Rated 3 stars *** Ebook. ARC. Kensington Publishing. Published April 28, 2015.
It is 1972 in the small Kentucky town of Peckinpaw where, over 100 years ago, a slave was hung for crimes against her owners. Years later, a bench was built from the wood of her gallows and placed in the center of town, gradually earning the name of “Liar’s Bench.” On this bench, Peckinpaw’s citizens shared their stories and lies with each other.
With this background information, Richardson begins her story of seventeen-year-old Muddy Summer, who found out her mother committed suicide by hanging on her birthday. Muddy refuses to believe her mother would take her own life and, along with her boyfriend Bobby, sets out to find out the truth of her death.
Their journey to discover what really happened to Muddy’s mother takes them through the sordid evil found in men’s souls, which clung to the citizens of Peckinpaw. Evils, which included prejudice against Bobby and his kin for the crime of being Black in a White man’s town, murder, Klansmen, betrayal and more follow them through Peckinpaw. Soon they will discover that what happened in the past bears strange similarities to its present, and that these truths will draw them even closer together as Peckinpaw’s citizens try to separate them.
Muddy and Bobby’s Romeo and Juliet type love story is mixed with racial prejudice in the Deep South of 1972, a murder mystery, an historical mystery of an unjustly accused murdered slave, Title IX, and thug like characters committing crimes in town. I felt there was a lot going on in this book, and it could have benefitted from fewer story lines, but I will still recommend it for readers aged 16 and older because some of those story lines need to be remembered so history doesn’t repeat itself.