The Liar of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Entertaining, fresh ideas, likable characters


I had a good deal of fun with this one.  I went into it with little knowledge, in fact, okay, I confess, I didn’t know what to expect at all, and this could have added to my enjoyment because high expectations can often be a double edged sword, but, to be honest, I liked the characters, I seriously didn’t expect the twists, the ideas and concept felt unique to me and I just blasted through the pages.

In brief, the story takes us to Red Valley, California.  A most unusual place indeed.  The basic rules of Red Valley are:

Don’t trust the Liar.
Do not cross the King.
Never, ever go in the River.

So, we have a liar, no ordinary liar though.  This role carries power and the magic seems to have passed down through generations of females.  The most recent liar has died and her daughter will be expected to pick up the reins – even though she has no knowledge of the role whatsoever.  We have a king, he possibly has secrets (but my lips are sealed).  The King is never seen, this is not a monarch sitting in a castle atop a lofty hill.  This is somebody hidden, not to be crossed who has ‘people’ working for him that you really don’t want to argue with.  The River is actually a thing all unto itself and I’m not giving you any clues.  Anyway, in order for the lies that people purchase to actually work they have to pay ‘the price’, a drop of blood marked in a secret ledger, a ledger that suddenly everyone is keen to have a sneaky peak inside.

As far as in depth world building goes this one would probably be considered a little ‘thin’ and I would agree with that.  This is the type of supernatural world that you frankly have to ‘go with’, you’re going to hit the ground running and to be honest it’s probably best to keep on running because monsters, ghosts and other unidentified variables roam the pages. Red Valley is certainly a unique place.  It’s a modern world and yet the inhabitants are protected by magic.  It’s a world at odds with itself, the more modern residents, and particularly the sheriff, no longer believe in the King and the rules, they’re shaking things up, which seems a particularly bad idea given that on the other side of the River live all sorts of creatures only being kept in check by the King’s magic. Now, how all of this sits within the rest of the natural world I really have no idea.  The story pretty much keeps within these boundaries and we don’t get to explore whether the rest of the world is similarly afflicted.  To be totally fair, I didn’t have a problem at all with this.  Like I mentioned above I enjoyed the story and pretty much got on board immediately.

I think the fact that I liked Sadie really helped with this  She’s a young woman thrown in at the deep end, but she keeps her cool.  She understands so little that I felt frustrated on her behalf but regardless she stands up for herself.

I enjoyed the writing.  The author has come up with a fast paced story that certainly doesn’t lack imagination.  I liked the idea of the way the lies work and it certainly involves some twists.  There’s some decidedly darker elements that are a reflection of our own modern world but these are woven in well.

In terms of criticisms. I don’t have a lot to make mention of.  This has a slight YA feel in some ways although that probably relates more to the slight world building.  I couldn’t help wondering every now and again why the Liar didn’t use her powers to greater effect – that being said, once she did cotton on she really was quite inventive.

Overall I liked this.  It was entertaining and refreshingly unique, punchy, dark, and the ending, whilst completing the tail in a satisfactory way, leaves things decidedly open for more to follow.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating is 4 of 5 stars

4 Responses to “The Liar of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater”

  1. Tammy

    I may have a copy of this, but the cover’s different so I’m not sure. I think it sounds fantastic, your review has convinced me to read it😁

  2. Susy's Cozy World

    I woul have passed this book without a second glance but your review made me change my mind. I am not 100% sure that this would be my cup of tea, but it sounds like is worth a try for sure!

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Once again, your less-than-revealing comments had the effect of making me intensely curious about this book. Which is a very good thing, of course 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. pagesandtea

    I like the sound of this. I think I saw a few reviews a while ago for this and thought it might be good, so thanks for the reminder.

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