Happy publication day to Catherine Ryan Howard, The Liar’s Girl is out today.
Her first love confessed to five murders. But the truth was so much worse.
Dublin’s notorious Canal Killer, Will Hurley, is ten years into his life sentence when the body of a young woman is fished out of the Grand Canal. Though detectives suspect they are dealing with a copycat, they turn to Will for help. He claims he has the information the police need, but will only give it to one person – the girl he was dating when he committed his horrific crimes.
Alison Smith has spent the last decade abroad, putting her shattered life in Ireland far behind her. But when she gets a request from Dublin imploring her to help prevent another senseless murder, she is pulled back to face the past – and the man – she’s worked so hard to forget.
After loving Ryan Howard’s previous novel, Distress Signals, I knew I’d be picking up her next novel – and I’m so glad I did because it’s a good one! If you’ve read any reviews for The Liar’s Girl, then you’ll know this is one of those plots that the less you know going in, the better. What you do need to know about this novel is, it gets better with each page you turn – the mystery slowly builds and before you know it, you’re hooked.
Told in alternating Then and Now timelines, we get Alison’s point of view at university when the murders first happened, and in the present day when another body is found. Why is this mystery so good, because it’s unsolvable by the reader – Will has been behind bars for 10 years so your number one suspect is instantly ruled out.
The contrast between who Alison is now compared to the girl she was 10 years ago is worlds apart, and I love how skilled Ryan Howard’s characterisation is because it’s almost like two different characters – the naïve university student and the mature [but affected by her past] women – and I love when you can believe the girl from 10 years ago would grow into the woman today because it adds believability to what you’re reading. While there’s no denying how well Alison’s character was written, Will was my favourite because every time he featured, I’d try my hardest to get a read on his character, whether I believe him or if he’s just a really good actor.
The Liar’s Girl is a slow burner, less pacy than Distress Signals, but equally gripping because the intrigue is there – the want to know what happened then, and what is happening now. And this novel isn’t without it’s reveals either – I thought the conclusion was very clever, wrapping everything up in a very satisfying ending.
I absolutely recommend The Liar’s Girl, and look forward to seeing what Ryan Howard writes next because I, for sure, will be reading it!