The Liar’s Girl
Catherine Ryan Howard
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.
It’s been ten years since the horrific spate of killings in Dublin, ten years since Will Hurley, dubbed the Canal Killer, was convicted and transfered to a psychiatric hospital and left there. And ten years since his then girlfriend Alison Smith felt her world tumble on top of her. Her best friend was murdered and her first boyfriend, a man she adored, turned out to be the killer. Now, a copycat has taken up Will’s frightening mantle, adopting his modus operendi, emulating his killings. In a desperate bid to prevent another death, the Gardai ask Will for help but he refuses to say a word unless they allow him to see Alison, who fled Ireland to escape the scrutiny of thousands of eyes and the weight of a swiftly collapsing world. And now she has rebuilt the vestiges of her life and found peace in the anonymity that comes with life in the Netherlands. That is until the Gardai knock on her door and ask to take her back to a place she ran from, back to a part of her past she has been hiding from – back to Will.
I really felt for Alison in this book. She fell head over heels in love with her first boyfriend, only for him to turn out to be a serial killer. She’s not only heartbroken and hurt but ashamed and feeling guilty for not realising sooner, for not preventing the deaths of so many poor girls. And when she finally does start to rebuild her life, which is still overhung by the shadows of those deaths, she is pulled back into the tangled mess of her past and forced to mine the hidden depths of her memories.
Alternating between chapters headed Alison, Then and Alison, Now, this book is a spectacularly addictive read. It’s about love, loss and life-altering lies. But more than anything, I think it’s about the facades people wear, those that can be broken down, inch by inch, to reveal something shocking, something so disturbing you wonder how you ever could have missed it. The characters in this book are beautifully captured and really pulled me into the story.
The Liar’s Girl is another absolute wonderful novel from Catherine Ryan Howard. If you liked Distress Signals, then you will love this. I certainly did and I can’t wait to read more from her!
Gripping. Heart-pounding. Brilliant.
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About Catherine Ryan Howard
CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1982. Her debut thriller, DISTRESS SIGNALS, was an Irish Times and USA Today bestseller, and was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey/New Blood Dagger 2017. Before writing full-time, she was a campsite courier in France, a travel administrator in the Netherlands and a front desk agent at a hotel in Walt Disney World, Florida. She is currently studying English at Trinity College Dublin and wants to be a NASA astronaut when she grows up. Her second thriller, THE LIAR’S GIRL, will be published in March 2018.
Huge thanks to Sophie at Atlantic Books for my review copy!