Title: Just Another Liar
Author: Mandy Byatt
Published by: Harper Collins/Avon
Publication date: 20th Jan 2022
Genre: Psychological Thriller
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Denise, Petra, and Anna all have their reasons for being alone.
But they’re not ready to share them.
David is the answer to all their problems.
But they’ve only met him online.
Each woman wants her happy ending.
But only one of them can get it.
One of these women will end up dead.
But which one? And will you ever work out who killed them?
I was approved to read an eARC of Just Another Liar by publisher Avon Books via NetGalley, many thanks for the approval for this book and I hope that you find my review satisfactory. As per my reading goals, trying to clear the NG reading list and this book was first up in terms of the upcoming publication date.
Just Another Liar is the debut novel by author Mandy Byatt detailing the intimate lives of three very different women; Denise, Petra, and Anna. Who all approach the dangerous world of internet dating for their own personal reasons – loneliness, struggling marriages, and spurned lovers being the surface of these women’s issues. Issues that drive them into the arms of David Kingfisher, a man they each meet on a dating site. However, things aren’t entirely as they seem with the mysterious, yet devilishly attractive David, and they end up with much more than they bargained for. Denise, a lovely woman caring for her disabled and unwell mother, Anna is a teacher, spurred by her previous lover, and Petra, a vet-nurse trying her best to save her marriage in the arms of another man. Each of the women has their own motivations for seeking out David and, while they may be questionable morally, each is written convincingly.
The main characters in Just Another Liar are deeply explored and rich in their crafting. Each of the women involved has their own voices and personalities; their motivations and reasons for approaching online dating are well-crafted and believable, even if some of the actions they as the story progresses take are not, but desperation and loneliness are terrible motivators and that is firmly where these women find themselves emotionally. The characters are individually engaging, their personalities shine brightest when they meet up with one another and go about trying to figure out the mystery of the man they are in love with. Their clashes with one another help to set them apart further and give meaning to a vast cast. There are aspects of each of them to enjoy, dislike, and get frustrated with and as a reader having these emotions brought out via a character is pure magic.
As well as the main characters, there’s a handful of side characters that bring another level to the mystery of David. Adding different layers of threat to the main three as well as keeping the mystery going through masterfully written deflection. At the end of each chapter a new thought arrived in respect to who would be the face behind the big reveal at the end of the novel, and not once did I have the correct answer! As much with the main characters, the side ones are well-written, most of them are deeply flawed, which leads them to deep-suspicions when the crux of the story takes over.
The writing style of Just Another Liar is light and easy to follow, allowing the narrative and characters to shine. Just Another Liar is certainly a book that keeps the reader guessing and the levels of complexity rise enough to keep the reader engaged without dipping too far into confusing waters. I found the pages turned easily and quickly; the more I read the more I wanted to find out the truth as much as the lead characters. The narrative is presented through multiple points of view, which keeps the story fresh and the pacing solid. It’s an attractively written story that spends equal times with each of the main characters and their respective attached side characters; keeping the reader guessing as to the flow of the story progresses.
Although I found some of the actions of the women incredulous; do people really lend £10,000’s to people that they’ve never met? It did bring forth the emotional abuse that nefarious people online prey upon – loneliness and desperation for affection. As people, we naturally assume that the people we meet are good people. We fall in love easily and this is shown in the woman within Just Another Liar, the actions they take to please someone that has shown them a shred of decent behavior. The desperation to get away from the terrible situations of everyday life they find themselves in and how they change in their attitudes as the pages pass, all feeds into the emotions that David Kingfisher brings out in them, thus they’d do anything for the man that saved them. So, while had mixed thoughts on elements of the story, and some of the actions taken by the lead woman, it does bring up some decent discussion points in application to real-world issues also.
Just Another Liar is released on 20th March 2022 and is a highly-engaging psychological thriller that involves catfishing, love, and betrayal. With engaging, believable main characters and a sinister story that keeps the reader guessing right until the very end. Mandy Byatt is a very promising new author that I am looking forward to reading more works of; when they are written.
3 responses to “Just Another Liar – Mandy Byatt (ARC Review)”
I’ve always wondered, are stories like this even remotely possible in real life? Then I think that they probably are, sigh….
I think there are people that are in such a bad place that they’d fall for anything for a slither of happiness. And there’s always going to be scum bags that will prey upon them.
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