Review: Liar City: A Novel (Sugar and Vice # 1) by Allie Therin
A murder has Seattle on edge, and it falls to a pacifist empath—and a notorious empath hunter—to find the killer before it’s too late
It’s the middle of the night when part-time police consultant and full-time empath Reece gets an anonymous call warning him that his detective sister needs his help. At an out-of-the-way Seattle marina, he discovers that three people have been butchered—including the author of the country’s strictest anti-empathy bill, which is just days from being passed into law.
Soon, Reece’s caller arrives: a shadowy government agent known as The Dead Man, who is rumored to deal exclusively in cases involving empathy. He immediately takes over the investigation, locking out both local PD and the FBI, but, strangely, keeps Reece by his side.
As the two track an ever-growing trail of violence and destruction across Seattle, Reece must navigate a scared and angry city, an irritating attraction to his mysterious agent companion, and a rising fear that perhaps empaths like him aren’t all flight and no fight after all…
I received an ARC of this book.
Dear Allie Therin, this book was an interesting reading experience. From the blurb it sounded like an exciting fantasy adventure with a paranormal bent, so I grabbed it. I think the book certainly delivered all the expected excitement and more – a lot of action was happening throughout the story. Unfortunately one of the main characters (hint – it was not Reese) annoyed me more and more throughout the story and at the end when he decides to arrest Reese (no matter how short timed such arrest was) he made me so annoyed I really wanted to slap him.
In this alternate Seattle and alternate USA and I guess alternate World (although we are really not leaving the USA in this story so I am not sure if empaths exist elsewhere, if the story mentions it, I missed it and there is no way I am rereading it) some people manifested empath abilities. Of course what do we, the people, often do to those who are different from us? We try to restrain their rights, and stop them from living their normal lives as much as possible. Empaths in this world are *not* treated kindly and this is an understatement of the century.
As the blurb tells you the senator who was trying to push through the strictest anti-empathy bill in Senate is murdered and murders are continuing.
Reese gets involved, even though he cannot stomach violence and literally gets sick when he hears discussions about violence, let alone witnesses violence. But he loves his sister the detective and the sister loves him back so on the off topic chance she (Jamey) may need his help, he rushes there.
Reese also has a big mouth and absolutely no filter and sometimes he opens his mouth when he should not. But at all times when it happened, I thought that Reese living under constant stress due to how this USA treats the people with his abilities made him opening his mouth entirely understandable if not justifiable.
When The Dead Man appears on the scene of the murder and pretty much convinces everyone including Reese’s overprotective and tough big sister that Reese will be safer with him when they investigate the murder/s, the reader can see right away that in the sarcasm department The Dead Man AKA Ethan Grayson can very much keep up with Reese.
““I know. I got your auto-response.” Grayson read it out. “I don’t use my phone behind the wheel and neither should you. Hashtag drive like an empath. Are you capable of communication without sass?” Reece wrapped a hand around the rail, the cold blocked by the glove. “You’re driving right now. I can hear your engine. Sounds big. Upgraded. Like it eats too much gas while its distracted driver endangers the road.” “We don’t all of us drive like empaths. And I’m parking, so you can stop fretting.” Yeah, right. The Dead Man was on his phone and on his way. Reece wasn’t going to stop frettin’ anytime soon. “You still haven’t said what you want.””
Their dialogue throughout the story was very enjoyable for me. The writing overall was quite enjoyable actually. I enjoy sarcasm when it fits well with the character’s personality and I thought in this book it did.
You may pick up this book for romance, but at least for now you will be disappointed if you do so. I am pretty sure that by the end of the whatever book will be the last one Ethan and Reese will get back together but so far the most I saw was great chemistry and for the most part of the story the chemistry felt extremely antagonistic to me. I did notice Reese starting to care, but because the story so far is told mostly from Reese’s third person limited (and I think a little bit from his sister’s third person POV), to notice that Ethan even cared was harder but yes, I did noticed that he may have, a little bit by the very end of the story.
I am not really sure though if I believe they have a future, at least as of the end of this book. I felt like Ethan kept secrets from Reese for the whole book – yes, I know he believed he had a reason to do so, but not once, not once in response to Reese’ questions did he even imply that he is on Reese’ side, that he is a friend and Reese can trust him. I mean, I suppose kudos to Ethan for being honest, but the nerve of him to be angry that Reese actually did not share something very important with Ethan which could have helped Ethan to figure out something also very important in the development of this case earlier. OMG. Why would he share the secret with you Ethan? Why?
There is SO much I cannot tell you about the plot of this story, because a lot of things are really not what they seem from the very beginning and I am really not sure how I feel about it. As I said from the beginning, I certainly think that the book delivered on the excitement part. Should I call it a twisty suspense? I am not even sure. Is it a mystery? Maybe only as far as the specifics of how the villain/s executed their plans. I figured The Very Bad Guy almost the minute this person appeared on page, because it was telegraphed. I am not sure if the author planned to keep their identity a secret though.
Grade : B
I look forward to reading this, Sirius. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!