Nine Liars

FeaturedHot
 
4.6 (3)
 
5.0 (1)
4449 0
Nine Liars
Age Range
14+
Release Date
December 27, 2022
ISBN
978-0063032651
Buy This Book
      
Stevie Bell solved the case of Truly Devious, and now she’s taking her detecting skills abroad when she becomes embroiled in a mystery from 1990s England. Another pulse-pounding and laugh-out-loud stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.
Senior year at Ellingham Academy for Stevie Bell isn’t going well. Her boyfriend, David, is studying in London. Her friends are obsessed with college applications. With the cold case of the century solved, Stevie is adrift. There is nothing to distract her from the questions pinging around her brain—questions about college, love, and life in general.

Relief comes when David invites Stevie and her friends to join him for study abroad, and his new friend Izzy introduces her to a double-murder cold case. In 1995, nine friends from Cambridge University went to a country house and played a drunken game of hide-and-seek. Two were found in the woodshed the next day, murdered with an ax.

The case was assumed to be a burglary gone wrong, but one of the remaining seven saw something she can’t explain. This was no break-in. Someone’s lying about what happened in the woodshed.

Seven suspects. Two murders. One killer still playing a deadly game.

Editor reviews

3 reviews
Overall rating
 
4.6
Plot
 
4.3(3)
Characters
 
4.7(3)
Writing Style
 
4.7(3)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A(0)
Worth Reading Again
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Five books into the series and the storylines are still gripping and on point for a great mystery. I am impressed with the characters Maureen Johnson has created because there are so many cold cases in which Stevie Bell’s potential for more stories is unlimited. Stevie is so relatable as a character. She only has an okay home life with tension and financial burdens. She gets overwhelmed and avoids conversations and decisions yet is also completely brilliant when it comes to solving crime.
David is an interesting romantic interest because he is flawed. He has overcome the playboy rich boy past now that he is away from his toxic father yet he still is privileged and learning who he is and wants to be. He is Stevie’s first love and they both are holding on as much as they are fighting and not getting along. Their relationship went to the next level and then there was trouble between them. It is refreshing to see such a real and complicated relationship depicted in a YA book.
Changing the scenery to London was fun and added an extra level of intrigue to the mystery. The premise of why Stevie went to London was believable. However, as much as I love her relationship dynamic with Nate, Vi, and Janelle it is getting a bit formulaic and unbelievable that twice she was able to get the whole team with her on a case off the grounds of Ellingham. Each person has their own paths they are pursuing so I wonder about upcoming books and whether Stevie will learn how to do this on her own or if there will be a thin excuse to continue to bring the whole group with her. They have depth as support characters that become a bit flat if they continue to join her.
I enjoy the two timelines so we can both see the murders unfold and gain a sense of who the victims and murder suspects are as people as well as Stevie trying to put together the cold case and find the culprit. The final reveal is always surprising and satisfying. Once again, every book is set up with this formula which on the structural level is repetitive, yet it still works so well that I open the book knowing I will be satisfied and devour the whole story quickly. I think it speaks very highly of any book when you want to read it again. With this series, you can have the experience of the mystery unfolding the first time you read and then of reading it again to see the clues that were missed the first time.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
Whodunit #5
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
NINE LIARS by Maureen Johnson is the fifth book in the Truly Devious series that sends us back into Stevie’s hijinks as she tries to figure out what’s next. Sensing she may have some time, David, who’s across the pond, arranges for Stevie and her friends to come over for a study abroad week, and while there, Stevie gets introduced to an unsolved murder. All of a sudden, she finds herself in the midst of a complicated riddle: the double-murder took place in the 90s at a country estate where nine friends went to celebrate their college graduation. Two people never made it out of there. In an unexpected turn of events, the deeper Stevie gets into the case, the more she may have to compromise her relationships if she wants to find the answer.

The structure of the book starts off flipping between Stevie’s group of friends in the present, and the Nine at the time of the murder. In that way, the stories run parallel to one another, allowing readers to find eerie similarities, and more importantly, differences. On one side, I really love this setup as the Nine are fun and seemingly ideal friends. I did miss them when their chapters disappeared. That being said, incorporating their storyline the way the author does from the beginning makes it a slower start, especially in the first couple of chapters as it’s a lot of information very fast.

Once Stevie gets to London, everything changes. The pace picks up, and I became very invested in her storyline, and the rest of the characters from present time, particularly Izzy and Angela. I would love to read more in this setting, and it seems like I may get that wish as so much is left unfinished by the end. While I do wish there was a bit more conclusiveness to wrap this particular book up, I am very much looking forward to what’s next. I have so many questions!

