The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle – 4*s

The Good Liar


This is a life told back to front.

This is a man who has lied all his life.

Roy is a conman living in a small English town, about to pull off his final con. He is going to meet and woo a beautiful woman and slip away with her life savings. But who is the man behind the con?

What has he had to do to survive a life of lies?

And who has had to pay the price?

The blurb relays the plot from the outset, namely that Roy is a conman about to pull off his final con. His intention being to going to meet, woo and dupe a beautiful woman out of her life savings. What it doesn’t prepare you for is discovering how he reaches this point.

I found the book quite slow to start with, largely due to scene setting and getting used to what at first appeared a jumpy format. Essentially the contemporary story of Roy and his target Betty, is told going forward but the intervening chapters reveal Roy’s life story going back. However once I’d settled in I was hooked. I’ve no intention of giving spoilers, but Roy really is an unpleasant, self seeking character and you find yourself really wanting him at some stage to get his comeuppance.

Roy has always been calculating and played the long game and you do begin to wonder whether he’s left this final con just a little bit late at the age of 80. Throughout there is a hint that Betty may also not be what she seems which ups the ante in discovering whether Roy will succeed in his plan and how things play out for Betty. It’s an ambitious plot and exceedingly well written to keep all the elements under control. Snippets of information are revealed throughout until we reach the final big reveal and it is a BIG reveal that I didn’t see coming. Once that is out in the open the current situation falls into place but there’s still a final little unanticipated twist.

It’s a great plot, well told and at times it’s hard to believe this a debut novel, it certainly bodes well for future books.

I received a free copy via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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