Review: The Liar’s Girl

Book Title: The Liar’s Girl
Author: Catherine Ryan Howard
Series: None
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Crime Fiction
U.S. Pub Date: 02/27/18

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 …


I feel really lucky that I was able to buddy read this book with my sister Irina; not everyone shares similar tastes with family members, but thankfully we both love to read the same novels! I don’t think we expected to fly through this one so quickly, but neither one of us could put it down. The Liar’s Girl is truly a compulsive, addicting read, the type where it doesn’t even matter if the big twist(s) fool you because the journey to the end was so much more important than the conclusion of the story. That’s not to say I didn’t appreciate how everything wrapped up, but I found myself grateful that the author was more concerned with engaging the reader throughout than throwing a “Hail Mary” by trying to obtain one whopper of a shocking twist.

He can’t let her go by herself. And he won’t, because he’s a gentleman. A gentleman who doesn’t let young girls walk home alone from parties when they’ve been drinking enough to forget their coat, bag, and-he lifts the flap on the little velvet envelope, checks inside-keys, college ID and phone too. And he wants to make sure Jen knows that. Mr. Nice Guy, he calls himself. He hopes she will too. 

I feel like I should be a bit tight-lipped on the plot here, but I really enjoyed how this one was structured. The flipping between past and present POV of Alison was brilliant; while I didn’t find her wholly likable I did connect with her early on and appreciated her growth and maturation from beginning to end. Almost the entire story is from her POV, with a few minor exceptions and THAT’S ALL I WILL SAY ABOUT THAT. Both tenses were equally interesting and as I moved on I found myself flipping the pages faster and faster until I realized I had read the final 50% in one bout on the bike at the gym. Sorry Irina!

“Gardai are appealing for witnesses after the body of St. John’s College student Jennifer Madden, nineteen, was recovered from the Grand Canal early yesterday morning.”

If you enjoyed the author’s first novel, Distress Signals, then you will most certainly enjoy this one as well. The Liar’s Girl contains the same style of writing where, in the beginning, there is a good bit of slow building suspense and characterization that morphs into exciting action and exposed secrets! If you’re nosey like me you’ll appreciate this. Hooray for exposed secrets! Highly recommended to those who like maybe a less twisty thriller and highly favor the procedural and characterization approach. I’m 2 for 2 with Howard’s books and am waiting anxiously for her next book to be written.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy via NetGalley. 

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