Format:
Book
Author:
Title:
Publisher, Date:
Simon & Schuster, Incorporated, 2018
Description:
432 p.
ISBN:
9781501178566
9781501178566
1501178563
9781501178566
1501178563
9781501178566
9781501178566
9781501178566
1501178563
9781501178566
1501178563
9781501178566
1501178563
9781501178566
1501178563
9781501178566
1501178563
9781501178566
1501178563
System Availability:
27
# System items in:
1
# Local items:
26
# Local items in:
1
Current Holds:
68
Availability
First Chapter or Excerpt
The Good Liar 1 POSTER CHILD CECILY I'm late again. That's rarer today than it was a year ago, because now, when I feel the tick of time, my body starts to prickle with an anxiety I can't shake without medication, and I feel each second pass as if I'm one of the gears in a clock. As a result, more often than not, I'm early, my foot tapping with impatience as I wait for others as they used to wait for me. After what happened, I can't believe anymore that being late has no consequence. I'm proof to the contrary. Yet, my changing personality isn't rationally connected to what happened. I'm alive today because I wasn't in the building. I wasn't sitting on the fifteenth floor in a conference room with a river view, trying to remain calm. Because I was late, I was safe. Close by. Marked, scarred, even, but alive. Five hundred and thirteen other people weren't so lucky. So I don't want to tempt fate again or rely on not being where I'm supposed to be to save me from my destiny. Like the man who escaped the Twin Towers, only to die in an airplane crash a few years later. Death had plans for that man; it would not be denied. But despite my efforts, I am late today, my racing pulse reminds me. I check my watch for the twentieth time. It's only five minutes past when I'm due, not enough to matter, I tell myself, breathing in and out slowly as I've been taught to do in these situations. My pulse slows. It will be all right. Death will give me a reprieve; even it can't punish me for my lateness today of all days, the day before the first anniversary of my husband's death. *  *  * "Cecily Grayson?" the receptionist for the Compensation Initiative asks. I try not to notice as every head in the room snaps toward me with a collective so that's who she is. It would be wrong to notice. Immodest. Selfish. Ungrateful. I'm not allowed to be any of these things. Instead, I raise my hand as if I've been called on in class, follow the receptionist to my meeting with Teo Jackson, and try not to think about the fact that this building also has a fifteenth floor and I'm on it. The Initiative said they chose the floor deliberately when they rented the space and announced their intention via press release. They did it to remember--memorialize--the fifteen-floor building that had come crashing down a year ago. Remembering. That's their purpose, they repeat loudly and often in ads you can't skip at the beginning of YouTube videos or those pop-ups that follow you around the Internet like a basset hound. Remembering's important, but the Initiative's real purpose is compensation. Weighing up a life lost and assigning it a value, then paying it out to the victim's family, changing their lives forever, though they've already been changed forever. There's big money in this, I've learned, as the furnishings on this floor attest. I'm surrounded by plush gray carpet, newly painted cream walls, and expensive pieces by up-and-coming Chicago artists hanging under directed lighting. People might leave here millionaires or paupers, but they'll all be treated to the experience. As if love or loss has a price. As if being denied access to the funds set aside to ease their way through life after suffering this tragedy can be softened by a glass of ice water with a perfect lemon wedge floating in it. I push these ungrateful thoughts aside. The Initiative has done a lot of good for a lot of people, myself included. I shouldn't be so critical. Teo Jackson's waiting for me in a boardroom lined with corkboards. They're covered in multicolored cue cards arranged in columns. Above each one is a white card with one word on it. Street, reads one. Unidentified, reads another. "Cecily," Teo says. "Great to see you again." "Is it?" Teo rubs at his close-cut beard. His skin is a dark amber, and he's wearing his trademark gray-blue T-shirt under a well-cut corduroy jacket. Inky jeans. Converse shoes. He's worn some variation of this outfit every time I've seen him. I imagine his closet divided into four neat sections, his day eased by a lack of decisions. "Why would you even question that?" he asks, smiling with his eyes. I avoid eye contact. Teo's far too handsome for my current level of self-esteem. "My therapist says I need to be more . . . definite." "Does he?" "She. Yes." I wasn't in therapy before, but it's the only place I can unburden myself. Now I use the fact that I have a therapist as a measure of someone's merit--if they flinch or look embarrassed when I mention it, then I know they're not worth bothering over. Teo doesn't flinch or look embarrassed. He does, however, say, "Wait." He picks up a pink card, writes Poster Child? on it in thick marker, then tacks it into place beneath the Street column. "What's all this?" "It's my storyboard. My map of the day." He smiles again. It's the first thing I remember about him, how he smiled and told me it was going to be all right when he had no way of knowing if that was true. But there was something about him that made me want to believe him, and