Cover Image: The  Liar of Red Valley

The Liar of Red Valley

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"Don’t trust the Liar.
Don’t go in the River.
Do not cross the King."
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑳𝒊𝒂𝒓 𝒐𝒇 𝑹𝒆𝒅 𝑽𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒚 is a rollercoaster ride of magical realism, horror, and fantasy. It's gripping, unique, and twisty!

𝑾𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝑰 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆:
- the world is richly imagined and peculiar. It's set in a creepy town in California where its residents are either human or nonhuman with a terrifying river, menacing King's men, and monsters outside Red Valley yet remain grounded in the real world
- diverse characters and LGBT rep
- well-developed and interesting characters. Sadie, the MC is a strong and independent person. The Laughing Boys are def creepy
- Intriguing magic system. The Liar of Red Valley can take people's lies and weave them into a new world but at a cost, there are also drugs that allow laughing demons to consume the minds of addicts and time travel
- the author's writing style is easy to follow and he has woven magic and realism seamlessly.
- deals with police brutality, homophobia, and racism
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Sadie had no idea what the death of her mother would do for her life aside from causing her grief and pain. Having the torch be passed to you when you know nothing of its nature is more than overwhelming, and proves to life-threatening for Sadie. But Sadie is no weakling. She stands up to all forces against her to carry on her families legacy. This was such a great read and had me in the edge of my seat.
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I want to start off by saying my 3 star rating is because of my own personal preference of things being dark and disturbing and not so fantasy-esque. There were some darker bits in this book but it was mostly magic and mysterious monsters. I'm not a normal fantasy reader so I can't really compare it to others in the genre. It was categorized as a horror and scifi/fantasy but I personally found the horror pretty mild. 

Sadie suddenly becomes the Liar of the Red Valley and she is immediately thrown into chaos. She is trying to figure out what it all means as she learns of the power that being the Liar carries and the secrets she must keep as a result. 

This book moved at a pretty quick pace and there were a lot of edge-of-your-seat moments in it. I enjoyed watching Sadie's character grow and become self-confident, and I loved how clever she was. 

My biggest gripe about this book was the ending. There was this great buildup and then it was just over. I would have liked to see more back story on the King and his enemies as well. 

Overall this was a solid read! As a person who never reads fantasy I think this was a good one to start with in that genre. I really think fantasy readers will appreciate this one though. 

Thank you to #netgalley and #rebellionpublishing for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!
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This is a tale about family's obligations in a town where the paranormal is a part of the everyday life. When Sadie's mother, the Liar of Red Valley, dies she has to become the Liar herself. They are a trader of wishes, and a subordinate to the King. 
I loved the mythology, specially how we discovered some of the rules at the same time as Sadie did. She was an interesting character to follow, but I wish she was a tad more layered. The mystery itself was compelling just as much as it was chilling. Overall, a very good horror story!
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Okay this is a perfect book for spooky season, the vibes are immaculate. 

This was such a well thought out idea and was executed perfectly. I thoroughly enjoyed Walters writing, I really felt like I got to know the characters well despite it being shorter than I expected. I loved the concept, I was nervous it wouldn’t play out how I’d expect but I ended up being so impressed. There was a little bit of gore thrown in there which was awesome, and all the descriptions had me in awe of Walter’s talent. This is the kind of book that is too good to be turned into a movie honestly. I was kept on my toes and didn’t at all predict the twists, it was so fun. I only felt the story lacked a little more depth, but I also think it could have been a bit longer (though perhaps a sequel or spin off could be fun?). Not an all time favourite but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this one at all. 

Thanks heaps to NetGalley and Rebellion for an eARC of this fantastic thriller fantasy.
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The Liar of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater is Rebellion Publishing’s leading title for September, marking it the perfect addition to your fall lineup.  Goodwater delivers on all ends by blending together the American Gothic, horror, and fantasy genres. Red Valley is brimming with supernatural creatures and closely guarded secrets that are best left untold.

