The Liar Next Door by Nicola Marsh

‘I don’t make friends easily. I never have.’

Picture this: a close-knit neighbourhood, with thirty houses surrounding a garden square. Welcome to Vintage Circle in Hambridge Heights, Brooklyn. A perfect space for children and for neighbourhood gatherings, such as a baby shower. This story is centred around three women: Frankie; Celeste and Saylor, and their stories unfold in alternate chapters. Frankie and Saylor are married, Celeste has left her partner. Saylor is pregnant (it is her baby shower that draws the three women together); Frankie and Andre have a five-year-old daughter, Luna; and Celeste has five-year-old Violette. Each of the adults has secrets from those closest to them, and some of those secrets will prove dangerous.

‘So many secrets in this little neighbourhood of ours. So many lies.’

Fasten your seatbelt and prepare for a fast-paced story with several improbable twists. Ms Marsh has peopled her novel with (to me at least) thoroughly unlikeable characters for whom blackmail, deception, and resentment are primary motivators. Such lovely people! While there is certainly suspense and there are some elements of surprise, I found I did not care enough about most of the characters to care about how it would end. And yet I could not stop reading because I wanted to know. If you enjoy the drama of soap opera, then you may well enjoy this novel.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith