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Liar Liar


Liar Liar

I’m beginning to think that Australia is becoming the next Scandinavia as far as crime fiction is concerned. Part of this is driven by Netflix, which is exposing American audiences to thriller-based television series (the legal comedy-drama “Rake” and the increasingly addictive “Wanted”) and police-procedural films (Mystery Road and Goldstone, to name but two).

I’m seeing an increase in crime novels from the land down under as well, and the point at the tip of that spear seems to be an author named Candice Fox. James Patterson, who not only has his fingers on the pulse of genre literature but often seems to be the heartbeat itself, has teamed up with Fox for a series of books featuring a rough-edged detective named Harriet Blue. The newly published LIAR LIAR is the third installment; not only is it my favorite entry so far, it’s one of the best thrillers you will read this year.

"Patterson and Fox perfectly balance plot, pacing and characterization throughout the book, leaving the reader wanting more of everything..."

Your enjoyment of LIAR LIAR will not be diminished if you are unfamiliar with NEVER NEVER or FIFTY FIFTY, the first two books in the series. Patterson and Fox do a great job of catching newcomers up with what has gone before, dropping history into the narrative without stopping the action. And yes, there is plenty of action. The plot is fairly straightforward without a lot of sidetracking. Harriet, an extremely competent sex crimes detective attached to the West Sydney police department, has gone totally rogue in her pursuit of notorious serial killer Regan Banks. It was Banks who framed Harriet’s brother and then caused his death. That is all Harriet needs to justify her unauthorized hunt.

The police are after Harriet, who is well aware of the pursuit. Part of the intrigue of LIAR LIAR is watching Harriet evade the manhunt for her, utilizing her knowledge of department procedure combined with her own canny survival skillset. Banks leads Harriet on quite the chase, murdering people from her past and dropping enigmatic clues as to who will be next, taunting her all along. He wants her to catch up with him, but not until he is ready, as he fully intends for her to be his last victim.

Meanwhile, the new head of Harriet’s unit is obsessed with catching her, even as Harriet has some assistance from her friends both within and outside of law enforcement. It is a heady chase indeed, made even more so when the hunt for Harriet goes public. The climax is everything you want it to be, but the actual conclusion begins a new plot string that will have you counting the months, weeks and days until the fourth (and supposedly final) volume in the series is published.

LIAR LIAR is what used to be called a “ripping yarn,” and I consider that to be high and loud praise. Patterson and Fox perfectly balance plot, pacing and characterization throughout the book, leaving the reader wanting more of everything, particularly the rough and enigmatic Tox Barnes, a secondary character who deserves a stint as a headliner on his own.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 18, 2019

Liar Liar
by James Patterson and Candice Fox

  • Publication Date: September 10, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1538730723
  • ISBN-13: 9781538730720