33286627It has been ten years since Ruby left her hometown behind. Since then she’s built a life away from her recovering alcoholic mother and her first love, Murphy. But when Danny, one of her estranged friends from childhood, commits suicide, guilt draws Ruby back into the tumultuous world she escaped all those years ago.

She’s dreading the funeral – and with good reason. Danny has left a series of envelopes addressed to his former friends. Inside each envelope is a secret about every person in the group. Ruby’s secret is so explosive, she will fight tooth-and-nail to keep it hidden from those she once loved so deeply, even if that means risking everything…

Source Format Pages Publisher Publication Date
Netgalley ebook 238 Corvus June 1st, 2017

Not going to beat around the bush here- I inhaled this book! 

I’m kind of sitting here, bursting with all the things I want to write about, but there’s just so much that I can’t because spoilers! What I can tell you, is this:

This is a story about a group of friends. ‘The crew’ they called themselves. Ruby, Ally, Murphy, Emmett, Danny. They’re to each other what pants are to arse! (sorry, I’m just paraphrasing a saying from Estonian that goes something like- ‘they’re like pants and arse’, meaning that two people can always be seen together!). They’re all grown up now but back in school they were the bestest of friends. Ruby was the only one who left the small town they lived in and has cut her friends out of her life. But Danny’s suicide is not only a catalyst to get Ruby to go back home, he has decided to seak some hard truths and bring the secrets from dark to back out into the light!

The story is delivered in present and in past. There is the NOW that brings the crew together again under tragic circumstances for Danny’s funeral. And then there is the THEN which serves a purpose to unravel all sorts of juicy details from the past. Danny? Danny opens the book with a prologue from behind the grave and sets the tone for the reading experience…

Friends and Liars is horribly tragic in parts, but beautifully executed. In fact, the suspense and intrigue got me right hooked! It’s not just about being nosey, though, because the way our characters’ lives were entwined in the past was very – very – relatable and the way these past relationships still have an impact on the present- not that far fetched, at all. I loved the THEN paragraphs so much because it brought on an air of nostalgia for me. I felt like going back 15 years to MY crew and do the crazy shit we did all over again. But we all grow up… and we all still have those certain secrets we never shared with even our best friend…

So, all well and good, having some drama, dysfunctional families, tragic deaths and HUGE secrets… but none of these would really matter (in a book, at least, let us be honest) if you didn’t come to care for the characters. You need someone to root for, you need someone to be excited for, someone to dislike…

Our set of characters covers the spectrum of personalities. The dynamics in between them is as much heartwarming and hilarious, as it is heartbreaking, frustrating and most importantly- used as a bag of goodies where clues and bombshells hide. Every chapter is a moment of a silken kimono being opened a little bit more… Another glimpse!

Even though there is a whole 10 years in between the ‘then’ and ‘now’ chapters from 2-3 POVs, not only did I get character development, I also got moments when I thought- hang on, have I been rooting for the wrong person here? I felt betrayed! I felt betrayed by a character as if they had caused me personal insult. But that is the thing with relationships… They’re messy and never straightforward… So, really… where does the misunderstanding begin? Who is to blame for saying the wrong thing or not saying anything at all? And my most favorite pondering from the book: causality… The what ifs

And to add to that… Danny! I just can’t get past him… thinking back on the book now, it’s just odd how he seems to be standing out the most. It’s not Ruby (even though her story was a motherload), or Murphy, Ally or Emmett… It’s Danny that will linger in my mind even though in the ‘now’ chapters he was a ghost, and in the ‘then’ chapters more of a background operator, but… Oddly, I feel like Ruby, who was always protecting Danny… there’s something about his character that makes me feel regret, as well…

While there was a particular scene that was a bit too telenovela for me, I have to say I was completely addicted to the intrigue. I shamelessly admit- I could not wait to find out about everyone’s secrets! In fact, the minute I read the blurb on Netgalley (thanks NG and Corvus!) I knew damn well I wasn’t going to be able to sleep until I got my mitts on this guilty pleasure! Yes, sure, it’s a book I would class as ‘something for the chicks‘ and I don’t often indulge in this genre, but blimey, did the whole thing get my knickers in a twist!

It is rather chilling to create such dramatic ‘relationship drama’ around a suicide. Things get even darker with some of the themes in the book… drugs, abuse, murder. But that is not the point… I think the point of this book is to show how no one is perfect; about how one decision flicks over one domino piece which flips the whole set to its side; about how everyone will always have a secret!

I’m not normally that big on epilogues… but in this case? The epilogue from Danny’s POV? From behind the grave? Bang. On. The epilogue worked for two reasons… I came the full circle with the characters. That’s it. Closure. Bittersweet. The door is closing…  but Danny, the Dark Horse? I think he just about managed to get his foot in the door… Because… I have a feeling Danny is not quite finished yet!

What you’ll get in this book: Drama bombs!

Should you read this book? Oh, hell yes, if you’re into relationship dramas, tragedy and addictive reads.

Amazon UK ¦ USA