Cover Image: The  Liar of Red Valley

The Liar of Red Valley

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Member Reviews

A perfect book for me blurs the line between genres, and The Liar of Red Valley is one of those that balances the weird and the mystical in such a compelling way.

Why isn't everyone raving about this book? This is the hidden gem of 2021 for me.

Don’t trust the Liar.
Do not cross the King.
Never, ever go in the River.

Rules you know better than to break as a resident of Red Valley. Sadie's lived her whole life a pariah as the daughter of the current town Liar. So when her mother dies it seems obvious that she will be the heir to the title, a role she knows nothing about and a role she doesn't want to take.

After a brief visit with the infamously reclusive King shows Sadie that she has no choice but to take up the mantle her mother's left vacant. To protect the book of lies from generations of town Liars, if only she can find them.

I'll say nothing else, because you need to read this one for yourself.

Thank you to NetGalley and Rebellion Publishing for an ARC of this title.
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The Liar of Red Valley is a book that popped up on both NetGalley and GoodReads. Seeing it on NetGalley left me in two minds until a GR recommended it to me—it was the push I needed.

After swiping left for the last time, I have to say The Liar of Red Valley is one of the best books I read this year. 

**


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?

368 pages
Horror, fantasy, gothic
Rebellion, Solaris pub
Goodreads

**

Cover: Well. It’s something. It makes a statement, but to me, it just screams Red Riding Hood. 

Yay!

* This is how you write a good book. You take a character—Sadie, in our case—and plop her there, front and center. Backstory? Sure, when and if it becomes relevant, it can be sprinkled throughout the story. Infodump of any kind at the beginning? No. There’s the MC, there’s the (relevant again) setting, and there’s trouble brewing on the horizon. Nothing more is needed. Trust me when I say that the Goodwater’s way is one of the best ways to write a story because it reads realistically. Yes, even if it features monsters.

- Unique plot paired with an intriguing idea. The Liar concept adds a fresh spin to the ‘world is packed with monster’ trope, and the subplots are layered in an intricate yet captivating style. I appreciate the key revelations a lot: a crescendo of bombshells that blindsided me while I was reading, as I didn’t see them coming.

- Technically speaking, Goodwater is a master. It’s hard to handle a dialogue with three characters, for example, but he does it without breaking a sweat. The whole thing reads as smooth as you please – I went back and checked the one between Graciela, Sadie, and Beto at least twice, just to appreciate Goodwater’s skills to the fullest.

- To top it off, his writing style is hilarious. Sadie and Thomas = ❤

- I love the cast of characters. No one is 100% good, no one is 100% bad, and that’s quite a feat given the main topic. There’s nuance in everybody, even in Hassler. As an added bonus, the cast is on the bigger side and it’s handled in a beautiful way.

- A fantastic plot is paired with a good editing—thank you.

Nay!

- The only complaint I have is about the Unspeakable Thing. All that crescendo, the trip, the subtle-but-there anticipation… and? The resolution is underwhelming. 

After careful consideration, I decided that that’s enough to kick down half a star, but to round up the final rating anyway. It’s a misstep in an otherwise perfect book.

TL;DR

4,5 stars on GR, rounded up to 5.
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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?

Granting dreams and wishes is old news. In genre fiction, practitioners of that particular art are ten a penny. Imagine if there was someone who could make your lies come true. At first glance, you might think that sounds terrible, but really think about it. You could wipe away that horrible thing you said or did. You could remove the hurt from your life. Sure, it would be a lie and there would be a cost. The question really becomes how much are you willing to pay? This week’s review is the urban fantasy noir The Liar of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater.

I couldn’t help but empathise with the main character, Sadie. Already trapped in a small unassuming life with no obvious direction, she is thrust into a role she is totally unprepared to do. Inheriting the mantle of Liar, Sadie finds herself surrounded by potential enemies on all sides. For every lie that Sadie is asked to create, someone needs to pay the price. Sadie doesn’t like what she is forced to do but sees the necessity of it. Many townsfolk view her with outright suspicion but still call on her services. Nothing like a bit of good old-fashioned downhome hypocrisy is there?

The town of Red Valley is a dark place. There is the King and his eerie foot-soldiers, but that’s not all. The demonically enhanced Laughing Boys also roam the streets. Even the patrons of the local dive bar, Tips, are not entirely human. There are a plethora of strange and unusual characters to meet. Walter Goodwater has that same skill I’ve witnessed in authors like Stephen King; that ability to very quickly establish characters. Within a handful of pages, Sadie feels familiar and you are quickly drawn into her life.