The story takes place in the mysteriously small town of Red Valley, which has been ruled by the King and the Liar for nearly 200 years.  The story is mostly told from the POV of Sadie, Red Valley’s newest Liar who is now able to take people’s lies and remake them into truth, for a price of course.  Goodwater has harnessed this plot and unleashed it through multiple genres, and brilliantly I might add. I loved the various flavors that came together to make it its own. I am by no means a horror reader but the horror didn’t feel too heavy.

From the novelty of the Liar to the chilling presence of characters such as the Laughing Boys, Goodwater succeeded in developing an assortment of horrors and monsters that reminded me of an ingenuity the likes of Neil Gaimain. I found Sadie to be a very relatable female lead and thought her decision making and choices were on brand for her character. The secondary characters were diverse and tightly connected to Sadie’s character arc yet were given the space to become fairly developed themselves. 

Some of my favorite character journeys are those following the aftermath of life changing events.  Sadie’s journey was one of identity and legacy. It was a wise decision to have Sadie suddenly placed into her new role because it added to the mystery of the Liar. The reader learns as much or as little as Sadie does, and I think that helped set the tone. There is some content that the reader should be aware of beforehand including police brutality, hate crime, racism, and homophobia.

The development of Red Valley is where Goodwater shined.  Red Valley felt like its own little isolated pocket of life grounded inside a much larger, realistic setting where supernatural elements are considered normal and part of everyday life for the people of Red Valley. Their best chance at staying alive is by following three vital rules that ideally serve to protect from the supernatural otherthings living outside the protection of Red Valley. 

We do not learn much of what’s beyond Red Valley. This is what added to the strangeness and absolutely worked in favor of the plot.  I loved wondering what was on the periphery and how life outside of Red Valley worked.  The characters are closely tied to Red Valley, and Red Valley is tied closely to the characters. The plot is guided by supernatural elements between the characters and the land which helped the reader explore the smaller details within the social and cultural network of Red Valley.

The magical, supernatural elements were fantastically balanced between some darker influences with lighter, benevolent magic.  Eldritch beings were plentiful and took on a life of their own in an otherworldly manner.  The way these beings were all initially introduced and came together worked in its favor.  I think my only (minor) complaint was that a few things weren’t as satisfyingly concluded as I anticipated considering the buildup, if that makes sense.  The pacing felt a bit rushed near the end as everything was coming together.  I wanted to spend more time fleshing out some conversations and scenes.

Overall, I enjoyed The Liar of Red Valley and its blending of genres.  Special thanks to NetGalley and Rebellion/ Solaris for sharing this digital reviewer copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.  You can grab your copy on September 28th, 2021.
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I really enjoyed this book! The premise was very unique and not like anything I had ever read before. There was also a twist that I 100% did not see coming. Ultimately the setting and fast-paced plot kept my eyes glued to the page. 
My only complaint is I wanted to know *more* about this world. It takes place in a magical town but I wanted to know if just this town was magical, or were other towns in this world magical as well? I also just wanted to explore this town and the creatures even more! 
If you’re looking for a book with a spooky setting that isn’t scary for fall, I would definitely add this one to your radar.
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I received a digital advance reader copy of The Liar of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater from NetGalley. The Liar of Red Valley is scheduled for release on September 28, 2021.

Sadie has always known her mother was a liar. Her mother’s gift from the Red Valley allows her to change the story of anyone who is willing to pay the price. What Sadie did not expect was for her mother to lie to her. 

Sadie discovers her mother’s lie soon after her mother dies, passing the title of Liar to Sadie herself. Sadie does not know how the lies work, how to keep herself safe from those who want the secrets held by the Liar, or how to save the Valley she calls home. 

As a character, Sadie is the perfect guide to the secrets held in the Valley. Being with her while she uncovers layers of lies and secrets was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Like Sadie, I was frequently surprised by what she learned as the plot moved forward.

In terms of plot, this novel is difficult to discuss without giving spoilers. Throughout the story there were twists and turns that caught me off guard, yet managed to make perfect sense within the world of the story. The only small issue I had with the plot itself was the questions I was left with at the end of the novel. While many of the questions of the novel were resolved, there were enough left open that I noticed the gaps, yet maybe not enough to want a sequel novel.

