes it impossible to hide from her past.
• Franny Maycomb had just found her biological mother only to lose her in the explosion before their relationship could develop. Now she's the co-chair of the victim compensation program, charged with making sure funds are distributed to legitimate victims.

One year later, the community is still dealing with the aftermath of the Triple Ten tragedy. Cecily and Franny agreed to participate in a documentary about the incident, but the filmmaker (Teo) senses that they're both holding something back. Is Teo "a storyteller or a man looking for a story?" The increased scrutiny threatens to reveal everyone’s lies. Will these women's secrets be exposed before they're able to deal with them on their own terms?

“Coincidences aren’t strange or the evidence of anything; they’re a part of life.”

When I was in high school, I picked up The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve off the top of my mom's library stack. It was my first adult novel and I was completely enthralled by the story of a marriage that wasn't as it appeared. The details have faded from my memory, but the experience of reading it has always stayed with me. I'm always looking to recapture that feeling! The Good Liar was similarly addictive. I had to repeatedly remind myself to slow down because I kept trying to absorb the pages just by glancing at them! I had a good idea of how most of the story would unravel, but I was anxious to see the steps that would lead us to the end and how the characters would react to revelations. The end brought a couple of surprises, but it's also the reason that this story hasn't stuck with me over time. One component stretched credulity, but the other one made me want a hundred more pages! There was also a police brutality scene that felt out of place and disrupted the flow. It wasn't so much about the character it was happening to as it was a transparent way to humanize a flawed character.

“Life’s complicated. There are no easy, binary inputs. You can’t expect a particular result where people are concerned.”

From the beginning, the author set up specific questions that I needed answers for: What does Cecily feel so guilty about? What is Kate hiding from? What's Franny's deal? Cecily was the most relatable and I could see myself having similar reactions. She's attempting to make sense of her life before and after the tragedy. The events of the past year have destroyed her sense of control and certainty and it's uncertain if she'll ever get that feeling of stability back. While Cecily is struggling to deal with her problems, Kate runs away from hers. Kate doesn't see herself as others see her. She went through the motions of what she was supposed to do in life, but maybe that wasn't the best path for her. Franny is the biggest enigma since we only get insight into her mindset through the filmmaker's interviews. The way she wholeheartedly inserted herself into the tragedy is distasteful to many and she lashes out at anyone who questions her sincerity. Is the desire for love and acceptance the only motive behind her neediness and attention-seeking behavior? The characters didn't always act in a "storybook" way. Their emotions were messy. They hold on to anger and sometimes choose to stay in denial. Sometimes they harshly punish themselves for decisions that would be understandable to most. Some of their actions defy logic, but I came to understand the thought processes and desperation that led to their predicaments.

He didn’t want to be the sun and the moon and the stars: just the stars would do. ...

Here’s what I didn’t factor in: because we were just the stars, one of us might start to miss the moon or long for the sun. We’d packed those things away as unattainable, unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, but they weren’t. I’d forgotten to account for the fact that even the brightest of stars may dim as the
years tick by because of compromise, because of time, because of life.

And if you’re used to the stars, however clear they may be in a country sky, how can you even see them if the moon is full? What chance do they have in face of the sun? If you looked at the sun for the first time, really looked, after all that stargazing, you’d be blinded. And then sunlight begins to feel essential in a way it never did before; starlight pales by comparison.

Part of the emotional resonance of this novel were the echoes of events we've witnessed in real-time. It triggered memories of 9/11 and all of the iconic images that have circulated after real-life tragedies. When Teo photographed Cecily's shock, he captured a moment in time that resonated with many. What's it like to be thrust in the spotlight during the worst moments of your life and to feel pressured to play a role when the public takes ownership of your story? In The Good Liar, there are characters that are skilled liars and characters who lie with good intentions—sometimes they're a combination of both. Does lying automatically make someone a bad person or are lies sometimes necessary or forgivable? Can a person be two contradictory things at once? These women feel/felt pressure to present a specific image or to obtain a specific ideal. Just like Teo seems to have cast them in specific roles for his documentary, these women are also performing roles in their own lives. They're all are juggling multiple selves, some wishing to shed the old parts and others desperately wishing they could get those old parts back. The disconnect between these women's public faces and the many facets of their inner lives is disorienting for both the reader and them! All the lying and compartmentalization has unintended, sometimes disastrous, consequences.

