Author : Catherine Ryan Howard
Title : The Liar’s Girl
Pages : 304
Publisher : Corvus
Publication date : March 1, 2018
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.
Ten years ago, Alison’s boyfriend Will was arrested for the murders of four young women. Embarrassed and unable to deal with the fact that she didn’t realise she was sleeping with a killer, Alison moves to the Netherlands. But now, there is a new spate of murders. Since Will has been locked up in a psychiatric institution for the past ten years, it obviously can’t be him this time around. Is there a copycat? Or was Will innocent all along? Alison is forced to return to Ireland and face her past and the man she thought she’d spend the rest of her life with.
I think it’s fair to say this is a psychological thriller with a difference, which isn’t a bad thing. But if you’re looking for a thrill a minute with twists and turns at every available opportunity, you may end up a tad disappointed. The Liar’s Girl is rather slow-paced and has reveals rather than twists. Although I must admit there was one that completely threw me for a loop but it took a long time coming.
Being suspicious by nature, I kept wondering about the motives of the characters involved and seeing connections where there weren’t any. If Will was innocent, why did he keep his mouth shut for ten years? Did the Gardaí make mistakes? Was there just the one killer or was there a team of two? Or is Will just a really accomplished liar?
The story is told through Alison’s perspective, in the now and the past where she revisits her friendship with Liz and her relationship with Will. I do so enjoy a story set up like this where the past may just give you tiny clues. Although I must admit if there were any, I completely missed them. I must also say I utterly disliked the character of Liz and even her excuse for acting the way she did didn’t make me sympathise with her.
The Liar’s Girl is a thoroughly enjoyable and well-crafted slow burner of a psychological thriller. I really enjoy Catherine Ryan Howard’s writing and in this case, her ability to take a topic that’s been done numerous times and give it a refreshing makeover. This is the second book I’ve read by her, the first one being Distress Signals which I also really enjoyed, and I look forward to much more!
The Liar’s Girl will be published on March 1st.