Monday, February 11, 2008

The Good Liar

The story told by Laura Caldwell in The Good Liar might seem farfetched at first glance, but in this post 9-11 world in which many of the West’s worst enemies have died at the hands of military assassins or sophisticated rocket attacks, if something like the Trust does not exist, maybe it should. Its existence, however, was the last thing that Kate Livingston was thinking of when she fell in love with Michael Waller and decided to forever pack away her life in Chicago to marry him and move to Canada where Michael was starting his new business.

Looking back, Liza Kingsley, Kate’s best friend, wondered what she was thinking when she had insisted that Kate go out to dinner with Michael Waller the next time that business brought him to Chicago. She could only rationalize her decision by reminding herself how improbable it was that Kate, recently divorced and not particularly interested in meeting anyone new, would fall in love with a man more than fifteen years older than her. She had only hoped to offer Kate a diversion that would tempt her back into the dating world. What she got was something that none of the three could have foreseen.

Kate may have been madly in love with Michael Waller but the experience of a failed marriage left her with a keen sense of when she was not being told the whole truth by her husband. In a matter of weeks she was sure that Michael was hiding something from her and she feared that it was an affair with her best friend, the very woman who had introduced them. But as much as Michael wished that he could put all of Kate’s suspicions and fears to rest, there was no way that he could even begin to tell her the truth about himself, his work, or his past. Waller knew that being honest with Kate would place her life in danger because of his work with a private espionage group, one highly funded and not afraid to use assassination to protect the interests of the United States or to keep its own existence hidden to the rest of the world.

The Good Liar is one of those stories in which it is not always possible to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Even those deepest inside the Trust were having that problem and, as Kate applied more and more pressure on Michael to tell her the truth about himself, she inadvertently became the catalyst that could destroy the very existence of the organization. Of course that could not be allowed to happen and the question became one of who would survive the turmoil that Kate had helped create.

Laura Caldwell has written a first-rate thriller and she has capped it with an especially suspenseful ending that will have most readers reading the last few pages of The Good Liar as quickly as they can in order to ease the suspense.

Rated at: 4.0

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