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Liars All: A Brodie Farrell Mystery    by Jo Bannister order for
Liars All
by Jo Bannister
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Jo Bannister's highly recommended ninth novel opens with a powerful, gut-wrenching scene in which robbery and murder are the centerpieces, and for another 300 pages, the pace and power continue to build in intensity, making Liars All one of Bannister's very best.

Here are a few tidbits in the form of story previews that should further convince you that you ought to include Liars All on your must read list for this spring:

Nine months after the robbery and murder, Brodie Farrell - owner of Looking For Something, something like a lost and found private investigation business - is not bothered by business but is instead engaged in a life-or-death struggle on behalf of her sixteen-month-old son whose future is threatened by an inoperable brain tumor.

At the same time, Brodie's business assistant, Daniel Hood, a principled man with complicated emotional ties to his boss, has been sought out by the mother of the convicted robber and murderer. The distraught mother wants Daniel to find the jewelry her son had stolen and fenced, and she wants that stolen jewelry returned to the woman who barely escaped being her son's second murder victim. The mother's motivations are seemingly simple: honesty and redemption on behalf of her unrepentant son.

Soon, however, Daniel finds himself in extreme danger, almost as if he is suddenly 'in the middle of a Hitchcock film.' Someone either wants him off the lost and found case or wants him dead. Daniel recognizes that he is now involved in a 'situation in which absolute honesty could get him killed.' But, as his ethical and emotional involvement in the case intensifies, he wryly observes that necessity 'makes liars of us all.'

And so, with plenty of action to keep it moving and with plenty of provocative themes to further strengthen a remarkable mystery novel, Liars All requires its characters (and its readers) to confront a couple of serious questions: What kinds of lies must never be told, even if honor, friendship, and love are at stake? On the other hand, what kinds of lies are absolutely permissible and necessary, all in the name of honor, friendship, and love?

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