As a place, the Red Valley is the right amount of disturbing. Many elements here were familiar pieces of our real world, with a layer of the magic of the Valley over it. As with the plot, there were some questions about the Valley that remained open at the end of the novel, but as pieces of the world, I was willing to accept them as the way the world worked.

Overall, I very much enjoyed the twisty world and story Goodwater created in The Liar of Red Valley. I recommend this to anyone willing to jump into a world that is a bit unlike ours and explore its secrets with Sadie.
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4 / 5 ✪

Don’t Trust the Liar.

Don’t go in the River.

Don’t cross the King.

Red Valley, California isn’t like other towns. Sure, there are schools and grocery stores and restaurants. There are parks and businesses and bridges. There are forests and families and livelihoods. But there are also some things in Red Valley that aren’t in the rest of the world.

There are things that aren’t human, but aren’t exactly inhuman either. There are things that go bump in the night, but have been convinced not to do so here. Are are beings as old as time, and some things even older. There are rules that you don’t break, not if you want to live. And there’s power, power to rule the world—or remake it.

Sadie is just another small town girl. Born into Red Valley, she’s now well on the way to dying in it. A waitress at a local diner, Sadie’s life isn’t exciting or notable in the least. Except that she’s the only daughter of the Liar—and the Liar has power.

Not power like the King, but not insignificant either. When her mother dies, Sadie is forced to confront this power directly. For she is now the new Liar, and her mother’s power is now her own. But what is it, and how does it work? While her mother never explained the power to her, Sadie knows the basics. Someone comes to the Liar. They have money, and something about the world they want changed. They tell the Liar what they want changed, and supply the Liar with an offering of blood to do it. An offering that often enacts another price entirely. Ofttimes it’s something petty, something superficial. The more inconsequential, the cheaper it is for them. But something is missing from this, something that Sadie needs to know. Just where does the power come from, and how does she harness it?

Something she’ll have to find out quickly, for it’s not long before people come a’calling. The sheriff wants to use her new power, while the town junkie wants something else. And when the King calls on her, Sadie knows it can only get worse. But what is the real purpose of the Liar, and is it a fate Sadie even wants to share?

While I’ve most often seen this classed as ‘horror’, I didn’t find the Liar of Red Valley terribly “horrifying”. It was an interesting—and entertaining—fantasy debut, one that makes you think about the origins of power, authority, and the things that go bump in the night. The main thing I latched onto out of the official blurb was the “inhuman” aspect. Now there’s just enough of this in the book to make you think—but no more. I really would’ve liked to explore more of the things that bump in the night, not a mere one or two that show up in the text. 

It is an entertaining read, fortunately. Entertaining with quite a few plot twists. Including one in particular that’s head and shoulders above the rest. It’s a doozy of a twist, one that both makes you think and makes you buy into the story like never before. Not that the story was a drag before that. This was never a difficult one to read. With a lively plot, a relatable lead, a decent supporting cast, a number of mysteries to solve, and an intriguing setting—the Liar of Red Valley had so much to love, and more.

Sadie’s mother is central to the plot, but we spend the entire book trying to learn more about her. She was a power in Red Valley, one that might have even rivaled the King itself. But what was her power? How did she control it? And what was the great Lie she told that everyone wants to get a hold of? It’s really a book of mysteries, not horrors. And the answers to those mysteries and more are just inside!
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This book knew what it wanted to do and it did it well. So well. Literally I think it just took me out of a reading slump it's so good. The story was riveting, I have never read anything like it and I loved it so much. It's so fast paced, it grabs your hand and just starts running full speed into plot and character-development. I would kill to read more from this world because I'm obsessed with it.
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*Copy provided by netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

The Liar of Red Valley is one of the most refreshing dark fantasy tales I have read in a long time. Mixing dark tales and monsters with magic and the secrets and fights of a small town, completed with well done plot twists and a main character that deserves praise for not being a cliché, Walter Goodwater built an incredible twisted tale of the lies that break us… and the ones that put us together.