Of course, in a tale exploring the nature of lies, there has to be revelatory moments of honesty. As events spiral towards the novel’s ultimate climax, Sadie has to confront some brutal truths. It turns out that magic, however small, comes at a cost. There has been a Liar in Red Valley for generations and they have always made an impact on the town. Secrets and lies have a way of festering and causing their own unique brand of grief.

Though fantastical in nature, there is a downbeat gritty realism to this novel that I really liked. Surrounded by the extraordinary, the denizens of the town are just regular folks trying to get by.

I’ve thought about this a lot and if I had to classify this novel as anything, it would best be described as an American Gothic modern-day fairy tale. I know, that’s a lot, but Goodwater’s writing hits all those notes. There are even elements of neo-western thrillers like No Country for Old Men or Hell and High Water hiding in the narrative. Plenty for an avid reader such as myself to enjoy.

The Liar of Red Valley is published by Rebellion and is available now.

My musical recommendation to accompany The Liar of Red Valley is the soundtrack to Hemlock Grove by Nathan Barr. It has a nice, slightly creepy quality the dovetails nicely with the novel’s overall tone.
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Part fantasy, part horror, but both of those creep up on you out of nowhere. Mysterious and creepy. Really enjoyed this book.
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«Smoke and mirrors — to throw dust in one's eyes — To stretch the truth.»
All of the idioms mentioned above have one thing in common — they focus on the act of purposeful deception. What if one person holds the power to make any of your "lies" become "truths"? 
That's the ability the Liar of Red Valley holds.

The essential rules are in place in the small town of Red Valley in California: 
Do not trust the Liar
Do not go in the River
Do not cross The King

The Liar of Red Valley follows the story of Sadie, a young woman who inherits the position of the Liars after the death of her mother. With a powerful position come questions, problems, and supernatural beings start to follow Sadie with every step. 

The proverb goes, "With power comes greater responsibility," and I believe Walter Goodwater wrote a realistic character with the protagonist Sadie, which made me enjoy the story even more. Sadie is in no way a flawless character who is instantaneously conscious of her power, yet she gives her fiercest effort to cope with her mother's passing while facing numerous questions and problems. Her imperfection makes her realistic, which had me rooting for her through each line. 

Walter Goodwater manages to catch one by surprise, as any guesses regarding the storyline are not possible based on existing novels. As a nosey and dramatic person, the secrets, plot twists, and answers had me hooked from the beginning and held me intrigued until the end. 

Ultimately, the Liar of Red Valley is a one-of-a-kind mixture of fantasy and horror that does not resemble any other contemporary fiction. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to lovers of fantasy, horror, mysteries! 

** Disclaimer **
I was lucky to receive an eARC of "The Liar of Red Valley" thanks to Rebellion Publishing and NetGalley. Nonetheless, I want to emphasize that this is my honest opinion! 
This review is based on my personal opinion and written with no intention to offend anyone!
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Part fantasy and part drug lord tales this was an interesting read that took me a while to get into. Worth a read
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Wow, what a dark, twisty thriller that is a perfect fall read. 

Quick synopsis: Sadie lives in Red Valley, where there are three rules: Don’t trust the liar. Don’t go in the River. Don’t cross the King. She recently lost her mother, who was the last Liar in Red Valley - making her the new Liar of Red Valley and she must help the town fight to survive as the King of Red Valley and his enemies wage war. 

1. I really loved Sadie. She is such a strong character that was thrown into this mess without any help or guidance from her mother. She is charismatic, sarcastic and just a spitfire of a character. 
2. The King and his men were very, very creepy and very well developed. The way his story comes together throughout the book - it’s very well done. 
3. The author did an amazing job developing this creepy, dark world that existed with these odd magical creatures. 
4. The twist….s. Wow. Keeps you reading to the very end. 

Overall, a very well written, dark, gothic thriller that kept me engaged the entire time.
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3.5 stars. This story is packed with so many different flavours that I think it would've looked better on screen instead. I read it for my annual  Halloween bookfest, expecting it to be pure horror/horrifying, yet was treated to something more like a dark and paranormal urban fantasy. Which was also welcome! I'd like to read more from Goodwater. His ideas remind me of Seanan McGuire who has the same knack of coming up with interesting concepts at high speed. 
I wish I had me some Liar superpowers!
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This one just wasn't my cup of tea - I appreciated the originality and worldbuilding that went into this story (definitely points for uniqueness and creativity) but just didn't connect as much with the protagonist or the setting.  It reminded me slightly of Simon R. Green's Nightside series, but didn't snag me in the same way.  Definitely worth checking out though.
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Absolutely brilliant! I had put off reading this for a while for other books I was more desperate to read. Glad I bothered though. Great book.
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Note - I received this digital arc for free as a courtesy of Net Galley and Solaris Rebellion publishers in return for an honest feedback.