so I did. "It's what I do for every film," he says. "It's a way to set out the narrative." "But it's a documentary." "It still has to tell a story. Have a beginning, middle, and end. A protagonist and an antagonist." His hand shifts from one column to the next, tapping the cards so they pop. "A hero." His hand comes to land on the card he just wrote on. "I'm not the hero, Teo." "Why don't you let me be the judge of that?" A year ago, Teo had been scouting locations with his assistant for a commercial he'd agreed to shoot to pay his bills. He was photographing some of the homeless who hang out at Quincy Station when the world turned sideways. He was another person who stood still that day, photographing Chicago as it changed irrevocably, taking a more careful catalog than the crowds who captured what they could on their cell phones. When the fire started to spread up Adams Street, he knew they had to get out of there. But first he decided to take one last shot. He caught me in a whirlwind of debris with the river glinting in the background. When I look at it now, the image seems staged, like a scene in a movie where the heroine's been through hell and is waiting for her final showdown with a bad man who's almost impossible to kill. My clothes are covered in grime, but my face is unmarred, and I'm staring fixedly at the building. If you look closely enough, the fireball it's become is reflected in my eyes. He got his shots--click, click, click--and then he grabbed my hand and pulled me to safety. While we waited in Washington Station like Londoners during the Blitz, Teo uploaded that picture to a website freelance photographers use to sell their photos. It became the shot of the day, the image everyone associated with October tenth, and for the next month, two, three, wherever I went, my own face stared back at me. Somehow, I'd become the poster child for a tragedy that killed 513 people and injured more than 2,000, including Teo's assistant, who ended up with second-degree burns on his arms and torso. I didn't want the recognition, the notoriety, the fame. When Teo asked for my permission to upload the picture as we waited for the "all clear" in the station, I didn't think of the consequences; I just said yes to the man who'd saved my life. By the time I thought to revoke my consent, it was too late. So instead, I've tried to pass it off, to play it down, to let it pass me by. But I've learned that you don't get to choose what becomes an enduring image, even when you're the subject of it. A couple of months ago, Teo was hired by the Initiative to make a documentary about what's become known as Triple Ten, because the explosion occurred at precisely 10:00 a.m. on October tenth. His approach, he told me in the series of e-mails he used to persuade me to participate in his film, is to follow three families a year later. My family--the Graysons--is the "lucky" family. Though my husband, Tom, was killed instantly in the blast (one hopes, and one will never tell our children otherwise), we were able to recover his body; bury him; and, ostensibly, through the generous support of the Initiative, move on. One of the "unlucky" families--the Rings, who are fighting for their compensation--is the flip side of the coin. And then there's Franny Maycombe. But more about her later. "I'm not sure I want to do this," I tell Teo as his hand rests on the index card that's supposed to represent me. His nails are short but neat, in contrast to my own, chewed down by my worry. "Why not?" "Isn't it someone else's turn in the spotlight? We aren't the only family who's been compensated. Why not use one of the others?" I turn from him and catch my reflection in the bank of floor-to-ceiling windows. I'm wearing black slacks and a simple gray sweater. My blond hair's two months past a cut, but I've been told to leave it as is till we finish filming, "For continuity," Teo's production assistant told me. As if a couple of inches of hair could make me unrecognizable from the woman in that photograph. If only. "I understand how you feel," Teo says. "But we need you in this film." I inch over to the glass, getting as close as I can to see if panic sets in. Another side effect: ever since I missed that meeting, whenever I'm at any height above a few feet, I feel as if I'm standing on a cliff and there's a hand on my shoulder waiting for an opportune moment to shove me off. And sometimes, even, as if I might jump. "Why, exactly? And don't say because I'm the face of this tragedy. Please." I touch the pane. It's cold today, and the glass burns my fingers. I pull my hand away. My fingers have marred its clear surface, which now holds a perfect print of my index and middle finger. If I jumped, floating down like the lazy flakes that have started to fall from the dark clouds gathering above, they'd have something to identify me by. Teo moves behind me. "Because you're the heart of this story, Lily. I can't imagine telling it without you." Lily. It's what Tom used to call me. Had I told Teo that, or did I just look like a Lily to him? A placid flower floating in a pond, providing a counterpoint to the bullfrogs? "I'm not the heart of anything," I say. My voice is wavering, unconvincing. I need to work on that, too, my therapist says. I shouldn't live with so much uncertainty, or project it, either. "I wish you could see what I see," Teo says, resting his hand on my shoulder. I lean against it, letting him hold my weight for a moment. "Ahem." His hand's gone so