Ah, I think hurricane season is totally starting. Well, I mean, it picks up around this time. Tropical Wave/Storm Fred flamed out and went away. Not that it would have really gotten to me to do any damage but sometimes we get some rain if they're strong enough. I mostly only panic if they're coming up the coast towards me.
Anyways, this book was quite fun. Catherine Ryan Howard is a new author to me but I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up because I saw the Edgar Sticker (it's been removed on that book). I tend to really enjoy Edgar Awards and Edgar Nominees. I also liked that the paperback that I picked up is taller than normal, I don't know why but it felt like it fit well within my hands.
Title: The Liar's Girl
Author: Catherine Ryan Howard
Page Number: 424 pages
Genre: mystery, thriller, fiction
Publisher: Black Stone Publishing
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 ...
This book deals mostly in the present, but does have snapshots of the past. This normally drives me insane, but I've been better at not getting frustrated at this pretty popular writing setup. Howard didn't drive me insane here, so it's not constant back and forth.
At the beginning, we meet our main character Allison Smith. Allison hopes to secure a place at St. John's College (a fictional school) in Dublin with her best friend Liz. The few moments we get of Liz and Allison at the beginning show that their friendship is not quite as positive as one would hope.
During Fresher's week (the week before school begins), Allison meets Will at a party. Will is a bit older, attractive, and smart. The two of them begin an intense romantic relationship.
While all this is going on, a serial killer is stalking co-eds at St. John's (where everyone is WAY too calm considering). He is dubbed "The Canal Killer" as his victims are found in canals. One night Liz goes missing but is found murdered in a canal, with the hallmarks of the serial killer on her. This devastates Allison.
Then the police finger her boyfriend, Will Hurley, as the Canal Killer. The murders stop after his arrest and Will is found guilty and sent to a psychiatric facility.
We catch up to Allison ten years later. She's living in mainland Europe, settled in her new life. She moved from Dublin and St. John's after the murder and finished college in the Netherlands. No one there knows who she is so she stays.
The gardai, or Irish police, visit her one day. They have a big ask of her. They want her to come back and visit with Will, still housed in a psychiatric facility/jail. There are young women being found in canals again and the police feel that it might be a copycat. Will has offered to talk...but only to her.
Allison eventually decides to come back and face Will, her past, and the copycat. The book deals with the mystery of who is killing these girls now but it also visits the past where we learn more about the toxicity of the trio of Will, Allison, and Liz.
I'll be honest, my favorite book trope is the hot FBI agent that falls in love with the victim while a serial killer is running around. In some ways, this book hints at that but it isn't a romance at all. There is a hot garda/police officer. There's a hint of a romance between him and Allison (or maybe it was just letting off steam and I'm too invested in this trope). At it's core, this book is a thriller.
Regardless, I liked this book, rating it highly at 4.5 stars. It was very, very good!