The Good Liar is a well-paced story that really gets you inside the characters' heads. I wouldn't describe it as a thriller, although a sense of danger does develop by the end. I was most captivated by the insight into the behavior and emotional states of the characters. I felt a big reading rush after I finished it, but its impact has faded with time. Sometimes a great read is a book that simply consumes me in the moment and magically turns the hours into minutes. I'm rounding my rating up for that reason and because it made me want to read all of Catherine McKenzie's books! Looking back over some recent reads, The Good Liar reminded me most of Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart, In This Moment by Karma Brown, Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser, and Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt. These are all domestic dramas where I felt like I really got to know and understand the women whose ordinary lives took an unexpectedly eventful turn.

What makes an image unforgettable? (CNN, 2013) - "I think the most important common denominator is that they strike us on a very deep emotional level, and the emotions are usually some of the deepest emotions that a human being can feel: heroism, fear, grief, joy," said Peter Howe."
• Don't click these if you're going to read the book: Link 1, Link 2.
• A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it never tells the whole story. I read this book around the time that Devonte Hart & his five siblings were murdered by their adoptive mothers. The 2014 photograph of Devonte hugging a white officer during a Ferguson rally became an iconic image and was said to have brought both positive and negative attention to him and his family. Since then, more has been published about how the moment came about and the horror beyond all the "happy family" photos that circulated in the press.
I received this book for free from NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It's available now!
Profile Image for Holly  B (busy month catching up).
799 reviews1,807 followers
April 8, 2018
Definitely a lot of lying going on in this book. Uncovering them will keep you engaged until the end.

This one starts off strong with an explosion in a building and people running for their lives. Focusing on three women who are impacted by the tragedy in different ways. Which one has something to hide? something to gain? something to lose? Which one lies?

Alternating narratives from each of the three women (which I really enjoyed) let us in on some things they were hiding or running away from. Their stories start to unravel as the plot progresses and interviews for a documentary take place. I also enjoyed the format of the question/answer transcripts from the interviews. Stay focused if you read this one because there is quite a bit going on that you may question later. Happened to me...more than once!

Some startling twists and a fast paced plot put this one at the top of list for psychological thriller lovers.

Traveling Sister Group read was super fun and enjoyed it so much.

Thanks to Lake Union Publishing and netgalley for my arc
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,102 reviews45 followers
May 9, 2018
This was a slow and ultimately underwhelming read for me. While the premise was interesting, I was not drawn into the story. I didn't find myself caring about the characters or their situations in any way. I thought the twists were minor and not particularly thrilling. Even as I got closer to the end, I didn't get excited to see how everything would play out. Another reviewer said they would not classify this as a thriller and I agree. There wasn't enough suspense or thrilling moments for me to enjoy this as a typical page-turner thriller.

Even though I did not connect with this story, I would try another book by this author. My thanks to Lake Union Publishing for the ARC.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,318 reviews4,843 followers
November 25, 2021

3.5 stars

This psychological thriller revolves around three women whose lives are profoundly affected by a disaster. Their names are Cecily, Franny, and Kate.


The story: Cecily Grayson, running late as usual, was hurrying to meet her husband Tom when his Chicago office building blew up in front of her eyes. Shocked into immobility, with ashes raining down on her, Cecily just stared at the building until a stranger grabbed her hand and yelled 'run.'

Cecily's savior was Teo Jackson, a documentary filmmaker who happened to be taking photos in the area.

Teo admitted to snapping a picture of Cecily in the midst of the explosion, and - with her permission - sold it. The photo went viral and Cecily became the 'poster child' for the tragedy, which killed over 500 people, including her husband. The hubbub resulted in Cecily and her children, Cassie (now 15) and Henry (now 13), being thrust into the public eye.

Investigators determined that the disaster, called 'Triple Ten' - because it happened on October 10th at 10 A.M. - was due to an accidental gas explosion, and a fund was established to compensate the victims' families. Applicants had to prove their relative was killed in the blast, and rejected claimants could appeal to the 'Compensation Initiative' - a committee co-chaired by Cecily and a twentysomething woman named Franny Maycombe.

