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Liar's Bench    by Kim Michele Richardson order for
Liar's Bench
by Kim Michele Richardson
Order:  USA  Can
Kensington, 2015 (2015)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Secrets in the past and present come together to highlight how far the Kentucky town of Peckinpaw has to go in ridding itself of racial prejudice. Mudas, a teenager, learns that her mother has been found hanged, but not for a minute does she believe her mother did that on her own. As she investigates, she discovers incriminating evidence against certain town leaders.

The problem is, she has only two people she can rely on, a girl friend, Thommalyn, and her boyfriend, Bobby. Unfortunately, many of the townspeople mistreat Bobby because he is descended from a slave who was hung a century ago for a crime she did not commit.

Mudas has her hands full getting the facts straight, having to discover a message written with disappearing ink, secrets buried in caves and her father in a lie. The story is told from her point of view, and since she is a complicated character, it is not always easy to figure out where she is going with the story, and some of the other characters are not sketched as deeply as the reader might like.

We do get a real feel for that southern atmosphere of mistrust of people who are different, primarily blacks. Sometimes it seems that the only reason people do the right thing is that all other avenues are closed. Even though the right things get done at the end, it truly is a harder slog than seems necessary.

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