A fast paced novel filled with thrills and emotions, and some of the darkest creatures I ever had the pleasure to meet, with a great heroine and the amazing people that you can find in all the small towns you know; a story of loss and gain, adventure and pain, friends and enemies, and the spaces in between.

Highly recommend and cannot wait to pick up more stories from this author.
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WOW - what a creative read! I went into this story blind, apparently having determined that "Do not trust the liar. Do not go in the river. Do not cross the King" was enough of a synopsis to request this book. And it was - I tore through this book in 24 hours. So many good twists and turns.

How do you disprove a lie, once they've taken on a life of their own? Who has the power? Red Valley is a sad town, filled with creepy shadows in the dark. Sadie's mom is the Liar of Red Valley, but she dies without every explainign to Sadie how it works, which is a problem, because now Sadie is the liar. Sadie needs to find the ledgers, figure out how the Liar's power works, and worry about evil on all sides and the destruction of the only town she's ever known.

That's all I'm going to say, because I don't want to give anything away.

"Don’t trust the Liar.

Don’t go in the River.

Do not cross the King.

In Red Valley, California, you follow the rules if you want to stay alive. But even that isn’t enough to protect Sadie now that she’s unexpectedly become the Liar: the keeper and maker of Red Valley’s many secrets.

In a town like this, friendships are hard-won and bad blood lasts generations, and when not everyone in town is exactly human, it isn’t a safe place 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?"

Thanks to NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on NetGalley. Thanks to Solaris/Rebellion Publishing for providing an ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.


The first thing I look for in my books is, go figure, an "offbeat" element - so I supposed that, with a story where the heroine can "remake the world, with just a little blood", I couldn't go wrong. But TLORV turned out to be even more peculiar - and decidedly more surprising - than I anticipated. I was ready for a healthy dose of reality warping, with outrageous but entertaining, I had no idea.
After her mother's sudden death, Sadie takes over her role as the Liar...too bad she doesn't have a clue how her power is supposed to work. Now, you might wonder why, if Sadie was destined to succeed her mother, she's been kept in the dark about the tricks of her trade - except there's an excellent reason, which also makes for the last and most stunning twist in a book that's got plenty of them. Tension escalates while Sadie uncovers to what extent her mother has been manipulating reality (there's actually a brilliant crescendo about her lies and the way they impact Sadie's present situation) and learns to use her power, plus tries to stay one step ahead of the monsters and humans who are after something her mother left her. That's where most of this book's strength lies for me - in the way the pace increases and the stakes get higher and higher, but even more in the way the twists/reveals gradually redesign our (and Sadie's) perception of what's real, until they pull the rug from under our feet.


I have to admit that, when starting TLORV, I was a little wary about its blending a contemporary (if rural) setting with classic fantasy elements (like the King). It turns out I needn't have been. The transition back and forth is seamless - or better, the two aspects of Red Valley are so intrinsically woven together that I had no problems with buying into the combo. If anything, for a while I wondered why people would want to keep living there, for a number of reasons, until I realised that it's hard to walk away from magic, especially the kind that can remake your life (if at a price), and in some cases it simply can't be done. Not to mention, the same thing happens to us with places that don't hold any magic, yet we can't seem to leave behind even if they're smothering us...Anyhow, this book pulls off the whole contemporary-meets-fantasy-meets-supernatural-meets-magical-realism shebang, and even manages to offer some social commentary by tackling racism/police brutality, while including queer relationships that aren't a means to an end.


If there's an aspect where I found TLORV to be less successful, it's in fleshing out its characters. I did like the brave, resourceful main lead and enjoyed her story arc, but she lacked the extra edge that makes me fall in love with my book people. The rest of the characters and the relationships between them/them and Sadie, while nice and/or potentially intriguing, could have used more depth (same goes for the villains, though at least one of them will give me nightmares for the rest of my life, which is a badge of honour as far as I'm concerned 😂 - but that's more because of his appearance than anything else). One thing that I did appreciate, though, is the found-family vibe and the lack of mandatory romance. Bottom line, if you like magical realism steeped in fantasy, fast-paced stories and lots of twists and turns (of the unpredictable variety, too), and you can overlook a certain lack of complexity when it comes to characters and their relationships, this book is not to be missed.
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This was a brilliant fantasy read! Would say the genre is maybe fantasy/paranormal/YA, well written so it was easy to get into the story. Really liked the main character Sadie who is a fighter in a hard life. I liked the main twist of the story as I never saw it coming. Highly recommend. 

