You better set yourself aside a good chunk of time when you pick up The Liar’s Diary (the stunning debut novel by Patry Francis) because I can tell you from personal experience that once you start reading, you’re not going to want to stop until you’ve finished.

On the surface, this is a book about the seemingly perfect Cross family, living their slightly flawed lives out in the suburbs (the only flaw appears to be the superficial flaw of the son who is overweight) and the woman, the unwanted element, who enters their lives–Ali Mather. Below, the surface, however, this is a book about betrayal; it’s about secrets and lies and years of abuse and denial and how all of these things if not uncovered and dealt with in some healthy way, can lead to disaster, which in this case, they most certainly do.

It is also about Jeanne Cross’s awakening and her realization that she has been stuffing down her emotions for close to 20 years. As is typically the case with such repression, when the pressure cooker reaches its limit–it explodes.

Most heartbreaking of all, this book about errant mothers, abusive fathers, and lost children. And while there are certainly villans (Gavin Cross being the most obvious choice for villan, but Ali being cast as one as well from time to time), these villans are also human beings, who are damaged and hurting and acting out in the only way they know how.

I will not (because I don’t want to ruin it for you) go into details of the plot (there are many surprises in store, though!), but I will say without hesitation that if you don’t pick up this book and read it, you’re going to be missing out.

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