Last year, I went through a bit of a thriller phase, and I’ve been itching to pick up another one. And, I’ll admit it, the tagline of Simon Lelic’s The Liar’s Room hooked me. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but this book definitely went to a place I was not anticipating at all.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
(From Goodreads) Two liars. One room. No way out.
Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a therapist and starting a new life. It was the only way to keep her daughter safe.
But when a young man, Adam Geraghty, walks into her office, claiming he needs Susanna’s help but asking unsettling questions, she begins to fear that her secret has been discovered.
Who is Adam, really? What does he intend to do to Susanna?
And what has he done to her daughter?
The Liar’s Room was an interesting thriller. I thought the premise was really creative, and the first chapter immediately drew me in. This is definitely a hard book to put down. Thrillers usually keep me reading, and this one was no exception. I did think this book went on a bit too long – it’s 352 pages – and there were parts that felt too slow for me. It wasn’t by any means a dealbreaker for me, but I did find myself wishing the pacing could have been a bit faster, because some of the anticipation got lost.
I did think the twists in this book were pretty great. I thought they each added a deeper element to the story. Every time a twist was introduced, the stakes felt higher. I don’t read a lot of thrillers or mysteries, but (for some reason) I am weirdly good at guessing twists in books, and I saw all of them coming. Don’t ask me how, because there weren’t even that many clues, I just had a feeling, and I couldn’t tell you why. So, while I thought they were all really clever, they didn’t have the same effect on me that I wish they’d had.
I feel that I need to include a trigger warning, but the reason is a bit of a spoiler, so if you don’t want to be spoiled at all, skip to the next paragraph. I usually don’t include spoilers in my reviews, but I feel obligated to give a trigger warning for rape. It is a major part of the story, and it is portrayed as an awful, traumatic event (rightly so). But it is slightly graphic (not overly so, but Lelic doesn’t just gloss over it). It did feel uncomfortable to read, but I think it was meant to (as it should). It also raised the stakes of the story and made the outcome more believable. I don’t think it was gratuitous or added for shock value, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re sensitive to such topics.
I actually did enjoy the writing for the most part. I thought it fit the story well, and I didn’t find it distracting, which is a pet peeve of mine, especially in thrillers. It was solid, and it felt like the author was experienced (which he is). I did have one small complaint (minor spoiler): there are some letter included in the book, and I wasn’t a fan of the writing style in those. They felt too much like a narrative and not a letter written by an excitable young person. I just wish they’d felt more authentic, and differed more from the writing style of the rest of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Lelic’s style in general, I just didn’t think it fit that small part of the story particularly well.
Overall, The Liar’s Room was a solid thriller. There was definitely tension and high stakes that left me flipping pages as fast as my eyes would take me. I’d definitely look into Lelic’s other novels next time I’m in the mood for a thrilling read.
★★★☆☆ – What kept this from being a four-star read for me are a few minor issues that might just be specific to me. Like I said, I’m oddly good at guessing twists in books, and while these were great (I’m honestly kind of shocked I saw them coming), seeing them coming did dampen the anticipation for me a bit. I also wish the different narrators had more distinct narrative styles. But, all in all, I did like this book. If you’re into thrillers, I would definitely recommend checking this one out!
The Liar’s Room will be available in bookstores January 15. You can preorder a copy on Amazon now.
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and choose The Liar’s Room as one of your two free books.
This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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