Tuesday, 20 February 2018

The Liar's Girl

Author: Catherine Ryan Howard
Genre: Suspense
Type: e-book
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
First Published: February 27, 2018
First Line: "It's 4:17 a.m. on Saturday morning when Jen comes to on a battered couch in a house somewhere in Rathmines, one of those red-brick terraces that's been divided into flats, let out to students and left to rot."

Book Description for GoodReadsWill Hurley was an attractive, charming, and impressive student at Dublin's elite St. John's College-and Ireland's most prolific serial killer. Having stalked his four young victims, he drowned them in the muddy waters of the Grand Canal. Sentenced to life imprisonment when he was just nineteen, Will is locked away in the city's Central Psychiatric Hospital.

Freshman Alison Smith moved to the Big Smoke to enrol in St. John's and soon fell hard for Will Hurley. Her world bloomed ... and then imploded when Liz, her best friend, became the latest victim of the Canal Killer-and the Canal Killer turned out to be the boy who'd been sleeping in her bed. Alison fled to the Netherlands and, in ten years, has never once looked back.

When a young woman's body is found in the Grand Canal, Garda detectives visit Will to see if he can assist them in solving what looks like a copycat killing. Instead, Will tells them he has something new to confess-but there's only one person he's prepared to confess it to. The last thing Alison wants is to be pulled back into the past she's worked so hard to leave behind. Reluctantly, she returns to the city she hasn't set foot in for more than a decade to face the man who murdered the woman she was supposed to become.

Only to discover that, until now, Will has left out the worst part of all ...

My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: This slow burn psychological thriller follows Alison, a woman whose boyfriend was charged with murdering five women ten years ago. Over the past decade she has desperately tried to leave her past behind but when the bodies of more young women turn up, the Irish police ask for Alison’s help to gain new information from her ex-boyfriend.

Normally I prefer my suspense reads fast-paced and twist-filled so I was a little surprised at how much I enjoyed this slower paced thriller. The story flips back and forth between 2007 and current day and is from Alison's perspective but the inclusion of another character's point of view adds to the building suspense. The time shifting was done well and helped show why Alison tried desperately to leave her past behind her. 

Readers will be kept engaged throughout the story but instead of packing in twist after twist, Howard focuses on strong characterizations of her characters, including the secondary characters who each play important roles within the story. Alison's struggle to overcome her past is told with sensitivity and her current concerns are believable but I didn't find her an overly likable character. 

But, it was the sinister feel kept me reading into the wee hours. There was one scene with a small twist that took my breath away and had the hairs on my arms standing up. It was creeptastically good!

This is a compulsive read that I finished in just over one day. It has a slower build-up but if readers are patient, the tension builds to a nail-biting final scene and the addition of the last twist packs a good punch for a solid finish. 

Disclaimer: This ARC was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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