She’d loved me, in her own disgusting, sharp-toothed way.
It is often said there is no relationship more fraught than the one between sisters at odds with each-other. In The Better Liar, a joint inheritance forces Leslie to find her little sister Robin Voigt. Robin, who ran-away from home one night when she was just a teenager, leaving Leslie to always be the responsible daughter, tied to their dying father, forced to care for him to the bitter end. Sure, Robin dropped a line here and there when she needed saving from one jam or another, and daddy always came through, but she never earned a bit of his love and loyalty. Tracking her down in Las Vegas Leslie discovers she is too late, her drug addicted sister is dead, and now what? It’s just like Robin, to do this to her, as if she hasn’t already ruined her life. She isn’t going to see a penny of it now, where is the fairness in that, the inheritance was to be split between them both or no one gets their share, there is nothing she can do, right? Until… she sees Mary.
Mary looks so much like Robin. What if… what if Mary pretended to be Robin, just long enough to sign the paperwork, she can have Robin’s share and go off on her merry little way? Mary understands all too well the need for money, this is ‘the perfect job’, she wants to be an actress, how better to test her mettle than to pretend to be someone else? She is sick of working at the restaurant, and she has her own troubles to escape, it’s a way out of town. Leslie’s plan is wildly crazy, even if she does share a resemblance to the deceased, how could it work? True, Robin was never a part of Leslie’s adult life, never met her husband nor child and has been gone so long surely no one would know what she would have looked like now. Still, it’s a madcap plan, but likely will be a lot of fun and Mary is always one for fun. Leslie tries to keep just enough distance while letting Mary in on the sister’s shared past, there always seems to remain a little mystery and something isn’t right about her. Why does she need her half of the money, what is she hiding? She has quite the cozy life, a handsome, successful husband, beautiful son whom she doesn’t seem to want Mary (aka Robin) to be around. Why is she so unhappy? Is she involved in something, she doesn’t seem to be in financial trouble at all. Why is she lying? She may control the story of her past with Robin’s death, but Mary isn’t so easily led about. She is getting too close for Leslie’s comfort, and Leslie doesn’t owe her a thing beyond their agreed upon plan.
Robin’s fading, she’s nothing but a ghost now reminiscing about the relationship she had with her sister. Dear Leslie, who once used to care for her like a mother, since her own couldn’t be bothered. Was Robin really too much for people, as her sister seems to have believed, because Robin remembers things quite differently? As Leslie tells Mary things in order to help her become Robin, it doesn’t ring quite true. In fact, with this farce, who is the real schemer now? In her memories, Leslie wasn’t always the stand in mother she tells everyone she was, full of tender love and kindness. There were times she wanted Robin out of sight, when she was tired of caring for her little sister’s every need. She pushed her away first, with her cruelty, Robin well remembers it, there were reasons, things that made Robin’s heart hard. The way Leslie tells it the change in her sister’s temperament happened in junior high, suddenly she was hateful overnight, no rhyme nor reason. As soon as she got her own room she was mean and ugly, but there are two sides to every story, just which version is the truest? Robin loved to feed people stories, as much as she loved the attention she got from boys, even girls, and later men. There was a time she loved her big sister but she knows that Leslie isn’t the responsible, flawless person she portrays to the world. It reminds her of their damaged mother. She tells stories too. Ghosts are all seeing, and with her death, she is able to be more present than her choices in life allowed her to be before. She is now the held breath in the room, lurking in a sense.
Everyone is a liar, but who is The Better Liar?
A dark story about sisterhood and twisted loyalty. The biggest liar wins.
Publication Date: January 14, 2020