Rating - 4.9/5 

' Do not trust the Liar.

Do not go in the River.

Do not cross the King.'

Honestly when I first came across the book blurb, I was both intrigued and fascinated. I really didn't know what to make of the blurb or should I take up the book to read as the entire plot concept sounded really unique and different to me. After reading - Well ! I can say this one strongly that ' The Liar of Red Valley' by Walter Goodwater is perhaps one of the books with the most original fantasy fiction concept that I must have read in this entire year till now. Most fantasy fictions these days are either based on the usual supernatural concepts or are a retell of the same. 

The Liar of Red Valley does have its fair share of supernatural elements but the way those elements have been interpreted in a completely different fashion to conceive the entire plot over them is what made this book so unique. It is a standalone book that can be read in a single go. The only downside I felt was that the story could have explored a little more of the fantasy elements background like the concept of liar and the history etc. Further the tag said that it also had a horror genre element as well however it did seem so which was good for me as  I was never a horror fan anyways. But it could be a bit of downer for those going with the outlook that it is a core horror fiction. Nevertheless a must read book for all. 

The story followed the life of Sadie who lived in Red Valley situated in the modern day California. Despite the modernity, the town still seemed to be little held behind in their beliefs as Sadie's mother who was the liar of the town was approached by the locals to keep their secrets. However when she succumbs to cancer - Sadie's whole world turns upside down as now not only is she forced to uphold the secrets of Red Valley as the new liar ; including that of the King's while also learning to be one. Time is literally at stake for her as she suddenly stumbles upon the biggest secret of her life while standing at a crossroad with more foes than friends. How she tackles them all form the crux of the story.

What really fascinated me was the fact that for the first time in my experience, I have seen lies being given predominant relevance to make or break the life of someone. It is always truth triumphing over evil but here its lies. I really loved that whole idea of how an entire world and concept was envisioned on the basis of the concept of 'lies',

Overall a must read book that I would recommend to all those aged 15+ years.

Trigger warnings: blood, violence, attempted murder, murder (graphic), terminal illness, abuse, attempted rape.

@netgalley, Feel free to add me on Goodreads, Edelweiss and Book Sirens for more reviews.
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I really loved the world of this and the main character. It could have done with a bit more pinning down of exactly how the liar system worked, and what was and wasn't allowed. But it's very engaging and immersive.
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Such a memorable reading experience! The Liar of Red Valley by Walter Goodwater is an original, intriguing twisty tale with magical realism and paranormal elements.

The story was set in the mysterious town of Red Valley, California. It followed Sadie, who eventually became the next “Liar” after her mother died. The Liar of the Red Valley had the power to remake the world by making the ‘lies’ become the ‘truth’ with the price. There we were introduced to the three simple rules that everyone must abide: “Do not trust the Liar, Do Not go in the River and Do not Cross the King.”

Told in the protagonist’s POV, this was a smooth, well-paced story full of plot twists and turns executed in a mind-blowing way. I liked the journey of finding out answers or lies about what was really happening in the town. Moreover, it also dealt with topics such as police brutality, homophobia, and racism. On the other hand, the world building was excellent as it maintained the eerie atmosphere throughout the novel. The town not only had human residences but also creepy supernatural creatures.

What I found really interesting here is the power of the Liar. The concept was cleverly imagined, realistic, and unique. It discussed well how it worked and its limitations as well. There was also set of characters who were diverse and interesting as well, although most were not fleshed out. However, I really appreciated the LGBTQ+ rep in this novel.

Overall, if you like a novel that will give you a WTF moment, this one is for you. Highly recommend.

4.5/5 stars!

I would like to thank Rebellion Publishing/Solaris and Netgalley for the review copy. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect based on the synopsis, and I'm glad I read The Liar of Red Valley@ The world building is fantastic, and the characters are so much fun to follow, particularly Sadie. This creepy thriller will keep you engrossed until the last page. 
**Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review**
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I received this ARC in an exchange for an honest review thanks to NetGalley.  This book had an extremely interesting concept, but was badly written. It had the potential to be an amazing Gothic Horror Thriller. Too many things unexplained. I wanted more explanations, plot twists etc. Highly disappointed. 
#NetGalley #TheLiarofRedValley
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Do not trust the Liar
Do not go in the River
Do not cross The King

This is a very different type of book for me - it is a fantastical horror - kept me interested and imagining the characters in a film like manner all the way through.  It would make for a good film!  If you like the kind of books that usually have several books before you get to the end of the story - then this is one for you, but to be able to read in a stand alone book, which for me is a big attraction (this is the main reason I don't usually read this type of story, I prefer not to read several books to get to the conclusion!).  I would definitely recommend this book - and would read anther stand alone book by the same author (and to gift it to others for the same reason).
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So, Sadie, what are you going to do about it?

