Meg Gardiner

The Liar’s Lullaby

"..another high octane thriller to add to Gardiner’s growing and very accomplished body of work."


Tasia McFarland is a washed-up singer who has been through the mill and seems to be making it in the big time once more. At the start of a big concert, Tasia is seen by her entourage waving a real gun around. As the smoke thickens a shot rings out in the stadium. At the same time two helicopters involved in the show collide and bring chaos to the proceedings. Jo, who is at the concert with her sister, is quickly scooped up by Tang who wants her to compile a psychological autopsy as her death cannot be attributed to either suicide or homicide.

Within hours Jo is immersed in Tasia's rock lifestyle and her music. Are some of the haunting lyrics from her songs telling a totally different story? Just before she died Tasia was screaming that she was being spied on by agents working for her ex-husband who just happens to be the President of the United States. Is there corruption at the very top of American politics – was the President willing to silence Tasia who was writing an autobiography about her life and their marriage and had threatened to expose everything? Very soon Jo will be doing everything in her power to stay alive long enough to find out what exactly happened to Tasia in a crowded stadium.

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Although I enjoyed this novel, it didn't grip me as much as her previous, The Memory Collector, which I absolutely loved and relished in one sitting. I can't quite put my finger on what didn't sit right with me – was it because Tasia McFarland wasn't a particularly sympathetic character that I couldn't quite relate to? Or was it the White House connection? I cannot say (it is just a personal/individual thing) – although I thought the premise of the plot was quite ingenious. It took a while for the plot to really get going but the second half of the novel is then stamped with Gardiner's typical rush of adrenaline and poor Jo is running the length and breadth of San Francisco, jumping in cars whilst being shot at. This part I loved, and Gardiner is extremely competent at writing in 'real time' and making the reader race through those pages. The climax and ultimate summary is satisfying although with the White House being involved you rather know that there will be a cover up of some kind. I very much enjoy is development of Jo's relationship with Gabriel Quintana. I do hope that we can expect a happy ending there – too many novelists lately seem to derive some pleasure from killing off their main protagonist's partners to the horror of their readers! I shall name no names! This new Jo Beckett novel is yet another high octane thriller to add to Gardiner's growing and very accomplished body of work.

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