Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes
Summary:Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell lies 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 a business providing forged permission slips and cover stories for the students of Vista Palisades High. Liars, Inc. they call it. 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?
It all starts with one little lie…
Liars, Inc is exactly what the title suggests it is – a tale of lies, betrayal, and twists like no other. Especially considering it’s a young adult novel, Liars, Inc is especially grim and dark, which made me adore it even more.
When Max’s best friend Preston asks for Max to help cover for him so he can go meet a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice before helping him. Until, two days later, Preston is still not home. When the police go on to investigate, it’s a series of clues that lead them to find Preston’s body. A series of clues that make it look like Max is the murderer…
I found Max to be a protagonist I was a bit indifferent about. In terms of his narration, I fond it really enjoyable. It’s rare to find something in YA written from the perspective of a teenage boy, but Paula Stokes does it in a way that feels realistic and authentic. However, despite his strong narration, I did find some of his actions to be a bit reckless and unnecessary. Throughout the story he continually tampers with the evidence, refuses to talk to the FBI, and makes himself look extremely guilty – especially for a boy so innocent. This mindless behavior definitely ran on me a bit of the wrong way.
In terms of the actual mystery, I found it to be pretty mediocre. It is neither mind-blowing like Dangerous Girls nor horribly predictable like I Hunt Killers, but rather somewhat in between the two. The red herrings are decently placed and do their job of throwing us off the true culprit, and the clues are subtle and well-placed.
As you slowly unravel lie after lie throughout the story, you’ll soon realize that nothing here is what it seems. A decent novel; if only the main character was a bit less reckless in his actions.