What drives a politician to run over a man with his half-ton truck? That grisly murder is the political scandal that sets the tone in Mark Lisac’s dynamic first novel, Where the Bodies Lie. Lawyer Harry Asher — an old friend of the current premier — is hired to investigate the politician’s motivation and ensure nothing more sinister is at work that could damage the premier’s political dynasty. What Asher uncovers is a long list of corrupt deeds and moral slips that could implicate some of the most powerful people in this oil-rich province.
Though the novel never specifically names where it’s set, it’s an educated guess that Mark Lisac drew from his decades of experience as an Alberta political reporter to create his fictional province. Some of the book’s scandals may be missing from Alberta’s history, but the political structures and players will feel uncannily familiar to anyone who’s followed the province’s news and politics in recent years. Over his reporting career, Lisac clearly understood the necessary elements of a story in the reports he filed, as his voice in fiction builds suspense seamlessly.
As Harry moves closer to uncovering dark truths in a province fuelled by greed, rumours, and lies, he learns the only way to stay safe is to keep your ambition to yourself. Political junkies will devour this book, and other readers may find themselves eerily unsettled after the last page as they continue to question what is certain in their own lives. —Matthew Stepanic