Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Liar's House

The Liar's House by Carla Kovach
Bookouture: 7/2/19
eBook review copy; 328 pages
ISBN-13: 9781786818812
Detective Gina Harte #4 

The Liar's House by Carla Kovach is a highly recommended police procedural and the fourth book in the British Detective Gina Harte series.

In a small Midlands town there is a killer on the loose. Samantha is making her way home from a party at a private club, when she is murdered. A body is never found, so her disappearance is labeled as a missing person. Jumping ahead seven years, another woman, Jade Ashmore, is murdered on her way home from a party. As the detectives investigate the new crime, an older woman who was a friend of Samantha's receives a birthday card for Sam with a fingernail inside. When police analyze the nail, they discover that it belongs to Jade, not Samantha, and they realize that the cases are linked.

At the same time Detective Gina Harte is at loose ends. She still misses having a close relationship to Briggs, her boss, so she is trying Tinder dating. She is basically just using it to hook up with men rather than actually seeking a relationship. Her latest date, Rex, seems way too intent on continuing the relationship.

Based on my experience, you can read this as a standalone and get the background information without reading the previous books in the series, although those who have read the whole series are suggesting starting with the first book. From the back ground information it appears that Gina has a rather detrimental acquaintance with unstable, perverse men and unhealthy relationships. Abuse and violence against women is a theme in this novel, as is women making bad choices. This all creates a bit of a quandary for me.  I didn't care for Gina as a character based on her personal choices, which made the narrative feel a little more tedious. Once a victim does not mean always a victim.

The plot is a well-written procedural and Kovach provides plenty of suspects to consider as the investigation deepens. The pace is even. I didn't experience any twists or surprises here, but is it a solid procedural. I guessed the identity of the killer right away. The connection to a partner-swapping group just made a gray novel feel even darker. It's not that it is a bad novel, it's just a rather bleak, depressing one. 3.5 rounded up.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.

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