Thursday, September 09, 2010

Liar, Liar by K.J. Larsen

Readers who enjoy Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books, with the capers, sexy hunks, and explosions are in for a treat with K.J. Larsen's debut novel, Liar, Liar.  Caterina DeLuca is a street-smart woman who runs her own business, the Pants on Fire Detective Agency.  Motto - "We catch Liars and Cheats."  It's too bad one of Cat's cases explodes into murder. 

Cat's brothers are all Chicago cops like her father and uncles. Her Italian family isn't happy with her career choice because the boys in the family become cops, and the girls are supposed to "marry early and breed more cops."  But, when Cat's marriage to "philandering liar Johnnie Risco" ended, she thought she had enough experience to catch cheaters.  She apprenticed as a detective, and then opened her own agency, specializing in catching cheating spouses.  One case may turn out to be more than she can handle,  when Cat's client turns out to be a liar, and then ends up dead.  Hired to find Chance Savino by the woman claiming to be his wife, Cat follows him, and is accosted just in time for a building to explode, leaving her with a concussion, and one man dead.  But, the sexy Chance Savino disappeared.  Despite her claims that Chance is still alive, the FBI, the police, and Cat's family are convinced she's delusional.  Even when her client ends up dead, no one will believe her.  And, the situation deteriorates when Cat's mother holds "an intervention," bringing in a Catholic priest.  The rest of the family finds it hilarious that Cat's mother says Cat takes "dirty pictures" and sees dead men.  She'd be better off as a police dispatcher.

Maybe no one believes Cat, but when she finds out her client was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, she knows she's on to something.  As Chance Savino continues to pop in and out of her life, and even her bedroom, everyone claims she's suffering from her concussion, since no one else ever sees him.  Is he the one she needs protection from, or is it the man with strong political connections she's told to avoid?  Cat's in so much danger that she ends up with a sexy bodyguard.  But, that's not going to stop her from finding a killer, and learning who Chance Savino really is.

I loved Liar, Liar.  Cat was a strong character, fighting against her family opinion.  The book had humor, without being slapstick.  And, it's hard to not salivate over the Italian food, particularly the cannoli, in the book.  How does it compare to the Stephanie Plum books?  The humor isn't as broad.  Cat is more competent than Stephanie, although the men in her life don't think she is.  The Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago is a perfect setting for this fun caper novel featuring an Italian American family, and the independent woman who is finding her own way, while keeping her family connections.  I hope Cat DeLuca and her Pants on Fire Detective Agency have a successful run.

According to the website, K.J. Larsen is actually three sisters, Julianne, Kristen, and Kari Larsen.  A second book in the series, Sticks and Stones, is scheduled for release next summer.

K.J. Larsen's website is

Liar, Liar by K.J. Larsen.  Poisoned Pen Press, ©2010. ISBN 9781590587256 (hardcover), 250p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I requested a copy from the publisher, through Netgalley.


Kay said...

Lesa, I think this book sounds really fun. Pants on Fire? Classic. I'll be on the lookout for it!

Lesa said...

It is fun, Kay. I tired of Janet Evanovich, and didn't even read the last one. Too much slapstick; too little change. This one is a strong debut.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I like the idea of the subtle humor and strong protagonist. Another for my TBR list. Thanks!

By the way, I took my Lesa-generated TBR list to the bookstore a couple of weeks ago and started buying books for Christmas for some friends I thought would enjoy them! I picked up "Second Time Around," "The Girl Who Chased the Moon," and "God Never Blinks." The last book I got as a birthday present for my mother in law and she reads a chapter every day and has loved it. :)

Lesa said...


What a great compliment! Thank you for telling me abut your "Lesa-generated TBR list." I'm glad your mother-in-law loves "God Never Blinks." It's a book that can be read by so many people. It doesn't need to be read while grieving, as I was. It has a lot to offer. And, the other two books were favorites this year as well. Thank you!

I hope you get a chance to try Liar, Liar!

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a book I would love too. The cover is fantastic!

Lesa said...

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Kathy. I thought this was a terrific debut.

Kay said...

I think you and Kaye over at Meanderings & Muses are both responsible for a fair part of my "want" & "wish" lists! LOL This sounds like a great read & just the type of book I enjoy. Love some humor with my mystery.

Lesa said...

I love to be responsible for someone's TBR pile, Kay. (grin) I like some humor with my mystery as well. Hope you like it!