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In the Company of Liars

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Overview

In the Company of Liars is that rare animal - a truly original thriller, strikingly fresh and unpredictable. Told chronologically in reverse, from its enigmatic end to its brilliant beginning, it’s centered around a woman on trial for murder - Allison Pagone, who is caught between competing forces, each represented by someone who may not care if the pressure kills her in the end. A prosecutor wants Allison convicted and put on death row. An FBI agent believes she can squeeze her into ratting on her family. A ...

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In the Company of Liars

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Overview

In the Company of Liars is that rare animal - a truly original thriller, strikingly fresh and unpredictable. Told chronologically in reverse, from its enigmatic end to its brilliant beginning, it’s centered around a woman on trial for murder - Allison Pagone, who is caught between competing forces, each represented by someone who may not care if the pressure kills her in the end. A prosecutor wants Allison convicted and put on death row. An FBI agent believes she can squeeze her into ratting on her family. A daughter and an ex-husband need to save their own skins. And circling them all, a group who would prefer to kill her quietly and anonymously, but who also are not what they seem.

Our first picture of Allison is in the moments after her death. Then the story moves backward in time like the acclaimed film Memento: an hour before, then a day, back and back until we’re at the beginning and can see what’s really happened - and most shocking, what has not. At every turn, Allison knows what she sees may not be what’s real. The only sure thing is her place in a vortex of half-truths, threat, and suspicion. When her nightmare is over, where will she be? In the company of friends - or the company of liars?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Chicago lawyer Ellis's fourth thriller (after last year's Jury of One) begins with the reported death of bestselling author Allison Pagone-the main suspect in the fatal bludgeoning of her lover, a D.C. lobbyist-and continues backward to the night of the murder. Reverse chronology is a tricky literary device that may prove too demanding for the multi-tasking listener, especially when it comes to keeping track of an elaborate plot involving not only homicide but terrorism, corruption and wheeling and dealing by several law enforcement agencies (and, as the title suggests, lots of lying). But those willing to give this well-produced audio their full attention will be rewarded by an ingeniously plotted and satisfying whodunit, stylishly rendered by Hill and his wife, Breck. Both narrators play well off of each other to give voice to this twisting tale, but the latter is particularly effective in her portrayals of the hapless Pagone, trapped in a seemingly untenable situation, and FBI agent Jane McCoy, who is suffering the frustration and guilt of having done the trapping. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 28). (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This Edgar Award winner works backward from Allison Pagone's execution to show why so many people wanted her convicted of murder. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The author of Jury of One (2004), etc., returns with another thriller in which past really is prologue. Perhaps taking his cue from the film Memento, which tells its story in reverse chronology, Ellis launches his latest with the climaxes of a case that began 11 years earlier. Then, in a series of flashbacks, he works through the clues behind the clues that led to these two events. In the first, the body of best-selling novelist Allison Pagone is found in a blood-splattered bathroom, an apparent suicide. In the second, American forces in the Sudan nab elusive terrorist leader Mushan al-Bakhari in "a moment for which all Americans have waited for years" (meaning Mushan is you know who). How are the events connected? Ellis takes a while to tie these threads together. Initially, he focuses, as in prior novels, on political corruption. Pagone, it seems, killed herself after murdering a lover who was about to finger her ex-husband for bribing U.S. senators to influence their votes on legislation favoring a drug company. One of her earrings turns up at the crime scene, as does a strand of hair bearing her DNA. She also had hacked into the victim's computer to make it seem he sent her an e-mail that, in turn, she can use as an alibi. Ellis practically drums these and other clues into the reader, perhaps having trouble getting up to speed in reverse. Eventually, he eases up as the terrorism angle becomes integral. It's revealed that a doctor plans to spike the drug company's baby aspirin with an undetectable, fatal poison. Plans to foil that plot explain all that precedes and may send some readers back to page one to see how nothing was what it seemed. Annoyingly repetitious, especially atmidpoint, but amply rewarding at the end-which, of course, is the beginning. First printing of 50,000; Book-of-the-Month Club and Mystery Guild selection
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469238395
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 10/23/2012
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 617,468
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David Ellis

David Ellis’s previous novels include In the Company of Liars, Jury of One, Life Sentence, and Line of Vision, for which he won an Edgar Award. An attorney from Chicago, he serves as Counsel to the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2005