Overall, readers who want a contemporary Agatha Christie vibe, sprinkled with some long-distance relationship drama will really like NINE LIARS.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0
fabulous new mystery featuring Stevie Bell
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
NINE LIARS is a thrilling and consuming YA mystery that follows Stevie Bell on a new case. I think I have said it with every single new installment from this series, but this might be the best one yet! Stevie and her friends are dealing with college applications and making big life decisions, but Stevie feels a bit directionless. She has a knack for solving cold cases, but she is not sure about what she wants to do with her life more broadly. As she toils through schoolwork, she gets a call from her boyfriend, David, who is studying abroad in London. He wants her to come visit and has the perfect guise under which to do it, as a mini course on the history of London.

Stevie and friends get the approval to do their course, as long as they stick very strictly to the schedule they proposed and check in regularly. Once there, Stevie is excited to see David and have their relationship progress - but with jet lag, this is easier thought than done. Not long after arriving, she also meets his friend Izzy, whose Aunt Angela was at a party with her eight close friends and theatre troupe in 1995 when two of them were murdered with an axe, presumably by a burglary gone wrong. However, Angela has always known that the facts did not add up. Once Stevie begins to hear about the case, she cannot get it out of her head - and when Angela goes missing, she knows she wants to help to solve it.

With limited amount of time in London, Stevie works the cold case, while also managing her relationship and friendships - not always very well.

What I loved: This was an absolutely gripping case that pulls the reader in from the start. As per the past books, while the majority is told from Stevie's perspective in the present, the story flashes back to the time of the murder, giving context and personalities to the individuals whose cases she is investigating. This one pulls the reader into the eccentric lives of nine friends who had formed a theatre group together and lived together. Their lives during college were very insular, and so, this party was something full of drama and intrigue with something more sinister lurking in the background.

Stevie had a limited amount of time to solve the case, as their trip to London was designed to be short. Luckily, Angela had been investigating on her own, so there were key details already present. With the way her mind works and the way the conversations unfolded, the solving was itself very gripping and made it quite the page-turner, as the reader tries to ascertain what exactly happened in 1995 and which lies have been buried. The pace on this one is just right, leading to the reveal that the reader will not have seen coming!

Aside from the case, Stevie is also dealing with relationships - mainly the progressing romantic entanglement with David and the complicated friendships that she values. Stevie feels ready to take the next step with David, but now that she is in London, she experiences the life he has been living without her, and she feels something new - jealousy about his close female friend. At the same time, she also experiences confusion over the way he goes hot and cold.

Meanwhile, she has her very best friends along for the ride, but they are obsessing over college, something Stevie feels confused about herself. While she becomes fixated on the case and her own drama, they are each going through their own things. Stevie is learning about the value of honesty and what it means to accept and be there for her friends when they need her as well. Friendship is really a two-way street, and Stevie is stumbling along the way as she figures it out. Luckily, good friends are there are there to help guide her through her stumbles.

Major themes include friendship (both in the case and for Stevie), complicated feelings, misdirection, morality, honesty, and persistence. Some of these are carried throughout the series, but they remain ones that will resonate with the intended audience. While the main plot is wrapped up, there is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end related to Stevie's personal life, and it definitely will leave readers screaming! The next installment cannot come soon enough.

Final verdict: NINE LIARS is a thrilling new story featuring Stevie, a cold case, and a gripping mystery. Highly recommend for fans of suspense, detective work, and a clever and intrepid heroine! While it does help to have read the series in order to have formed the connections with the main characters, readers could pick up this one as a stand-alone due to the new case and recaps of key information from the past.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 2 0

User reviews

1 review
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0(1)
Characters
 
5.0(1)
Writing Style
 
5.0(1)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A(0)
Already have an account? or Create an account
Maureen Johnson keeps striking gold.
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Each one is a good as the previous or slightly better, with not a single book in the Truly Devious series being less than good. I love the twists needed, the lies woven plus a good few murders to make the plot interesting. I did not guess the killer but I did realise the Whisky hunt was a bit of a Chekov's gun. The change in scenery was refreshing and reminded me of Johnson's Shades of London series.
What an ending! Cruel but brilliant. I could guess what Stevie's reaction would be but I want to know more.
I cannot wait for the inevitable sequel that is needed. However, it seems that it could be any easy place for where to close the series. People heading off into their own futures.
Good Points
A true grand reveal with brilliant plot twists.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0