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Friday, January 18, 2019

Dark, Disturbing Psychological Thriller Impossible to Put Down

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After the traumatic events that shattered her life fourteen years ago, Susanna Fenton took her baby daughter and ran—away from her husband, away from the media, away from her neighbors' judging eyes and wagging tongues.  Changing her name, her city, and her occupation, she's desperate to remain anonymous.  After 14 years, it appears she's been successful.  Until a young man walks into her counseling office and starts asking unsettling questions about Susanna's past.  Who is Adam Geraghty?  What does he want?  And, most important of all, what has he done to her teenage daughter?

The Liar's Room by Simon Lelic has a simple, yet chilling premise.  Its format—basically an intense therapy session that takes place over five hours—is also minimalistic.  However, these elements, combined with a small cast of complex characters and the slow unraveling of their shocking secrets, make for a tense, unputdownable psychological thriller.  I read this one in a day because I could not stop reading.  The novel is that intense.  While the story completely engrossed me, I didn't end up loving it.  It's definitely mesmerizing, but The Liar's Room is also a sad, depressing story that's as disturbing as it is memorable.  Overall, then, I liked it but didn't love it.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I'm not sure to what to compare The Liar's Room.  Any ideas?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence, depictions of illegal drug use, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The Liar's Room from the generous folks at Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!


  1. Ah, this one sounds interesting. I think I might have another book on my Kindle by this author. Something about neighbors? Haven't read it yet. I'll keep this one in mind.

    1. Yes, he does have one called THE NEW NEIGHBORS. I haven't read anything else by Simon Lelic. You'll have to let me know if that one is any good.

  2. What a clever way to reveal a thriller: through a long therapy session. It would feel so creepy to have someone sit and tell you the scary stuff; you'd have to stay to find out but you wouldn't want to know.

  3. Sounds like this one would make a great stage play.

    1. Oooh, you're right! I had not thought of that, but it would make a great stage play especially in an intimate theater setting.

  4. I have this one and really glad to hear it's a great thriller. Always love to discover a new author.

    1. It's dark and disturbing, but also very engrossing and interesting. I liked it.

  5. How intriguing that it takes place over five hours. I love that! I think I need to read this one for sure.


    1. It does have flashbacks to flesh out the story, but most of the action takes place over those five hours. A very intense five hours :)

  6. Even though you didn't love it, this sounds intriguing. I love psychological thrillers, especially ones that hook you enough to read in one sitting!

    - Brooke

  7. The format sounds really interesting! Sorry that you didn't love it more even though you it couldn't put it down.


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