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The Biggest Liar in Los Angeles: A California Century Mystery

(Hickey Family Mystery #6)

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  33 ratings  ·  9 reviews
In 1926, when musician Tom Hickey reads in a broadside about a lynching the Los Angeles newspapers failed to report, and discovers the Negro victim was an old friend, he goes to his neighbor Leo Weiss, an LAPD detective. Leo confirms that, officially, the lynching didn’t occur.

Tom has a dance orchestra to lead and a wild younger sister to raise. Yet he decides to investiga
Paperback, 250 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.18  · 
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 ·  33 ratings  ·  9 reviews

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Start your review of The Biggest Liar in Los Angeles: A California Century Mystery (Hickey Family Mystery #6)
This is the most recent of the Hickey Family mysteries, but chronologically it takes place first. So now I've read two books in this series: the one written first and the one written last.
I find that Kuhlken's storytelling has greatly improved over the years. He's always been a good writer, but THE BIGGEST LIAR IN LOS ANGELES held my attention to a degree that his first mystery novel, THE LOUD AUDIOS, didn't. Most of that is due to the shorter chapters, snappier dialog, and better character dev
“The floor beneath Tom rose and fell, as if another earthquake had struck. He back-stepped and leaned against the brick wall. ‘Frank Gaines,’ he muttered.” p. 4

I picked up this audio at random. It was available when I went to the library, it wasn’t too long and I thought it might be good. I have to admit, I was desperate for a book to listen to. I was pleasantly surprised.

It turns out that this mystery includes references to the Azusa Temple and Sister Aimee Semple McPherson. Since I just took a
Feb 27, 2011 rated it liked it
If you love LA Noir, this is a perfect book. It has everything; Aimee Semple McPherson, good cops bad cops, Harry Chandler, bands, William Randloph Hearst et al. You really feel like you're back in LA in the good old/bad old days. The descriptions of the street cars Echo Park and the ambience of the novel are spot on. It did remind me of the movie Chinatown because the plot and characters were a little hard to follow. I was disappointed in who the Biggest Liar in Los Angeles turned out to be. I ...more
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
In general, I enjoy historical fiction, and I was very interested in this era of Los Angeles. However, this one didn't suck me in the way, say Devil In the White City did. It was just sort of hard to follow and the final results of the mystery weren't much of a payoff. I didn't totally buy the protagonist's motivation for trying to solve this crime (given the amount of personal sacrifice he had to endure), so some of the storyline became tedious. I'd be willing to try another one of Kuhlken's bo ...more

I appreciated the historical aspects of this book and in particular Hollywood and LA in the twenties. Though the writing was good the Chandleresque complexity of the plot left me confused.
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Noir which is fine but is usually so heavy on plot and sparse, hard-bitten dialogue that it's just not for me.
Carol Roberts
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A good story is the first reason I liked it, but there was something else that made The Biggest Liar more than just a good story. I had the sense that the story teller was someone who recognized the weaknesses of some of his characters, but who had a gracious sense of non-judgment toward them, and therefore helped me have that same attitude. Also I loved the way he mingled his fictional story with the lives of actual people and California history in general. Loved it. Can't wait to read the whol ...more
Tom Mathews
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Lisa Mantini
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Dec 28, 2014
C. Thompson
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Mar 19, 2012
Ken Kuhlken
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Jerold Last
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Oct 09, 2011
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Aug 31, 2010
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Phil Oakley
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Jun 11, 2019
Sue Russell
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Jun 15, 2017
Jack Heath
Mar 03, 2019 marked it as to-read
Synopsis: in 1926, Tom Hickey reads about a lynching in Echo Park in LA; he discovers the Negro victim was a friend. He investigates.
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Dec 14, 2010
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Ken Kuhlken's stories have appeared in ESQUIRE and numerous other magazines, been honorably mentioned in BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES, and earned a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

With Alan Russell, in the novella NO CATS, NO CHOCOLATE, Ken has chronicled the madness of book promotion tours.

His novels are MIDHEAVEN, finalist for the Ernest Hemingway Award for best first fiction book, an

Other books in the series

Hickey Family Mystery (6 books)
  • The Loud Adios (Hickey Family, #1)
  • The Venus Deal
  • The Angel Gang
  • The Do-Re-Mi
  • The Vagabond Virgins

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