Liar City by Allie Therin
February 28, 2023
Review by Kate H.
Do you ever read a book with a certain expectation based on the way it is marketed, only to be disappointed, and yet … still love the book anyway? That is what happened to me with Liar City by Allie Therin. Liar City is the first novel in her latest paranormal series and is set firmly in contemporary times. What expectations did I have? Romance, of course. I waited and waited and then the last page of the novel hit me in the face like the back of a door. Don’t get me wrong – the DNA of a romance is there, but I was anticipating it in the first book.
Liar City begins in a world where empaths exist, but are feared, persecuted, and controlled. Reece is an empath whose sister, Jamey, is a detective on the police force. She has used his abilities for cases before, but never for murder. Being a pacifist like all empaths, even thinking about murder is difficult for Reece, and his sister protects him from such crimes. So at the beginning of the book, it is not Jamey but a mysterious stranger who calls Reece to a murder scene. But when he tells her who called him, the stranger’s name, Alan Grayson, strikes fear in his otherwise fearless sister. Grayson is the Dead Man, an agent of the government who seems to work with no restrictions and deals exclusively in cases involving empathy.
Reece is prickly, impulsive, and a bit annoying, especially in his dogmatism about driving safely (which becomes an amusing running joke). As he says himself, “Pacifist and polite aren’t actually synonyms.” He navigates a world in which he is always under suspicion for getting in people’s heads and must wear gloves to limit his powers. Dead Man almost immediately attaches Reece to his investigation of the murders. Whether he wants to keep his eye on Reece, protect him, or use him, we are not really sure. But it does mean that we get scene after scene of verbal sparring as they get to know each other. We do learn a bit about Dead Man, but he is much more mysterious than Reece. He has speed, strength, and equanimity that appear almost supernatural, but there is no evidence in book one that he is anything more than human.
One of the impressive aspects of this book is the creepy political landscape that surrounds empaths. They are not common: only two live in Seattle, for example. But that doesn’t stop politicians, journalists, researchers, and capitalists from taking advantage of the controversies related to empaths. The investigation of the murders unfolds this complex world right before our eyes.
I am definitely looking forward to reading this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kate H.
FYI: I see the name Alexis Hall in the tags, but the author is Allie Therin.
Kate H. says
Thank you so much for the tag correction!