Many thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for my advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This is an engaging fantasy story with a likeable main character and a very original premise.  A good real but I felt  it had a little too much of a 'young adult' vibe for me to truly love it.  Would still recommend though.
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I’ve had quite a difficult time summarising my feelings about this book, due to it being completely fucking insane but completely fucking brilliant. It follows the story of Sadie, who becomes the Liar of Red Valley after the death of her mother. Red Valley is under the rule of The King. 

What a deliciously creepy book. It is jam packed full of drama, and grips you right until the very last word. There where plenty of twists that I just did not see coming, and which shocked me. Some of the storylines where crazy, but fitted in well with the overall theme of the book. 

I felt that some of the characters where lacking. I wanted more depth from them, and less of a focus on others. However, the overall focus of the book was definitely more on the plot line. 

The Liar of Red Valley is definitely a crazy read, but I absolutely loved it!
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One of the best thrillers I've ever read
The horror theme in it is just *chef's kiss*
The pace
It was really fast just as I liked it🥺 A M A Z I N G
I did want more world building to it because it felt incomplete and I didn't understand many things. I was confused. 
There WERE some things that I didn't like but the other parts made up for it<3
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4.5 stars. 
The small, rural town of Red Valley is special. It’s under the protection from the King, who keeps all manner of terrible beings and monsters out of the town. The nearby River is dangerous, and everyone knows to not even get one’s toes wet in it. The King’s men, menacing, quiet types, keep the peace, and protect the safety of the townspeople. 
And there’s the Liar. The Liar records all the small and big lies of the townspeople for a price. She lives alone, and is both hated and needed.
Her daughter Sadie loses her mother one day to cancer, and almost immediately, everyone, from the under Sheriff, to the King, to the scary laughing boys (people who have willingly accepted a demon in their heads), want something from Sadie, as she is the new Liar of Red Valley.

Omigoodness, I liked this story so much! 
I felt like Lovecraft had been an influence on the crafting of this tale, but this world was its own thing. The atmosphere and setting are so well drawn, from the dusty streets and blistering heat blanketing the California town, to the tree growing right in the middle of the diner Sadie works at, to the menacing river, to the terrifying King’s men, and to the ancient evils outside of the Red Valley, in this alternate version of California.
Then there’s the concept of a Liar, a role essential to the town, allowing people to lie about their dead pets, balding heads, marital difficulties, and recording it all in her ledgers. She’s essential to the town, isolated, and answers to the King, and though not as flashy as a laughing boy, has immense power, as Sadie begins to discover.
The plot moved well with no dull moments. I liked Sadie, and how she stumbled around initially, trying to figure out how to be the new Liar of Red Valley, making mistakes and endangering herself and others. I was entertained, and absolutely loved the two BIG lies Sadie’s mum had tucked away — a left turn in the events and our understanding of everything we’d learned up till then about the Red Valley, and its residents. A clever turn, and an enjoyable book.

Thank you to Netgalley and Solaris for this ARC in exchange for a review.
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"The Liar of Red Valley" has me stumped. I liked the story, the setting, the writing, and the main character, but somehow it didn't quite all gel for me. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. This is definitely a case of "it's me, not you", as I'm sure most people will fall in love with this book. I might try reading again in a few months and see if I feel differently.

My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.
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I really enjoyed the world-building in this novel, I believed in it 100% and could see how such a place could exist in parallel with the real world. However I felt the ending was a bit rushed and anti-climatic after such a strong and detailed build-up during the first 3/4s of the book. In my opinion there was much more to be developed, both in characters and in plot.
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