Franny, an adoptee who had just reconnected with her biological mother, was shattered when her 'real' mom was killed in the blast. The biological mother's family - husband Joshua Ring and daughters Emily and Julia - were denied compensation, and Franny has been petitioning the Compensation Initiative, trying to get money for them.

It's now the first anniversary of Triple Ten, and a memorial service is planned for the victims. Stories about the commemoration are all over the media. Kate, who works as a nanny in Canada, can't bear to watch these features - but her employer Andrea is addicted to the news. So Kate can't help but see what's going on in Chicago.

As the story unfolds, we learn that Cecily, Franny, and Kate are all harboring secrets.....but maybe not for long. Teo Jackson is making a documentary about families affected by Triple Ten. The film features Cecily Grayson and her children; Joshua Ring and his daughters; and Franny Maycombe.

Inevitably, unknown facts come to light.

The narrative alternates between the points of view of Cecily and Kate, with excerpts from Teo's interviews with Franny. Thus we see events from several vantage points.

Cecily is struggling to raise her teenagers without her husband, and trying to get on with her life. Her media exposure puts Cecily in the sights of paparazzi and reporters, some of whom will do anything for a story. (One of these guys should go to jail!)

Kate anguishes over her troubled past, and keeps busy with the two cute toddlers in her care. The kiddies are more perceptive than their self-involved mom, and almost expose Kate's secret.

Franny had a sketchy childhood and seems to have little use for the people that adopted her. She longs for a new loving family.

Some of the characters behave less-than-admirably, and would make great guests for television talk shows. (Calling Dr. Phil.....LOL)

There's surprise after surprise as the story proceeds, all of which leads to an eyebrow-raising finale that I didn't see coming.

I enjoyed the novel and recommend it to fans of psychological suspense stories.

Thanks to Netgalley, the author (Catherine McKenzie) and the publisher (Lake Union Publishing) for a copy of the book.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,121 followers
April 2, 2018
3.5+ Explosive Stars!

THE GOOD LIAR weaves together the lives of three women plagued by a building explosion (no spoiler here) that occurred October 10 at 10:00 a.m.....all three with secrets....all three linked.

Catherine McKenzie's new novel has a wonderfully original storyline that she backs into enticing the reader to wait for answers. Already a big hit as evidenced by high ratings on Goodread's, I must admit it was a bit perplexing and beyond belief here and there (for me) but at no time did I waiver in wanting to find out the whole truth and identity of THE GOOD LIAR

Epilogue makes for a great finish!

Many thanks to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC coming April 3, 2018 in exchange for an unbiased review.

Profile Image for Zoeytron.
1,028 reviews661 followers
April 11, 2018
Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.

Three women.  One who has been grievously wronged, one who is filled with guilt, and one who just isn't . . . . quite right.  Someone is lying up a storm.  Is it just one of them?  Could it be all three?  At least one of them is a very good liar.

Oddly enough, my estimation of this was higher while I was reading it than it is as I am writing my review.
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,183 reviews891 followers
June 12, 2018
At 10:00 a.m. on October 10, a building in downtown Chicago suddenly explodes, forever altering the lives of three women. The story is told by Cecily, whose husband died in the explosion; Kate, who fled and began a new, secret life in Canada; and Franny, who lost the biological mother she’d just found.

The narratives are also presented against the backdrop of a documentary reporter’s interviews on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the explosion. All of these women are harboring secrets about that day and the story slowly reveals each. I really liked how the narratives transitioned between characters and the interviews, which often served as a bridge. It was a unique approach that worked well, especially with the multiple narrators used for the audio edition. I always knew who was speaking as the voices were distinctive and well matched for each character. The audio performance was well done.

I very much enjoyed this story that threw a lot of curves throughout but especially at the very end. I thought I’d figured them all out but the epilogue was a stunner. It’s one of those that makes you want to go back and revisit parts of the book (which I did) to see if the clues were there. This is a cleverly written story with lots of psychological angles and is wonderfully served up by the audio performance. My first by the author but not my last.

(I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review)
Profile Image for Jan.
423 reviews249 followers
February 12, 2018
4 1/2 stars

Fantastic storytelling!