Fantasy: 5/5
Gothic: 4.5/5
Horror: 4.5/5
Magical Realism: 5/5

Overall: 4.8/5

Blurb: If you thought a novel with good pace and awesome fantastical plot and a badass heroine who is both naïve and stubborn as hell with amazeballs endings does not exist, I have five words for you THE LIAR OF RED VALLEY. Meet Sadie, who does not know what she is doing but also will not absolutely back down and WILL scream in the middle of the street to get what she want, when she want. With her is a friend who is equally badass and SOOOO supportive that you will want her to be YOUR best friend.

Sadie may not have much, but she had a friend who actually cared about her, and maybe that would be enough. At least for tonight.

Sadie lives in a town called Red Valley, which is as ominous as it sounds. There are THREE RULES; Do not Cross the King, Do not Go into the River and Do not Trust the Liar. Sadie is the daughter of town's Liar, and when she becomes the new Liar after the death of her mom, evil starts following her. She will fight ghouls, demonically possessed boys, Zombified Men, Undersheriff and every supernatural being she comes across. She WILL get down to the bottom of the things and nothing can stop her. Not even the King Himself.

Strength: Amazingly well written plot, with perfect pacing (Neither too rushed nor too laxed). Characters are just lovely, and the twists are typhoony which jabs your jaw out of nowhere. And for ONCE, the protagonist is not DUMB out of her mind. EVERY choice she makes is the best one in the circumstances and it is good. It is so refreshing to not see characters doing stupid things JUST to make the story go a certain way. I can't express how happy I was after reading it.

Weakness. NONE! SHOO! GO AWAY!

Why to read: If you love Magical Realism, that too done right
(Oh how I miss Mitty), love yourself a Gothic Fantasy fiction and love good plot and pacing, then knock yourself out and grab this book. Trust me you will not be disappointed.

Why not to read: If you are not a fan of these genres. But then what are you even doing here? Go...Shoo. This novel is literally the BEST one out there in this genre.

Personal reason to like this book: There was once a time in my life where i was HOOKED on reddit horror rules stories. It is where a new guy is given a night duty in some establishment, like library or Subway station or Mall or School, along with a list of rules. They don't follow it because of course, and then chaos ensues. The three rules underlines here were a direct hook for me then since it resonated with me on personal level. Although the plot is different overall, It was those three rules that grabbed my attention, and I am glad they did.
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Best 1st line of 2021!
What a great start to a book. This book has such a new and novel premise. I also really liked the way the story unfolded. There were no info dumps, we just learnt more and more as the book went on and I didn't want to put it down.
Wanting to quickly get back to a book is a great thing and so The Liar of Red Valley has my recommendation.

Links to Socials to come. I did share and promote around publishing day.
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I went into this book completely blind and it was not what I was expecting at all but in the best possible way! A must read twisty magical thriller. An American gothic tale that is hard to explain but a must read!
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The Liar of Red Valley is such an interesting read. I wasn’t quite sure whether to categorize it as urban fantasy or horror, because there’s elements of both in this story of magic, power, and the cost of both.

We meet Sadie as she watches her mother die. And tries to figure out how to become the Liar of Red Valley, because suddenly people are crawling out of the woodwork, demanding the Liar’s ledgers, looking to uncover secrets that could threaten the lives of all of Red Valley’s citizens. She’s accosted, threatened, and hauled to jail (the Deputy Sheriff wasn’t a fan), all as she’s grieving for her mother. Some people are just plain rude!

It was interesting to follow Sadie’s thoughts as she moves from one thing/task to another, trying to protect herself from the various threats that pop up. She makes plenty of mistakes, has plenty of regrets, but she can only work with what she knows (which isn’t much). And as she finds – and (sometimes) reveals – the Liar’s secrets, she knows she has to protect her neighbors from the incoming threats.

The Liar of Red Valley is interesting and weird and fresh with lots of twists. I didn’t exactly care for the characters, but I did want to know what was going to happen next, and Goodwater doesn’t disappoint there.

drey’s rating: Excellent!
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