Friday, June 16, 2017

Review: Beautiful Liar

Beautiful Liar Beautiful Liar by Signy Cullen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Beautiful Liar by Signy Cullen

Full disclosure I am friends with this authors older sister however; I do not actually know, nor have I ever met the author herself. This review was requested by said friend and I agreed to give it a fair and unbiased review.

I read this authors first book "Farther Side of Away" back in 2013 I believe, may have been 2014 and I was not overly impressed. That story was a bit disorganized and difficult to follow so it was with some trepidation that I picked up Beautiful Liar. I could not have been more surprised when I began reading and realized that THIS book was far and away better than her first one. As a reader and a review it's not uncommon to see this with new writers. Like any other craft it takes time and experience to hone the craft. If you, like me, read this authors first book and took a pass at this one I encourage you to back track. Beautiful Liar was a well researched, well thought out book. It was nothing like Farther Side of Away and a lot of the issues I had with that book were resolved in this one.
Beautiful Liar begins with a jail break and the law enforcement officials who track the escaped convicts. Enter Noah a U.S. Marshal. Whatever you thought a U.S. Marshal was like Noah is none of those things. He reads as a young hot dogger, and he mentions he sometimes wishes he lived at home with his parents still. He likes the excitement of the job but not so much the "boring" parts as he deems them. If you're an older reader you may not like Noah at first, you may in fact prefer Deputy U. S. Marshal Tim Noonan, the "team captain" if you will of the U.S. Marshals. He is older and more seasoned on the job but if that's not your aesthetic there's Marshal Thomas Carol described as an older deputy dressed in typical tan suit, mismatched tie, and a full beard. Now that's what I think of when I hear the world U.S. Marshal...I blame all those old westerns my dad used to make me watch. If you like wise-cracking law enforcement types there's Deputy Marshal Philip Mills who likes to make all the "kiddie" jokes he can toward Marshal Noah. The feeling you get when you're reading about these Marshals is that this is a typical give and take between a tight knit team. The relationships between the Marshals reads like a family and anyone whose ever been in the military, or married into it, or any branch of law enforcement would understand the bonds that exist among these personality types. That comradery, loyalty, duty, and honor that binds them all together. In essence that feeling of Family that's unique to these types of people. The author has a firm grasp on those dynamics and that comes across to the reader.
I felt that the author gave a bit too much information at the beginning about Noah. For instance I didn't think it was necessary to tell me that he went into the Marshals right out of college. She could have just said "at 26 Noah was the rookie" and I think we would have all got it. If it added to the story then I could see using it but it just sort of feels like word filler to me and as a reader I've always felt a bit insulted by that kind of thing from an author. The other thing that unnecessary information does is it makes Noah come off as inept. I don't think the U.S. Marshals would have recruited him out of the University if he were stupid but the way she writes his inner monologues about his looks makes him appear to be shy, inept, and bumbling. Like a Deputy Doo-Right instead of an intelligent, yet unseasoned U.S. Marshal. So that was a downside for me in this book. I had to work a bit harder to get over that initial introduction to this character.
Enter the CIA I'm not going to go over too much about this I'll let you draw your own conclusions. I will say this..the female CIA agent comes across as unbelievable. I think she was a good liar, I didn't find her believable as an agent. She came across more as a parody of herself and I couldn't take her seriously in the story. She was good for some unintended comic relief though.
All in all the story itself was good. I liked it. I liked reading it. I'm a total sucker for crime thrillers, who dun its, escaped convicts and shady government ops. This book hits a lot of those notes that makes that genre fun to read. I'm hopeful and optimistic that this author will continue to hone her craft and improve as writer. I look forward to reading the second book in the Beautiful Liar series and this new author grow into her craft.

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