The Liar’s Lullaby by Meg Gardiner is the third book in the “Jo Beckett” thriller series. Publisher: Dutton, June 2010

Tasia McFarland is a washed-up country-pop singer desperate for the break that will get her topping the charts again. The tabloids have raked over every part of Tasia’s rocky life, following every high and low—her addictions, her breakdowns, her increasingly erratic behavior—and every broken relationship. The highlight of this lowlight reel: her failed marriage to an ambitious army officer whose political talents earned him a spot in the nation’s highest office. Tasia McFarland is the ex-wife of the president of the United States.

So when Tasia writes a song with politically charged lyrics, people take note and her star begins to rise anew. In the spectacle-driven opener of her comeback tour, she is lowered into a stadium on a zip line, and as helicopters fly overhead, she fires her prop Colt .45 at the fireworks-filled stage. Tasia is riding high.

Until she’s killed by a bullet to the neck before the shocked crowd of forty thousand.

When video can’t prove that the shot came from Tasia’s own Colt .45, and the ballistics report comes up empty, the authorities call on forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett to do a psychological autopsy and clean up the potential political disaster. But as Jo sifts through the facts, she only finds more questions: Was Tasia’s gun loaded? Did she kill herself in one last cry for attention? Were her politically charged lyrics the rantings of a paranoid woman losing her grip, or warnings from a woman afraid and in danger? For Jo, pouring over Tasia’s past quickly becomes a race to extinguish the conspiracy rumor mill before it incites a level of violence that reaches America’s highest corridors of power—and tears apart the very fabric of our nation.

What a great ride you’ll have reading this book. You can’t help but root that Jo gets to the bottom of why Tasia is dead and who is involved. The climatic end had me turning the pages because I had to know. We also get to explore her new relationship with Gabe and the past they both try to hide. Again, this is a great read and I hope the author keeps writing more stories featuring Jo. My rating: 5 stars

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