Tuesday, December 27, 2022

How I'll hate going out in the storm: NINE LIARS.

Nine Liars (Truly Devious, #5)Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Stevie Bell's senior year at Ellingham Academy could be going better. Everyone else is talking about college applications and the future and Stevie just isn't feeling it... Her boyfriend, David, is abroad studying in London. She has no new case to solve. Excitement returns when David invites Stevie and the crew to join him in England, and, while there, his friend Izzy tells them about a cold case from the mid 1990s. A group of nine friends from Cambridge went to relax at a country house and played a game of hide-and-seek in the rain; in the morning, two were found murdered in the woodshed. Izzy's aunt was one of the survivors, and she's sure things did not happen as claimed (burglary gone wrong). Can Stevie solve the case in the little time she has overseas?

I'll admit this was not my favorite Stevie Bell book, which is painful to admit, because I adore Stevie and her process. This one just felt *slow*--maybe because I had just binged THE BOX IN THE WOODS, which was so good! But, wow, did it take a long time for things to happen in LIARS! The first half of the book is Stevie feeling sorry for herself about college and David (so much opining about David in this one--this is not the Stevie I thought I knew!) and trying to get to London. Then the group has to see a million London sights to satisfy the "study abroad" part of the Ellingham requirement, which is all well and good, but wow, are those tourist sights described in detail. Get on with the murder!

The proper English country house murder mystery, when we get to it, is quite enjoyable, of course. We hear from the players back in the 1990s via flashbacks and then get to meet a variety of the survivors. There's plenty here to keep us guessing, but a lot of tension as Stevie navigates relationships with her friends, too. I am still Team Nate For Life.

Overall, this is a bit slower and more angsty than other Stevie books, but the mystery is solid, and of course, I'll still continue reading about Stevie forever, because I love her. 3.5+ stars.

I received a copy of this book from Katherine Tegen Books and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.

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