Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Stocking Stuffer

TNThe Liar's Diary

The narrator, Jeanne Cross, lives in New England, is married to a renowned doctor Gavin who's cold and a control freak, and has a chronically overweight son Jamie who scoffs whatever candies and cookies he can find and develops a fascination with Ali, a new music teacher who comes to work at the school where Jeanne is an administrator. Jeanne is also in extreme denial about her marriage and life, a denial which Ali forces her to confront, especially in relation to Gavin whose study within the heart of the family home is always kept locked. Ali is also a talented musician, has an older husband who loves her but realizes he can't satisfy all her needs, and acquiesces to her having a number of boyfriends with whom she forms no close attachments, including a teacher and wealthy local business man who wants to marry her. When Ali is brutally murdered and Jamie's scouting knife is discovered at her cottage, the family veneer is ripped apart when he becomes the main suspect and is held at a juvenile detention center.

Patry Francis's first novel is an illuminating peek into a facet of suburbia revolving around the need to keep up appearances at all costs, even if it means lying to oneself and dangerous denial. It's dark and full of interesting twists and mounting tension, more so when one comes to realize the narrator is unreliable. A great stocking stuffer for those who like a good murder mystery.

The book is available in hardcover and will be published in paperback in January 2008. The author maintains a blog at Simply Wait

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