The Lie Maker

Morrow. May 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780063276246. $30. THRILLER
Hit man Michael Donahue turns state’s evidence on a crime boss and vanishes into witness protection. His wife won’t go with him, so neither will his nine-year-old son Jack. Twenty-five years later, Jack is a writer, two novels published to praise, but kudos don’t pay the bills. He needs a day job. He gets one, but the offer is pulled away unexpectedly a day later. Then, out of nowhere, he’s offered another—very hush-hush. He’ll work for the U.S. Marshals, creating background profiles for witness protection candidates. The pay is $1,000 a day. Jack’s boss questions him about his background, and he tells her of his father. She promises to help Jack find him. Meanwhile there are two deaths, a judge and a doctor, both related to Jack’s father’s betrayal of his old boss. Someone’s seeking vengeance, and Jack’s boss starts to look creepy. Is she using Jack to ferret out his father? What follows is a twisty tale of skullduggery that puts Jack, his girlfriend, and his father at risk.
VERDICT This is Barclay’s (Take Your Breath Away) 26th crime novel: he’s a pro. Some may find it overly convoluted but will still root for Jack to prevail. For mystery lovers.
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