Review: ‘The Liar’s House’ by Carla Kovach ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

IMG_20190607_110009_285.jpgSamantha stumbled out of the party and out onto a busy street only ten minutes away from her home. But she never made it home.

Seven years after Samantha’s disappearance, on what would have been her thirty-fifth birthday, her best friend Diane is shocked to find a letter addressed to Samantha on her doorstep.

Opening the envelope, Diane pulls out a birthday card and a finger nail painted in dusky pink nail polish. The same shade Samantha always wore. The same shade she was wearing the night she went missing.

When police analyse the nail they don’t get the result they expected. Instead of linking them to Samantha, the nail belongs to another woman, Jade Ashmore. And Jade was murdered the night before the envelope was delivered…

***TRIGGER WARNING*** Domestic Abuse

Thank you to NetGalley, Bookoture and Carla Kovach for the chance to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.

DI Gina Harte and her team are back for the fourth book in this fantastic series and the ominous tone is set from the start.

Samantha Felton is being watched by a man taking pictures at the local social club. She knows he’s watching and is enjoying putting on a show with another man on the dance floor. What she doesn’t know is that the man behind the camera thinks she needs to be taught the error of her ways and is taken by surprise as he attacks her as she leaves the club.

Seven years later Jade Ashmore is making the short walk home after a party when she’s suddenly aware of footsteps behind her. She hopes the person will pass but instead she’s attacked and knocked unconscious. Her attacker is disturbed by a late night dog walker but it’s too late for Jade.

Diane still misses her best friend Samantha and thinks of her often. What happened to her seven years ago? On Samantha’s birthday she finds a card addressed to her friend hand delivered to her house. Inside is a sinister greeting in cut out letters and a finger nail painted in the same shade Samantha always wore. She calls the police and DI Gina Harte attends the call. When the nail is analysed they’re all shocked to discover it belonged to Jade, not Samantha. Could the two cases be linked? Why is someone reminding them about Samantha after so long? And why did they attack Jade?

The two cases become linked when Jade’s finger nail is found in a birthday card addressed to Samantha that was delivered to her best friend, Diane, the same day Jade was killed. But why now after seven years? There are multiple suspects and very few clues in this gripping thriller.

Carla Kovach has done it again. She’s written another riveting installment in what is one of my favourite police book series. As Gina and her team search for the man responsible for Jade’s murder, and possibly Samantha’s disappearance, there seemed to be two or three suspects that emerged. Despite this the team are mostly working with hunches and circumstantial evidence as real clues to the culprit evade them.

At the same time Gina’s personal life is causing problems when a man she recently went on a date with refuses to take no for an answer, won’t stop messaging and keeps turning up unannounced. To add to her problems she finds her past and present are entangled in her latest case and threatening the reputation she’s spent years building.

Themes of domestic abuse and stalking are handled with raw honesty throughout the book. We see the way these men control their partners through fear, using it to coerce them into doing things they don’t want to just to please them. The reader is again shown the long-lasting psychological damage of abuse through Gina’s character, and how even decades after freeing yourself of the relationship you can still be haunted by it. The author is skilled at writing domestic abuse, in all its forms, in a way that helps the reader understand these women, why they stay, why they take desperate courses of action and do the various things we see them do to protect their abusers.

The Liar’s House is what we’ve come to expect and love from this series: complex characters, brutal, gruesome murder scenes and great writing. This novel was particularly skillfully written and ingeniously plotted. I can’t wait for book five!

Publication Date: 2nd July

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