suddenly I almost fall. "Yes, Maggie?" Maggie is Teo's production assistant. Twenty-five, slender, and dressed in an outfit my fourteen-year-old daughter, Cassie, would beg me for if she saw it, she looks at Teo territorially, even though, at forty-two, he's technically old enough to be her father. I wonder, not for the first time, whether something's going on between them or if he's just the object of her fantasies. "Franny Maycombe's arrived," she says. I guess we're getting to Franny faster than I'd planned. I catch Teo's eye and shake my head. "Can you ask her to wait?" he says. "We're not quite done here." "Of course," Maggie says. "I'll let her know." "I thought you were close with Franny?" Teo says when Maggie's out of earshot. "What's up?" "I'm just tired. It's a lot right now with the memorial and everything, and Franny . . ." "Can be needy?" "Yes, frankly. Not that I blame her." I turn back to the window. Teo lets me take a minute. A beat. "Are you still okay to do your first interview tomorrow? After the memorial?" "I suppose you'll be filming all that, too?" "I will." My eyes meet his in the glass. What does he see when he looks at me? I don't feel like the woman on the cover of all those magazines. What's that song? "Pretty on the Inside." I used to feel that way. Now . . . "And after," I say, "you'll come to the house?" "Yes." I guess there's nothing left to do but face it. I nod my agreement. "Is there a back way out of here?" Excerpted from The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
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  Library Journal Review

In her new novel (after Fractured), McKenzie explores the lives of three women, survivors of a Chicago building explosion a year ago. Cecily lost her husband, Franny lost her mother, and Kate lost everything. As a documentarian delves into their stories, secrets and lies threaten to surface. When the building blew up, Cecily was on her way to meet her husband, Tom. The photo taken of her that day covered in debris from the building became iconic and made her the face of the surviving families, a responsibility that has weighed heavily on her. Though she grieves for Tom, their marriage was not so perfect, and she's plagued by guilt. Franny had only recently discovered her biological mother (who gave her up for adoption) a few months before the explosion, and she's worked hard to make sure someone is taking care of the families of the victims. And Kate has retreated to Montreal, where she's trying to pick up the pieces of her life. Each woman has secrets and each is a bit of an unreliable narrator of her own life to nice effect. Verdict The author builds suspense in steady, page-turning steps all while drawing the reader into the lives of her characters. Recommended.-Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Cecily Grayson, the heroine of this complex, thought-provoking psychological thriller from McKenzie (Fractured), is rushing to meet her husband one morning when a building explodes in downtown Chicago, killing 513 people and injuring many more. Catatonic with shock, Cecily becomes the iconic symbol of the tragedy after someone snaps her picture at the scene. Flash forward a year; Cecily's story intertwines with those of Kate Lynch, who survived the explosion, and Franny Maycombe, who has become an activist for the compensation rights of the survivors. The revelations that emerge as these vivid and relatable characters come to terms with their guilt-and reflect on the cost of the lies they tell themselves and others-make for a constant realigning of allegiances for readers as well as for the characters themselves. Who the good liar may be, and what that phrase might actually mean, are questions that will resonate long after the book is finished. Many will devour this book in one sitting. Agent: Abigail Koons, Park Literary Group. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
One explosion. Three women. Countless secrets. From bestselling author Catherine McKenzie comes a suspenseful, unsettling novel about what lurks in the wake of tragedy.<br> <br> Everybody hides. Everybody lies. <br> <br> On October 10th, three women's lives are forever altered by a terrible accident.<br> <br> Cecily was supposed to be in the building that exploded in Chicago and killed her husband. A photo taken of her as she watched the horrifying scene quickly brings her unwanted media attention as the "poster child" of the haunting event. Cecily has secrets she's desperately trying to hide but cannot find a way to divert the media's attention from her and her family.<br> <br> Franny lost her birth mother -- Cecily's best friend -- in the destruction shortly after the two met. A year later, she and Cecily team up to help families obtain financial compensation for their loss, but their budding friendship is derailed when it starts to become clear Franny's story doesn't quite add up. How did she manage to track down her mother? And why did her mother keep Franny a secret even after they'd met?<br> <br> A thousand miles away in Montreal, Kate is trying to create a new life. But what led her to leave Chicago in the first place? Will she succeed in moving on from her mistakes or will Kate be drawn back into her old life?<br> <br> With surprising twists and turns, The Good Liar is a riveting read by a masterful storyteller that will make readers wonder how far they'd go to hide their own secrets.
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