*Some plot scenarios really stretched the imagination, so be prepared to suspend your beliefs-it's so worth it!!*

On October 10th at 10:00, a bomb goes off in the heart of downtown Chicago, killing over 500 people in the building. From this devastation we get to meet 3 women. One who becomes the 'face' of the Triple 10 tragedy, one who leaves everything behind in hopes of a new life, and one who seeks to get the life she was denied at birth.

Told from multiple POV's, the author slowly lets the reader get to know these woman and their backstories, all leading up to that tragic day.

This story is well written with memorable characters (some that I liked, and others not so much) and a few great twists that I didn't see coming. I did take a half point off for some of the extreme plot lines like and there were a few others that I forgave the author for, as they just made the whole story so much better with them in.

Highly entertaining read in my opinion, and I look forward to my next adventure with Ms. McKenzie!!

ARC provided by NetGalley
Profile Image for Michelle .
863 reviews1,225 followers
March 22, 2018
I read Fractured by Catherine McKenzie and absolutely loved it so when I saw this book on NetGalley I didn't even hesitate to request it. Sadly, I didn't really care for this one that much.

On October 10th at 10:00am there is an explosion in a down town Chicago office building that kills 513 people. Cecily lost her husband and best friend Kaitlyn.

Fast forward one year later and a documentary is being made following three families that were effected by this tragedy.

We follow three POV's through out. That of Cecily the widow, Kate who escaped the explosion, and Franny who is the long lost daughter of Cecily's best friend, Kaitlyn, who gave her up for adoption at 18.

This book for me was just long and somewhat boring. The twists were fairly predictable. The last 30% was definitely the best part of the book and I thought everything up to that point sort of dragged. Still, Catherine McKenzie is a talented writer that I will gladly read again. 2.5 stars rounded up!

Thank you to NetGalley & Lake Union Publishing for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for [S] Bibliophage.
950 reviews855 followers
August 20, 2018
The Good Liar is one compelling novel that will definitely make anyone look forward to what will happen next. The story was split into three accounts: the interview transcripts between Teo and Franny Maycombe; the tale of Cecily and her Grayson family; and the narrative of Kate and her Rings family. It is about the story one year after the massive explosion in downtown Chicago that killed 513 people and also left a lot of injured.

The Initiative was formed in order to regulate the compensation package to be given to the victim’s family; they decide who should be approved and how much they are to be compensated. It was funded by the outpour of monetary donations and the group was worried about the drop off of support. Hence, they come up with the idea to release a documentary about the three victim’s family: the Grayson, the Rings, and about Franny’s family.

Cecily is the chair of the recommending body of the Initiative, while Franny is the co-chair of it. Cecily loss her husband, Tom, in the accident; whereas Franny loss her mother, Kaitlyn. All three women: Cecily, Franny, and Kate, has their own dark deep secrets they try to hide. But circumstances made two of them come out and try to change the fate and protect their loved ones.

Although I found the story of The Good Liar a bit predictable, especially in the story of Cecily and Kate, the ending is rather unexpected. I just wonder what happened to Kate in the end because readers could surmise Cecily and Franny’s story, but as for Kate, it’s quite hard to guess.

The Good Liar is an addictive, interesting, and gripping novel that I really enjoyed. The story of these women, particularly Cecily and Kate, is about the tale of forgiveness, moving forward, friendship, honesty, love for the family, and bravery. One gripping book that is not only very entertaining but also truly astounding.
Profile Image for Liz.
1,964 reviews2,413 followers
April 14, 2018
Three women had their lives altered by an explosion that cost over 500 people their lives. It’s now the first anniversary of the event and all are looking back. Cecile is the grieving widow, Franny an adult who had just found her biological mother only to lose her and Kate, who moved to Canada to escape the aftermath. But each has a secret she’s worried will be exposed due to the media coverage associated with the anniversary.

I loved Fractured, MacKenzie’s previous novel. This one starts slower and took a while to grab me. There were lots of twists and turns. Unfortunately, not all of them held together. The women are not likeable to an equal degree. And while I couldn’t sympathize with one of them, I liked the way Mackenzie was able to detail her story.

I also loved the way that Mackenzie details the voyeurism and that sense of the crowd’s right to someone's personal life.

The title is spot on. What does it mean to be a good liar? One who does it well? Or does it for the right reasons?

So, final analysis… this is a good, not great psychological thriller.

My thanks to netgalley and Lake Union for an advance copy of this book.
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