Will 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 …
Last year I was one of those readers who found themselves engaged and engrossed altogether in Catherine Ryan Howard’s debut, Distress Signals, a cruise-themed thriller packed with twists, gory scenes, and abounding information on the workings of the maritime law. Needless to say, that novel deservedly gained a 5-star rating from me and you can imagine the sheer excitement I was overwhelmed with at the prospect of reading a brand new Ryan Howard publication in advance.
The Liar’s Girl is an enthralling mystery due to be published in March 2018 and I advise you all not to miss the opportunity of purchasing this well-plotted and well-researched novel by a highly talented author who, in my opinion, has not received sufficient acclaim and credit for her skillful narrative capabilities. In this second publication, Ryan Howard employs a selection of the tricks that worked out so well and have made Distress Signals stand out in the eyes of the avid mystery/thriller genres readers, such as the blend of past and present, the story told from the protagonist’s point of view as well as the culprit’s, plenty of detailed information about the functioning of the Garda (the Irish police force) and the law of Ireland, this last component contributing to the realistic and authentic aspect of the novel. While The Liar’s Girl bears welcome similarities to Ryan Howard’s previous work, it also showcases a set of distinctive features that together distinguish it from its predecessor, namely the slow-burning storyline as well as the strong emphasis on the procedural aspects in which Alison, the protagonist, is immersed in.
I thoroughly enjoyed the manner in which the author managed to build the relationships between the characters, in this endeavor successfully making use of characterization. In order to make sense of the present situation the characters of the novel find themselves in and the development of the plot, the readers ought to properly know their personalities, mentalities, backgrounds, and therefore the masterful characterization written by Ryan Howard comes in handy in this regard. I was certainly interested in seeing how Alison and Will would react in a face-to-face contact after ten years during which their lives obviously followed opposite paths and they did not communicate with one another at all following the dramatic prosecution of Will. Regarding this, it is safe to say that the author did not disappoint, considering that she wrote emotionally packed and tense dialogues between the two showing the drama derived from miscommunication, misunderstanding, and perhaps misjudgment. In addition, I appreciated the dynamics of the relationship between Alison and Malone and I loved the fact that the author left the reader hanging in the air with regard to whether they felt something for one another or not. In terms of working partners, they certainly made a rather good team despite the fact that they did not discover the truth in full, this aspect relating to the biggest and well-executed revelation Ryan Howard is bound to surprise most of the readers with.
To conclude, I believe that the worthiness of this mystery lies in the effective execution of the narrative flow, the beautiful writing, the exquisite characterization, and the fine build-up of suspense culminating in an unexpected but realistic twist. The Liar’s Girl is a strong 4-star read I am wholeheartedly recommending to everyone who has a love for the mystery/thriller genres.
Special thanks go to Edelweiss and Blackstone Publishing for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.