Liar of Red Valley
by Walter Goodwater
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Pub Date 19 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 12 Jul 2022
The highly-anticipated paperback release of our lead title for Fall 2021 - a fresh, rich, American Gothic "yarn" with a highly relatable female lead.
Don’t trust the Liar.
Do not cross the King.
Never, ever go in the River.
In Red Valley, California, you follow the rules if you want to stay alive. But they won’t be enough to protect Sadie now that she’s become the Liar, the keeper of the town’s many secrets. Friendships are hard-won here, and it isn’t safe to make enemies.
And though the Liar has power — power to remake the world, with just a little blood—what Sadie really needs is answers: Why is the town’s sheriff after her? What does the King want from her? And what is the real purpose of the Liar of Red Valley?
"This is one of my favorite books of the year." -- Christina Henry
"The Liar of Red Valley has everything — a little town hiding secrets, an exciting story and creepy creatures galore." -- Lavie Tidhar, The Washington Post
"Goodwater is one of [the genre's] finest modern exponents" -- Simon Ings, The Times
"A ferocious page-turner that elicits genuine chills" -- SFX Magazine
"A book you won’t be able to put down until you’ve devoured every word." -- SciFiNow
"You will never enjoy being lied to this much." -- John Hornor Jacobs
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 19 members
Thank you Rebellion and NetGalley for sending me ARC in exchange for an honest review :)
This is one of my new favorite books and i'm so happy i've read something interesting and worth my time. The story is set in Red Valley which is protected by the King, outside of it creatures and other <i>things </i>lurk . Liars have well- established business by telling lies in exchange for money. We follow Sadie after her moms death and her struggles as she accommodates to being a new Liar and keeper of secrets. Things go downhill from there and i mean that in a very best possible way. Lots of action, demonic boys, ancient creatures, claws and most importantly <b>magic</b> . There was not a single boring chapter and this is just the type of those books that leave you content and refreshed after reading them. It's like a candy but for your brain.
The liar of Red Valley
[Blurb goes here]
There's a town in California, it's called Red Valley. A town where normality meets the improbable. I think it hard to pull a reader down the rabbit hole, to make him believe the plausibility of the supernatural. It's all on the writer. Goodwater paints a powerful and believable picture, one of magic, mystery and horror. After the first few pages, you're in. I won't go into detail, since I hate spoilers. My advice? Don't pass the opportunity to dive into this adventure. It is a great read.
Thank you for the free copy!
THE LIAR OF RED VALLEY-- by Walter Goodwater
When I was 48% through this story, I got that dreadful feeling where you realize your book has a finite end, and is not part of a series. (Yet? Mr. Goodwater, for the love of Liars and a cacophony of gods, let there be more works in this universe.)
This is my favourite kind of magical realism: we start with a solidly recognizable world with just a little divergence to learn about, adding details and complexities as you read on. No exposition just for the sake of teaching the readers about the world, instead we're figuring much of it out alongside Sadie.
In a small town in rural California, Sadie loses her mom and gains a complicated new life of unwished-for secrets and Lies. Magic, monsters, gods and a power struggle that threatens the very existence of Red Valley.
I was very much entranced by this book. Sadie is just the perfect mix of vulnerability and drive. The world building is incredibly easy to follow, but unique and addictive.
- It looked mostly human, though its skin was gray like a corpse and its eyes black and open like a grave.
- Things moving in the dark water, older than time, harder than death. Eyes watching her, eyes all around her, eyes that could see through her, eyes that could consume her.
WOW, I read this book in two sittings! The tension had me clutching my kindle with white knuckles for the last 1/3 of the story, and staying up well past my bedtime to reach the final page. Very rarely do I stumble across a novel I consider perfectly paced with no murky middle. Written in 3rd person, past tense, single POV (my fave) with crisp prose, this is definitely a book I would recommend to friends who like monsters and mythology.
What I loved: all of it? More specifically, the monsters, the magic system built on lies, the magic wielding characters who weren’t monsters (Sadie and Beto) and the lovely twist I didn’t see coming.
What I hated: that the book wasn’t longer. Yes, it’s 368 pages, but it feels much shorter because of the stellar writing and tension.
If you like monsters and things that go bump in the night, flawed yet fearless female MC’s and strange magic, then you will love this book!
I received a free e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Stars: 5 out of 5
I absolutely loved this book, y'all! This gave me the same vibes as American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett, only with a much more reliable protagonist.
Sadie's mother was the Liar of Red Valley. A position that gave her a certain power with its inhabitants. They didn't like her, they certainly didn't trust her, but they still came to her and paid for her to tell lies on their behalf. But now she is dead, and Sadie needs to figure out how to become the next Liar. She also needs to find her mom's ledger, keep all the other ledgers safe, oh, and save Red Valley from total destruction. No worries.
As I said, this book is what is often referred to as American weird. The world is very much like our own, but certain things lurk in the shadows that are not human. The people of Red Valley know about them, and they also know the rules that let everybody coexist more or less peacefully. Newcomers though... well, either they learn, or they don't. The things in the shadows have to be fed from time to time too, after all.
I liked the atmosphere of Red Valley. This could be any run-down town in the American heartland. I drove through a lot of those. Closed and boarded up businesses on Main street, a couple cafes and diners barely surviving on local and sometimes tourist traffic, a few jobs supporting the local Walmart, drugs, alcohol, despair for the rest of the residents. The fact that there are some supernatural elements to this setup isn't all that far-fetched. After all, what do we know about those other crumbling town all over our nation? All we see when we drive through are boarded up windows. There might be their own kinds of weird residents staring at us from within.
Most of my enjoyment with this book came from following Sadie. She is a great protagonist right from the start. She is relatable. She is very human, even when faced with hard situations. I loved her and rooted for her from the get go. And I loved her even more once I discovered a few things about her that I won't talk about because I don't want to spoil it.
The book is also well-written. There is plenty of tension and the story moves at a good pace. It's not so fast that the reader doesn't have time to get to know the characters or take a breather between action scenes. It is also not so slow that the reader would get bored. All the information about Red Valley is introduced in measured dozes and exactly when needed, without resorting to the dreaded info-dumps.
All in all, this is one my favorite books I read in 2022 so far and I highly recommend it.
PS: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this book. It's horror with a fairly light touch. I liked Sadie, and the things that puzzled me about her made a lot of sense in the end. I found this story unique, but that might be because I avoid horror. I generally am intrigued by conflict that is more nuanced, with characters that are motivated by something more relatable than pure evil. The story is well told here though, and well written, and though it's about a very young woman she is shown from a mature perspective. It's a stand-alone novel with a very satisfying ending.
I loved this book. It seamlessly combines traditional horror, amazing fantasy elements, and some folk horror in such a way that it the reader doesn't even realise it. It's a master class in how to combine genres in a book.
The concept of the Liar is wholly unique and gives us the underlying string that ties the rest of the narrative together in one frightening package.
I immediately loved the main protagonist, Sadie. She's tough as nails and take no prisoners but she's also scared, desperate, and lonely as she tries to figure out what she's supposed to do as the new Liar of Red Valley.
During her search she has to deal with the King (a supernatural being who is feared and revered in Red Valley), an Undersheriff who is hell bent on taking down the King, and other half human half demonic creatures that seek her blood.
All of these elements will come together for a thrilling, horrifying, and bloody finale that leaves the reader as breathless and spent as the characters.
Liar of the Red Valley is a frightening, unique, and totally immersive horror book that you'll remember for a long time to come.
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