cover image The Lie Maker

The Lie Maker

Linwood Barclay. Morrow, $30 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-327624-6

Barclay (Look Both Ways) nails this riveting standalone thriller about a washed-up writer’s search for his long-lost parent. In a wrenching prologue, nine-year-old Jack Givins is separated from his father, who enters witness protection with blunt parting words: “Your dad’s not a good person. Your dad killed people, son.” In the present, Givins is a broke novelist hungry for whatever writing work he can get. After an offer to edit advertorial magazines falls through, he gets an even more lucrative opportunity when he’s approached by the U.S. Marshals Service to create fictional backstories for individuals in the federal Witness Security Program. The position gives Givins the idea to seek out his father’s whereabouts after decades of silence between the two. His efforts coincide with some high-profile disappearances, and he soon discovers the authorities have lost track of his father, sending Givins blindly on his trail. Barclay expertly knits the strands together and constructs a fully realized everyman in Givins. Crafty plotting and rich characters make this a winner. Agent: Helen Helller, Helen Heller Agency. (May)