Monday, August 3, 2015

Review: Liar’s Bench by Kim Michele Richardson

liars bench

Title: Liar’s Bench

Author: Kim Michele Richardson
(Author Website) (Facebook)

Narrator: Jorjeana Marie

Publisher:  Blackstone Audio, Inc.; Unabridged edition (April 28, 2015)

Length:  8 hours 59 minutes

Source: Audiobook Jukebox‘s reviewer program

About the Book: (from

In 1972, on Mudas Summers' seventeenth birthday, her beloved Mama, Ella, is found hanging from the rafters of their home. Most people in Peckinpaw, Kentucky, assume that Ella's no-good husband did the deed. Others think Ella grew tired of his abuse and did it herself. Muddy is determined to find out for sure either way, especially once she finds strange papers hidden amongst her mama's possessions.

But Peckinpaw keeps its secrets buried deep. Muddy's almost-more-than-friend, Bobby Marshall, knows that better than most. Though he passes for white, one of his ancestors was Frannie Crow, a slave hanged a century ago on nearby Hark Hill Plantation. Adorning the town square is a seat built from Frannie's gallows. A tribute, a relic--and a caution--it's known as Liar's Bench. Now, the answers Muddy seeks soon lead back to Hark Hill, to hatred and corruption that have echoed through the years--and lies she must be brave enough to confront at last.

Kim Michele Richardson's lush, beautifully written debut is set against a Southern backdrop passing uneasily from bigotry and brutality to hope. With its compelling mystery and complex yet relatable heroine, Liar's Bench is a story of first love, raw courage, and truths that won't be denied

About the Author:  (from author website)

Kim RichardsonKim Michele Richardson resides in the rolling hills of Kentucky where she is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence. She is also the author of the bestselling memoir The Unbreakable Child. Liar’s Bench is her first novel. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post and is busy working on her next novel, God Pretty in the Tobacco Field.

About the Narrator:

jojeana marie

   Jorjeana Marie is a quirky comedienne, actress, voice over actress and narrator for a number of large publishers.   She is very talented in portraying voices of children, monsters, creatures and animal characterizations.   

My Review: Liar’s Bench, a debut novel by Kim Michelle Richardson, is set in the south in the early 1970’s. A time of change that is slow to happen in some parts of the south, such as Peckinpaw, Kentucky..  Mudas  “Muddy” Summers parents are divorced due to her father’s infidelity. Mudas lives with her father who is the town prosecutor.   Muddy’s mom, Ella is married to Tommy.  On Muddy’s 17th birthday, her mother is found hung from the rafters of the home she shares with Tommy.  

Mudas does not believe her mother committed suicide.  She sets off with her friend, Bobby Marshall, who happens to be Afro-American,  to find out what really happened to her mother, Ella.  Sadly, the town is not ready for a mix race friendship and this cause problems for Bobby and Mudas.  Ella worked for Mr McGee, who is a bit of a unsavory character.  He is a racist and corrupt on many levels. Mudas thinks he might have something to due with her mother’s death as she was his bookkeeper. 

The other story line in Liar’s Bench is set in the past about 100 years is about a slave,Frannie Crow who was unjustly hung by her master at the nearby planation.  Bobby Marshall is a descendent of Frannie Crow. Liar’s Bench, which is in the center of town and is important to the  story, was built from the Frannie’s gallows.

The audiobook of Liar’s Bench was narrated by Jorjeana Marie.  This is the first time I have listened to this particular narrator. I think Jorjeana Marie is a new favorite!   She does an amazing portrayal of characters who are children.  I had to actually research to she if she was an adult.  Love her voice!  I have since  selected two more audiobooks based on her being the narrator.  She does a nice job of differentiating the voices and the differences in gender.  I particularly was  drawn to the voice of Muddy.   Jorjeana Marie does an excellent job in portraying the more suspenseful parts of the story.   You can really feel the suspense. 

Kim Michelle Richardson delivers a very good debut novel with Liar’s Bench.  There was one point in the story where Muddy and Bobby are being chased by McGee and his men, that really bugged me.   They are being chased and they all of a sudden think, they can just stop and investigate a graveyard.   While, the graveyard was important to the plot, it  seemed unrealistic to me to stop running at that particular point in the story.    If someone is chasing me….I am going to run and run until I find help!

My Rating: 4/5 –really liked it-  Liar’s Bench by Kim  Michele Richardson is a debut novel that is well worth the read/listen.  I would really  recommend listening to the audiobook narrated by Jorjeana Marie.  She is a very talented and interesting narrator, which really added to the Liar’s Bench experience.   I found myself needing to walk an extra mile just to hear a bit more of Liar’s Bench, a very enjoyable story and narration.   Even with her initial indecision, I really liked Muddy as a character.  By the end of the story she redeems herself in my eyes.  The ending was sufficiently suspenseful and satisfying.

Liar’s Bench is a mystery, but also a coming of age story.  Other themes in Liar’s Bench include racism, racial tension, secrets, corruption and racial and gender inequality.  The tension is palpable at times in regards to the racial bigotry and brutality of that sad time in history. 

Check out Audio of Liar’s Bench by Kim Michele Richardson, unabridged version released April, 2015 by Blackstone Audio, I think you will really enjoy the it! 

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Liar’s Bench was also reviewed on the following blogs:  Southern Literary Review, Beth’s Book Nook Blog, Historical Novel SocietySally’s Creative CornerBibliophile by the Sea,

**Disclosure – Liar’s Bench was received from Audiobook Jukebox’s reviewer program and Blackstone Audio in exchange for a fair review.

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