I loved Simon Lelic’s previous novel, The House, and I was thrilled to receive a copy of his new novel, The Liar’s Room, ahead of publication.
ONE ROOM. TWO LIARS. NO WAY OUT…
Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago, she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a counsellor and starting a new life. It was the only way to keep her daughter safe.
But everything changes when Adam Geraghty walks into her office. She’s never met this young man before – so why does she feel like she knows him?
Then Adam starts to tell her about a girl. A girl he wants to hurt.
And Susanna realises she was wrong.
She doesn’t know him.
BUT HE KNOWS HER.
AND THE GIRL HE PLANS TO HURT IS HER DAUGHTER…
The novel opens with Susanna greeting Adam for the first time as he arrives for his initial appointment with her, and from the beginning she feels that there’s something that isn’t quite right about the situation. Nothing she can put her finger on, just a niggling feeling that she can’t shake, although she tries to ignore it and remain professional with her new client. It doesn’t take long for both Susanna and the reader to realise that her instincts were spot on (oh the benefit of hindsight) as Adam quickly reveals his intentions. His motive takes a little longer to become apparent, however, and I thought that this was an excellent set up to allow the story to gradually unfold – it had me hooked from the very beginning.
There are three elements to The Liar’s Room, which alternates between the present-day situation in Susanna’s office, flashbacks to her former life, and the dairy of her daughter, Emily. The reader knows early on (plus it’s in the blurb 😉) that Susanna has run away from something in her former life – something that must have been quite horrific to make her leave everything behind and to reinvent herself under a new identity. I loved the slow reveal of what had gone on before, and this was my favourite part of the novel. Of course, it takes a little while for everything to be revealed, and it was with a sense of impending doom that I rushed through to understand what had happened, and how it was connected to Emily, Adam, and the situation unfolding in Susanna’s office.
Set largely in a single room, The Liar’s Room carries a strong dose of claustrophobia, and I couldn’t help but share Susanna’s discomfort as the meeting with Adam continued, and as it becomes gradually clearer as to why he’s there. It’s obvious that he knows about her past, but why he is interested, and why he has gone to such lengths to arrange a meeting isn’t immediately obvious, and I didn’t make the connection until it was revealed.
The Liar’s Room is a quick and enjoyable read, and one that I recommend to fans of psychological thrillers. Lelic tells a great story, and if I didn’t love this quite as much as I did The House, I think it’s only because his last novel was so absolutely brilliant that it was always going to be a difficult act to follow.
The Liar’s Room is available now as an eBook (£0.99 on Amazon at the time of writing this review!), and will be published in paperback on 9 August. Many thanks to Hannah Ludbrook and the publisher, Penguin, for the early review copy.
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