The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review!

So … I am majorly behind when it comes to my ARC list and I have been a bit too overwhelmed by it to really catch up. But all of that ends with this book! This has been the first ARC I have read in a while and hopefully, it will signal the first step in my goal to improve my Netgalley approval rating (because it is super low right now)! But enough about that, let’s get on with the review:

35620124Summary (Goodreads): When an explosion rips apart a Chicago building, the lives of three women are forever altered.

A year later, Cecily is in mourning. She was supposed to be in the building that day. Instead, she stood on the street and witnessed it going down, with her husband and best friend inside. Kate, now living thousands of miles away, fled the disaster and is hoping that her past won’t catch up with her. And Franny, a young woman in search of her birth mother, watched the horror unfold on the morning news, knowing that the woman she was so desperate to reconnect with was in the building.

Now, despite the marks left by the tragedy, they all seem safe. But as its anniversary dominates the media, the memories of that terrifying morning become dangerous triggers. All these women are guarding important secrets. Just how far will they go to keep them?


Review: As much as I wanted to love this book, sadly, I just didn’t. And I think a lot of it has to do with the approach the author took for writing this story.

Let me tell you some of the things I liked about this story first:

I really like that the story featured 3 very different female characters. Usually, I find that most authors create very similar main characters, but with this book, Cecily, Kate, and Franny all had their own distinct voice and mannerisms. I also liked that the story was told from their perspectives: Cecily and Kate had their own chapters, whereas Franny’s POV was presented in an interview format; I really liked the inclusion of this latter style because it created a nice break from the conventional writing format and kept me interested.

But now, it’s time to talk about why this novel ultimately didn’t work for me …

Initially, this book was presented as a thriller. Now, I love thrillers, and read a TON of them (as you can probably tell from my reviews)! But with this novel, there was a huge element of the story that focused on the emotional side of things, and there was a big focus on depression. I like that the author attempted to highlight the emotional toll that losing a partner can take, and how guilt carries on and prevents people from moving on. But for some reason, it just didn’t work for me. Even though there was all of this emotional character development, I still felt very detached from the characters; it almost felt like I was being told what the character was feeling and why they were feeling rather than shown, and I would have preferred the latter because it would have allowed me to empathize and connect better with them.

I also don’t think this story really should be classified as a thriller because it just wasn’t that thrilling. The twists weren’t that big and the whole emotional aspect of the story detracted from any feelings of … well … suspense. Whenever there was a potentially thrilling occurrence, it was either dropped too quickly or not followed up on and I found that quite disappointing. The few twists and turns that were there also just made me frustrated because they weren’t really shocking reveals as much as just going back and forth about the same thing. My train of thought the entire time was just “Ok, here’s something suspicious that someone said, but oh nope turns out it’s wrong, and then wait nope we are back to that again and apparently we were right the first time” and that gets old reeeeaaaal quick. To me, that isn’t a thriller, it’s just a heap of confusion masquerading as a thriller and it makes me really frustrated.

I know it seems like I really hated this book. While there were things that were wrong with it, I still ended up finishing it and wanting to know how the story ended – so that must mean there was some level of success in the author’s ability to pique my interest. Either way, this wasn’t the best thriller I have ever read … but I’ve read a lot worse. I think that the premise was interesting and the writing style was good, but if this novel had been branded differently and not as a thriller, I would have had different expectations from it and probably enjoyed it more. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

2 star

Happy reading ~


3 thoughts on “The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie

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