    Written back to front

    IN THE COMPANY OF LIARS is a murder mystery written in reverse order. No need to cheat by going to the last chapter to see ¿who-done-it¿. My only problem was even after I finished reading the book and learned all the surprising twists and turns, I still didn¿t know who killed Allison! The book is well written but it was hard to follow a story in reverse order. Allison Pagone is an award-winning novelist with an ex-husband, Mateo, and daughter, Jessica and she is dead. Agent Jane McCoy and her partner Owen Harrick, are working two ends against the middle to try to complete their assignment from the Bureau. She has created a scenario that is suppose to keep everyone safe and yet stop the bad guys. Can she juggle all the balls to make it happen? The story includes Sam Dillon, a lobbyist; Larry Evan, an American journalist; Ram Haroon, a Pakistani National, Irv Shiels, the SAC Officer for the Bureau; Dr. Lomas, a research scientist; Flanagan-Maxx, a pharmaceutical company and Divalpro, the blood pressure drug FM produces. The first 200 pages were slow reading. Many paragraphs were repeated over and over until I thought would die of boredom if I continued to read the novel. But I did and the last 100 pages was the best part of the whole story. At that point, it was spell-binding reading and caused me to stay up late to finish it. These last chapters also were where the twists and turns were found. Early on, I had a certain character pegged as the bad guy and I was certain that he was calling all the shots. But, watch out, David Ellis turned the tables so fast and with such obvious clarity that I wondered why I didn¿t see where he was taking the story earlier on.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    similar to the movie Memento

    Famous novelist Allison Pagone is on trial for the murder of lobbyist Sam Dillon, but she is not mounting any credible defense. Instead she is more worried about her ex-husband who bribed three state senators to pass a law that would allow the drug Divalpro to be put on the state¿s prior approved Medicaid drug list. She made a deal with federal agent Kat McCoy that she would allow the state to try her for murder if her ex-husband and daughter gain immunity from prosecution.--- Although Allison is protected as part of the deal, a terrorist from the Liberation Front kills her because they believe she knows that a doctor they are working with has developed a medicine that will kill millions. The reason they believe this is because her lover lobbyist Sam Dillon was going before the grand jury. They didn¿t know he had no idea about a terrorist plot but was going to testify about the bribery involving Allison¿s husband and daughter. Kat believes that if they capture the head of the Liberation Front Allison wouldn¿t have died in vain.--- This novel is told in reverse chronological order similar to the movie Memento, a writing technique that is brilliantly successful in David Ellis¿s capable hands. Even though readers know from the very first pages that Allison is murdered that adds suspense and enjoyment to this exciting thriller because although it looks like everyone¿s motive are clear-cut, as the story progresses readers will see that things are not as they appear. IN THE COMPANY OF LIARS demonstrates that some government operations are ugly and morally wrong regardless of the ends.--- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2005

    Refreshingly Brilliant Plot

    This novel opens with three different story lines. FBI Agent Jane McCoy holding a gun on a well-known doctor, a Marine squad attacking a convoy in the Middle East to capture a sought after terrorist, and minutes after the death of mystery writer Allison Pagone. Allison was on trial and about to be convicted for the murder of her alleged lover. Just what ties all of these plots together? To say anymore would ruin the masterful job that Mr. Ellis has done in writing this novel in chronological reverse. He succeeds in crafting a tale with narrative breadth and emotional scope seldom encountered in mystery fiction. The novel proceeds to a flawless slam-bang conclusion-or should I say beginning? The result is a haunting, deeply satisfying novel that transcends general limitations and lingers in the mind long after the book ends. An excellent read. Patricia Kersten

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2008

    Ingenious

    This was the first David Ellis novel I had picked up and read and boy, was I impressed! Tremendously well written and incredibly clever to start at the end and work your way back to the beginning with all of those twists and turns. This is an author I will certainly keep my eyes out for.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2005

    Fantastic!

    I can't even imagine how difficult this book must have been to write. It is a work of art, and a great read. And while I don't want to spoil it for anyone, I would suggest to Barbara that she go back and read the first few chapters again - I think she missed the whole point!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2005

    Who can read a book in reverse?

    I really tried to read this book, but was totally confused reading in reverse. This author is a good one, I just ordered all his other books, but had to put this one down.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2011

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