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Liar's Bench

You’ll hear echoes of To Kill A Mockingbird in this haunting coming-of-age story. Beautifully written, atmospheric and intricately plotted, Richardson’s debut novel will stay with you long after the last page is turned.
— #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs

In the summer of '72, Mudas (Muddy) Summers finds out that Peckinpaw, Kentucky's, century-old secrets tie into yesterday’s sorrows—a town's liar's bench — her mama’s mysterious death, and the brutal lynching of her boyfriend's ancestor. Running through the tale of two Kentucky hangings more than a hundred years apart is the story of Muddy and Bobby finding each other and themselves while forced to grow up fast in a time and place where the KKK is still a power, the South is struggling to find itself, and teens are caught between old and new ways of growing up.

Book of the Month Club Pick -  Book Movement

Also Available as an Audio Book

Also Available as an Audio Book

 
 



        


PRAISE FOR LIAR'S BENCH

"This glorious debut novel is one of an unexpectedly fine crop of recent and new Southern fiction. It confronts the tragic persistence of racism and the resilient, transcendent power of the human spirit. It is at once a story of young love, of traditions both poisonous and healing, and of murder. It is a brilliantly managed game played on a 100-plus year field whose goal posts are two hangings." -Southern Literary Review

"Liar's Bench" by Kim Michele Richardson is a well-crafted, beautifully written debut novel set in 1972 in the South — Peckinpaw, Ky., to be exact. From page one, readers can see they are in the hands of a master writer and are taking a trip back in time. Many authors can write a compelling story in a historical setting. . . .Richardson also creates a world that readers can get lost in and come out the other side, learning more about history but also themselves.” -The News-GazetteChampaign, IL

"The tale is full of Southern swagger and a hundred years of lies. Richardson does a splendid job of weaving the two stories together without a literary muddle. Frannie’s touching and relevant story is told in meaningful bites, and Muddy is the personification of a 17-year-old girl who Richardson has written with wit, anger and the sensibilities of her age. A clear stage is set for Muddy and Bobby to discover the truth about Ella, Frannie and themselves as they follow a road filled with suspicions, secrets, threats and racism. Liar’s Bench is a satisfying mystery with thought-provoking historical elements, written in a sassy Southern voice." -HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY


"Author Kim Michele Richardson has already brought vivid sparks when writing about mistrust, small minds and the vulnerability of the young — that was in her memoir “The Unbreakable Child.” Now she’s delivered her debut work of fiction: “Liar’s Bench.” A town-square bench refashioned from a gallows is just one of the memorable devices by which Richardson connects the past with the present and shows unity of spirit underlying those who would challenge broken and bygone ways of living." - STAFFPICKS , LEO Weekly Magazine

"An intricately crafted plot with vivid characters make up Richardson’s debut novel set in a small Kentucky town in the 1970’s. Her beautifully descriptive storytelling gorgeously weaves a story centered around two hangings, which occur about a hundred years apart. Mudas and Bobby make strong protagonists as they find the courage to find answers within the volatile environment of the South. A wonderful story that will leave its mark on readers’ hearts."– RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars Top Pick

"Mudas Summers, the seventeen-year-old protagonist of Kim Michele Richardson's atmospheric first mystery, grabs your hand and takes you along as she navigates the twists and turns of her life and in the process unearths the dark secrets of Peckinpaw, which have kept the townsfolk chained to their destructive past, dooming them to repeat the same sins over and over. That is, until the headstrong Mudas unleashes her own fury against those who would hurt her and ironically--through yet another act of violence in Peckinpaw's long, brutal history--discovers the truth that will clear her mother's name.  In this way, Richardson boldly probes behind the facade of place to unmask the damaged psyches of its inhabitants." -- Gwyn Hyman Rubio, author ofLove & Ordinary Creatures  and Icy Sparks

"With magical writing and a strong sense of time and place, Kim Michele Richardson introduces us to an engaging and unforgettable protagonist in Muddy Summers. We meet seventeen-year-old Muddy at a moment of tremendous personal loss complicated by unanswered questions. Muddy's courage and passion drive the story and I didn't stop cheering for her until the riveting end."--Diane Chamberlain, USA Today Bestselling author

"Century-old lies, murder, and racial injustice propel a feisty teen heroine to dig into the past in this richly imagined Southern gothic tale."--Beth Hoffman, New York Timesbestselling author of Looking for Me and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

"You'll hear echoes of To Kill A Mockingbird in this haunting coming-of-age story. Beautifully written, atmospheric and intricately plotted, Richardson's debut novel will stay with you long after the last page is turned."-- #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs

"In Liar’s Bench, Kim Michele Richardson brings you home to meet her people and to pull up a rocker on the porch with a Mason jar of sweet tea, to watch fireflies in the dusk while she spins a sure-footed tale of wrongful death, first love and reconciliation. Like Muddy, you’ll find you cannot walk away." --Amy Conner, author of The Right Thing

"Liar’s Bench is one of those rare books I wish I had written. Southern storytelling at its finest." --Ann Hite, author of Ghost of Black Mountain andthe award winning Black Mountain series

"Readers of Southern fiction won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough as they follow this colorful tale."  --Ellen Marie Wiseman, author of What She Left Behind

"In a story that spans more than one hundred years between two hangings, Richardson tackles bigotry and a society in flux in this gripping coming-of-age mystery that feels relevant no matter what year you are in. Liar’s Bench is a story that will stay with you long after the reading’s done."   --Jamie Mason, author of  Monday's Lie and ThreeGraves Full

"Liar’s Bench is compulsively readable —a highly imaginative coming-of-age story with a lot of unexpected twists and turns. Very hard to put down."--Noah Bly, author of Third Hill North of Town

"A powerful echo of mankind’s slight, but steady triumphs over prejudices and racial injustice."--Morris Dees, former financial advisor to President Jimmy Carter, Founder of The Poverty Law Center

 

LIAR'S BENCH won Semifinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards and earned a Publishers Weekly Review of the Manuscript -

“Strong characters, compelling local color, dramatic attention to detail, and a well-paced plot make this a rewarding coming-of-age novel that also works as a convincing mystery. Set in the fictional small town of Peckinpaw, Ky., the story opens in 1862 with the brutal lynching of Frannie Crow, a plantation slave wrongly accused of fatally poisoning her owner’s wife. More than 100 years later, in 1972, as Peckinpaw continues its tradition of bigotry, the hanging death of Ella Mudas Tilley becomes indelibly linked with Crow’s fate. Narrator Mudas, 17, Ella's daughter, is convinced her divorced and remarried mother wouldn’t commit suicide, so she’s bound to track down Ella’s murderer -- even if it nearly kills Mudas and her new boyfriend, Bobby, a distant Crow relative. Many plotlines shift at “liar’s bench,” a wooden seat crafted out of Crow's gallows and nestled in the Town Square between a leather-goods store and the Top Hat Café. The author’s obvious love of nature, delicious descriptions of country cooking, matter-of-fact references to early-70s culture, and vivid scenes of Ella’s twirling corpse and Mudas losing her virginity make this an absorbing snapshot of small-town life.”