Book review by Dinh.
The Liar’s Girl was my introduction to Catherine Ryan Howard.
I was looking forward to reading this book because it was nominated for the Edgar Award in 2019. Also I was keen on digging in a book set in Dublin, Ireland and by an Irish author.
The book also had rave reviews from the book community so I was eager to read it to see if it would live up to its hype.
So my verdict? Two thumbs up!! It did live up to the hype and was a solid read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I really enjoyed the premise of The Liar’s Girl. How well do you know a person you love, and what do you do when you find that he is a serial killer?
That’s the question Alison Smith had to answer.
Alison moves to Dublin and starts her university at St. John’s College and meets and falls in love with fellow student Will Hurley.
Things are great until the Canal Killer strikes and kills Alison’s best friend Liz. And it turns out that Will is the serial killer after he is arrested and confessed.
The story line switches between the past and the present. Ten years on Alison is back in Dublin to help the Garda detectives solve the copy-cat Canal Killer case.
I immensely liked that The Liar’s Girl is not your typical twisty psychological thriller. Ms. Howard does not use those tools to make it thrilling. However, the book was suspenseful.
There were no huge twists but the book was written well so it was engaging and intriguing and kept me turning the pages.
The book was slower paced at the beginning as we got to know the main characters. The last quarter of the book was a lot faster and turned into an action packed thriller.
The strength of the book was about Alison’s journey in young love and then moving on after trauma rather than the crime fiction itself.
The book was structured intelligently. I liked reading the various points of view, particularly Alison’s view when she was a teenager in love. In contrast, we get to see how she responds to the new case now that it’s ten years later.
It added more suspense when we get to see a bit of Will’s view and also an anonymous person as well.
I gave this book 4.5 stars because there was a bit that didn’t work for me. Alison’s super-sleuthing abilities didn’t really jive. She pretty much solved the case by herself when trained detectives weren’t able to.
Though I did not warm to the main characters, I did think that they were done well.
The characters’ relationship to each other was superbly done.
- Best Friends
Alison and her best friend Liz relationship was spot on. The dynamic between the best friends was captured perfectly. Liz was nice to Alison when it suited her. Their relationship was imbalanced and toxic.
- The Boyfriend
Alison and Will’s relationship was your typical teenager love relationship. They both adored each other and were in love.
I found the characters to be believable and realistic in their teenage years. Alison ten years later still questions herself and feels the guilt that never seems to diminish.
I thought the ending was fantastic! I was highly satisfied. The case gets solved and the questions are answered.
Not to have spoilers, I particularly enjoyed Will’s viewpoint at the end.
My Final Thoughts:
I thoroughly enjoyed The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard. This book was suspenseful and a slow boil mystery.
I highly recommend The Liar’s Girl! I will be checking out her other works for sure.
Belong to a book club? Check out The Liar’s Girl book club discussion questions!
Read the book? What are your thoughts?