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Liar [Mass Market Paperback]

Jan Burke
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 18 1999 Irene Kelly Mysteries
Investigative reporting has its hazards, but trouble hits home for Irene Kelly when her estranged aunt is murdered--and Irene becomes the leading suspect. With the police hot on her trail, Irene sets out to find cousin Travis, her dead aunt's son, convinced he's the next target.

But when Irene finds Travis, a camper-driving children's storyteller with suspiciously deep pockets, things blow up--literally. It takes several brushes with death, staying one step ahead of the law, and a few not-so-sweet reunions for Irene to untangle a complex web of family secrets and long-held grudges, and discover just who is killing off the Kelly clan--and why.


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From Amazon

As reporter Irene Kelly investigates her Aunt Briana's death, she learns all about the longstanding feuds between several branches of her extended family and becomes the number one suspect in a murder case. Kelly's part of the family split with her Aunt Briana and her husband decades ago for reasons that Kelly has never really understood, but which involve bigamy, murder,illiteracy, and of course, money. Kelly's first task is to locate her cousin Travis, who she hasn't seen since childhood, and inform him of his mother's untimely death. Next, Kelly has to protect him from whoever murdered his mother. While investigating the case, Kelly encounters a violent man in a wet suit, a slightly unhinged inventor, a storyteller named Cosmo, and some unsavory residents of a trailer park - and learns that she is distantly related to most of these odd characters.

This is Jan Burke's sixth book about the adventures of Irene Kelly, a sassy journalist who lives in sunny southern California with her husband (a police detective), drives a Karmann Ghia, and seems to be a magnet for trouble. In this case, the trouble is that everyone is lying, even people with good intentions. Kelly's cousin is a capable and seasoned liar, a skill that comes in handy in several sticky situations. When deceit isn't enough, Kelly's best friend Rachel leaps to their aid with flying fists and tough talk. Fans of mysteries by Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky are likely to enjoy Jan Burke's writing. Irene Kelly is a likeable, approachable heroine - an ordinary middle-aged woman who manages to get the best of the bad guys by relying on her wits and her friends. -Jill Marquis --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Who's buried in the grave Irene Kelly's sister Barbara had already picked out for herself in the family plot? Realizing that it's her long-unseen aunt, Briana Maguire, a file clerk who became a hit-and-run victim two weeks ago, leads Irene into only deeper mysteries. Why did Briana disinherit her rolling-stone son Travis in favor of Irene, who hadn't seen her for 25 years? What exactly did the family quarrel that kept Irene and Briana apart have to do with Briana's bigamous husband, Arthur Sperry (ne' Spanning), or the murder 20 years ago of Arthur's first wife, sugar-beet heiress Gwendolyn DeMont? Why is the DeMont murder, so long dormant, now threatening Irene's life via fires and bombs? Who is Harold Richmond, the unscrupulous private eye who's been stalking Irene, working for? And how can the rifts--chasms, really--in the DeMont and Spanning and Maguire families be mended after all the suspicion and distrust over adultery and bigamy and murder have festered for all these years? The questions are reminiscent of Ross Macdonald at his thorniest. But Burke, whose return to straight detection after the imperiled-hostage scenario of Hocus (1997) produces the biggest and most complex of her six novels, has Macdonald's sense of family doom without his control of subplots and clues or his economy in managing revelations. The result is a warmly detailed extended-family portrait that conveys a constant sense of menace without providing a compelling payoff or, in retrospect, a strong central premise. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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I don't want to give the impression that my sister, Barbara, is a liar. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Page-Turning Whodunit !! April 7 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this book, the characters and the plot were very, very exciting.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too much Family Saga Jan. 15 2003
Format:Hardcover
Still recovering from incidents in Hocus and Irene's injuries from a previous accident, Frank and her are working on having a normal life with no unusual happenings. After her sister Barbara calls ranting and raving about a new grave next to there's parents, Irene goes to talk to Aunt Mary. During this conversation she learns about long lost relatives and family feud that started two decades ago. After some sleuthing at the
deceased' s house she locates her cousin Travis. The rest of the book is about Irene learning the truth about things that happened during her parent's marriage and why her mother and aunt was deceased. At some point I gave up on this plot, it just another tired family saga of who did who wrong. The mystery was just
there to give the book a purpose which it failed miserably. I thought after Hocus Burke was hitting her stride as a writer who spins page turning stories. Sadly she returned to the lackluster style of Remember Me Irene. Many times I found myself thinking why am I still reading this and the answer is Frank. If he in
the forefront of the stories then it has meat and I want to read more. When she sends him off on a wild goose chase the book doesn't hold my interest.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Aug. 9 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Jan Burke is an author I found by lucky accident...I'm now going back through all her books. She's got a great crew of well-developed characters and is developing fun and suspenseful plots...LIAR proved to be a great effort! Bravo!
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2.0 out of 5 stars too long - too confusing April 19 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While I read Goodnight Irene and enjoyed it, this novel was just a little too long and just a little too confusing. There were too many characters. I had trouble keeping track of brothers, in-laws, nephews, etc. I found myself trying to finish this book as a pain, not a pleasure. I think I will read the next "Bones", hoping that Burke has tightened up her act a little. Don't give me 400 pages when 350 would do just as well. Karen Kirsch - Novi, MI
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1.0 out of 5 stars Generic Thriller Oct. 1 1999
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Jan Burke used to be a fine mystery writer. Unfortunately she has opted to start writing mainstream thrillers. I knew who dunnit very early in the book. Hocus was lousy too. I won't be reading her anymore.
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