The Liar’s Diary
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I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book this week is The Liar’s Diary by Patry Francis. Ah, the suburbs. Where would writers be without their neatly mowed lawns, perfect PTA moms, golf playing dads, and well behaved children? A BMW in every driveway and at least one homicidal maniac in each smartly decorated eat in kitchen with exposed beams and a sub-zero fridge!
Patry Francis sets her novel in a terribly upscale neighborhood. You can tell because the public school can still afford a fulltime music teacher. And when the new music teacher shows up, she’s the catalyst for the kinds of things that wind up in court. Who is this poor woman and why is everyone so freaked out?
Our narrator, Jeanne, is attracted to the beautiful Ali Mather, but at the same time the habits of small town gossips are hard to break. It’s fun to talk about your new best friend with your old best friends! Ali has the nerve to be something of a sexpot and over 40 (which is a trendy idea that I am personally not at all tired of), and she’s also a big hit with her students. So everyone on the school staff wants to kill her. And oops someone does.
That’s when the masks start to come off, and we find out that just about every person in this novel, from the apparently mousy and timid Jeanne who both loves Ali and deeply resents her to Jeanne’s popular son (troubled!), and charming husband (wicked creepy!), to Ali herself, have nasty secrets, grudges, simmering rage, and yes, there’s at least one murderer. Patry Francis fires two or three head-spinning twists towards the end of this book that I did not see coming at all. And if you ask me who the liar of the title is, I couldn’t tell you. It made me very glad to live in the city, where it’s safe!
The book is The Liar’s Diary by Patry Francis. I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.