When I first read about Liar Liar by K. J. Larsen, I couldn’t help but be interested. I can’t resist a book that claims to be written “with a spirit that readers of Janet Evanovich and Lisa Scottoline will love”, as I am a huge Janet Evanovich fan. Thankfully I was not disappointed; I think that the Cat DeLuca Mysteries series shows a lot of potential with the first installment, Liar Liar.
Private Investigator Cat DeLuca and her Pants on Fire Detective Agency have a reputation for catching cheaters. It’s a skill Cat mastered when married to her run-around ex, Johnnie Ricco. Armed with a camera, Cat scales balconies, dangles from hotel windows, and splashes the bare facts on 8X10 glossies. They tend to sweeten her clients’ divorce settlements.
Life takes a strange turn when a reporter for the Chicago Tribune (Rita Polansky) masquerades as a client with a liar-liar husband. Rita retains Cat to follow Chance Savino, a steamy guy with a pocketful of smuggled diamonds. The detective is hot on his heels when an exploding building hurls her out of her sling-backs and into the hospital. The FBI claims Savino was killed in the fireworks but Cat isn’t buying it. She escapes the hospital determined to find out.
When her client fails to show for a scheduled meeting, Cat finds her at home with a knife in her chest. She learns the reporter was researching a ball-buster story involving a gangster, gun smuggling, and a pocketful of diamonds. Cat discovers two clues in Rita’s apartment; Starburst candy wrappers and Chance Savino rummaging through her drawers.
Meanwhile, no one believes Chance is alive, everyone thinks Cat’s crazy, and Cat makes a murderer’s “must kill” list. A botched attempt puts ex husband, Johnnie Ricco on the short list of suspects. Can Cat solve this case before it is too late?
This book held my interest from page one. It doesn’t take long for the reader to realize that Cat DeLuca is good at what she does. Yes the whole play on “liar, liar pants on fire”, is a little annoying, but I found it easy enough to get past. Cat is a strong, likable character that I really enjoyed reading about.
The relationship between Cat and her family is an interesting one. Her mother see’s her job exposing cheating spouses as nothing short of working with porn and wants her to become a dispatcher for the police. She has a sister, Sophie, who does nothing but revel in all of the trouble Cat gets in and the mistakes she’s made. Truth be told, I actually found her quite amusing. Then there’s her brother Rocco, a cop, that tries to do what he can for her. However, you can clearly see he doesn’t believe a lot of what she says, especially in regards to Chance Savino being alive. All he knows is that her investigation has gotten her into trouble and he wants to help her out. Her father, an ex-cop, worries about her and wants to take care of her in the typical fatherly fashion. Then there’s Cat’s Uncle Joey. Uncle Joey sees a lot more than the rest of the family and is fiercely protective and always willing to help out Cat. It was amusing to see the entire family interpret a situation one way (ie the wrong way), but he would always manage to see it for what it really was. I always loved his interactions with Cat.
Like many books and TV shows, Liar Liar has your proverbial love triangle. It starts with Cat’s immediate and growing attraction to Chance Savino, who has an amazing body and good looks to boot. Then a wrench is thrown into the mix when Max enters the picture. He is the bodyguard that the local deli/party store owner and friend, Tino, provides for Cat as more and more attempts are made on her life. He’s handsome, he cooks and is a great protector…sounds like a good package to me. Normally in love triangles I find myself rooting for one guy, almost to the point of disliking the other, but not this time. Both men sound intriguing and neither stands out as the clear front runner as Cat’s chemistry with both is amazing. I’m going to enjoy seeing how this triangle continues to play out.
Now there is a lot that I liked about Liar Liar, but I do have a couple complaints. I have to say my biggest complaint is the insane amount of Italian stereotypes in this book. Every time Cat interacts with anyone of Italian decent (which was often since she is Italian), I couldn’t help but picture The Sopranos. To me it got to the point where it was over the top. The next complaint I have is that Cat tends to wear the most inappropriate clothes for the work she does. Trust me I love high heels and nice clothes, but there is a time and place to wear them. If you’re doing something where you might need to run…I’m going to say that high heels are not your smartest choice. Neither are $100 sandals or designer jeans. The authors seemed to be trying to appeal to most women’s love of shoes or trendy clothes, but I found it distracting. Cat seemed to constantly be in situations where these things were getting ruined, which I found annoying. I admit to the dorkiness of this, but each time I couldn’t help but thinking about all that money going down the drain. There was just something unrealistic about it too. If Cat is supposed to be as highly intelligent as she is portrayed, then wouldn’t she realize that these are not the smartest choices when working a case? Silly, I know, but it just bothered me.
Other than the few complaints that I have, I really liked Liar Liar. I found it to be a well paced, quick read. It definitely kept me entertained enough that I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. If you like a good mystery with a little romance thrown in, I suggest you put this book on your “to buy” list when it comes out September 1st. It’s decidedly worth it!