Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?
When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer. Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit?
I don’t generally read a lot of mystery or crime fiction, I hastily avoid clichés and predictable plot lines by staying away from the genre, but I made an exception for this novel because it is one of the only young adult mysteries I have seen in a while. Obviously I picked the wrong novel to break my fast.
I did think the plot was somewhat unpredictable, there were certain times where I was thrown for a loop because I would have never come to those conclusions on my own. This was the only reason I kept reading, besides the fairly intriguing murder mystery, which still lacked believability, this book was very disheartening. This novel didn’t chill me, or make shivers run up my spine. Honestly the murder aspect was almost completely brushed aside. No emphasis was placed on the actual murder, his best friend had just died and there was very little grieving such a sad horrific death. The focus seemed to be on catching the killer, but since I hardly saw Max grieve his friend’s death, his motivations seemed to lean towards clearing his own name and not avenging his friend’s death. Max was not a character I was actively sympathizing with.
I would have liked to see the operation dubbed Liars Inc. play a bigger role in the novel, instead it was a convenient way to make some cash and didn’t seem to have much use outside of the first three chapters, which was disappointing.
Furthermore, I thought Max made some very foolish decisions that were not only going to get him in trouble but were also a glaringly bad idea. Generally, lying and running away are frowned upon if one is trying to look innocent. Now I know that since the novel is about teenagers solving crimes and dodging the law it is going to be far from realistic, however, some plausibility would have been nice.
But the real reason this novel didn’t capture my interest was because I wasn’t keen on any of the characters. They lacked believability and substance and as a result my investment in finishing the novel slowly waned. I did finish the novel, reluctantly and driven by curiosity, and while I would love to recommend you this novel and tell you it’s worth the read, that would make me a liar.