Review: Liar's Candle
by August Thomas (Scribner, 2018)
International setting. An American Embassy intern who knows too much. Page-turning suspense. I flew through this novel, drawn into the world of contemporary Turkey that is rendered with cinematic, sensory details. Recommended reading for a long-haul flight; a downright chilling if you’re heading into a political hot zone.
Tight plotting and a compelling female protagonist propel this spy thriller. A diplomatic intern, Penny Kessler, tumbles in over her head when an explosion rocks an embassy party. Penny’s crush, Zach, disappears and more than 200 people are killed. Penny's superpowers are tenacity and translation, and she deploys these skills to great advantage while searching for the truth behind the embassy bombing. In the vein of John le Carré, Liar's Candle resonates with elements of plausible fact: political gamesmanship, corruption, diplomatic intrigue. This world abounds with twisty scenarios and characters loaded with hidden agendas. A smart, satisfying page-turner that marks the debut of this young, female novelist. August Thomas lived in Turkey as a Fulbright Scholar and creates exquisite details of setting, scene, and tight dialogue–with nuances of language-in-translation. Sequel-worthy.