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The Liar's Lullaby    by Meg Gardiner order for
Liar's Lullaby
by Meg Gardiner
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Liar's Lullaby is the third (following The Memory Collector) in Meg Gardiner's series starring San Francisco forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett.

This episode opens on the troubling and very public death of bipolar country singer Tasia McFarland - it occurs during a stunt with a Colt .45 automatic during a huge outdoor concert. Heightening the case profile even more is the fact that Tasia was the ex-wife of U.S. President Robert McFarland. And she wrote a creepy song, The Liar's Lullaby, to be published in the event of her assassination.

Jo's friend, SFPD Lieutenant Amy Tang, brings her in as a consultant on the troublesome case, asking for a psychological autopsy. Was it suicide or murder? Pressure mounts to declare the former - and it's not just talk. Federal agencies go after all involved - Tang's parents' business is raided, her boss has tax problems, and Jo's lover Gabe (an Air National Guard Search and Rescue expert) who had been called up to active duty has his orders changed to send him to a war zone.

In the meantime, Gardiner introduces her readers to reckless right-wing radicals, who are loosely affiliated with a Tree of Liberty conspiracy website, run by an individual who calls himself Tom Paine. And as Jo interviews those who were close to Tasia - her sister Vienna; her biography ghostwriter, Ace Chennault; and her lover and fellow country singer Searle Lecroix - the violence and media attention both escalate.

Events are manipulated to send Jo on the run from the law, while she and Gabe race against time to prevent a plot long in the making from coming to fruition. Don't miss The Liar's Lullaby, a gripping thrill ride in a series I plan to read more of.

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