December 1, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Linwood Barclay Delivers A Solid Thriller In The Lie Maker- Review

The Lie Maker By Linwood Barclay- Summary

Goodreads Summary for The Lie Maker by Linwood Barclay (review below): In this twisty, fast-paced thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Find You First and Take Your Breath Away, a man desperately tries to track down his father–who was taken into witness protection years ago–before his enemies can get to him.

Your dad’s not a good person. Your dad killed people, son. These are some of the last words Jack Givins’ father spoke to him before he was whisked away by witness protection, leaving Jack and his mother to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives as best they could.

Years later, Jack is a grown man with problems of his own. He’s a talented but struggling author, barely scraping by on the royalties from his moderately successful first book. So when the U.S. Marshals approach him with a lucrative opportunity, he’s in no position to turn them down. They’re recruiting writers like Jack to create false histories for people in witness protection–people like Jack’s father.

The coincidence is astonishing to Jack at first, but he soon realizes this may be a chance to find his dad. Only there’s one problem–Jack’s father hasn’t made contact with his handlers recently, and they have no idea where he is. So he could be in serious danger, and Jack may be the only one who can find him. But how will he find a man he’s never truly known? 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.

The Lie Maker By Linwood Barclay- Review

Please Note: Due to The Lie Maker being primarily plot-driven, I’ve decided not to include my normal character breakdown in this review.

For those that love character-driven stories? Linwood Barclay’s The Lie Maker is not for you. This thriller is entirely plot-driven. Is there some emotional connection between certain characters? Yes. But again, it serves the plot more than the characters.

Consequently, the characters are not as fleshed out as usual. Nevertheless, the Lie Maker is a fast-paced thriller that will hook you from the beginning and not let go. I found the premise of Linwood Barclay’s latest to be very unconventional (something rare these days), and he follows through on the promise of the premise.

Additionally, the structure of The Lie Maker doesn’t just support but elevates the suspenseful nature of the story. It is told in multiple timelines and points of view. Linwood Barclay manages to move the story along quickly without it ever becoming confusing. Notably, some chapters are “unknowns” that add to the mystery (aka, they aren’t labeled with a point of view).

Surprisingly, (for me) I found the covid storyline worked. Usually, I roll my eyes or skip a book if covid is mentioned in the summary. It is just a personal thing, but I have enough of it to worry about in real life. I don’t need it politicized and dominating the books I read. However, Linwood Barclay includes covid without falling into either of those pitfalls. Instead, it provides an emotional angle to the revenge plot that takes place throughout the story.


Thank you to HarperAudio and William Morrow for an advanced audio copy of The Lie Maker, which releases May 16th.

Maybe because of the “unknown” chapters or well-placed crumbs, I knew someone, or something wasn’t what it seemed. However, I was still surprised by the ending. I had a couple of generalities right, but nothing detailed. Throughout reading The Lie Maker, I constantly tried to put all the pieces together, feeling the suspense immensely. However, Linwood Barclay had me caught and fooled me.

My only complaint about The Lie Maker is that the ending felt rushed. The rest of the book is paced very well. I don’t think that needed to change. If fifty pages or so had been added to the ending, I think the final pieces of the storyline would have benefitted greatly.

The Lie Maker By Linwood Barclay- Audiobook/Review Final Thought

It was integral to the structure of The Lie Maker that the audiobook was nailed in production. And it was. All the chapters were labeled correctly by timeline and character, where appropriate. The only ones not labeled were the “unknown” chapters, which is for the story’s sake. It ultimately made sense.

Narrators Johnathan McClain and Graham Halstead did a fantastic job bringing The Lie Maker off the page.

Overall, besides the rushed ending, Linwood Barclay’s The Lie Maker was a solid thriller, as long as you like plot-driven stories.

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