The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle
eBook review copy; 352 pages
hardcover ISBN-13: 9780062407498
The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle is a highly recommended novel of suspense, secrets, and betrayals.
Roy Courtnay has met his latest target through a dating website and is
having lunch with Betty McLeish, a wealthy widow. As the novel unfolds
it becomes unmistakable that Roy, a lifelong confidence man now in his
eighties, has chosen Betty as his latest and last target and plans to
try and swindle or deceive her in some way. Quickly he inserts himself
into Betty's life and moves in with her.
Roy's intentions are not good. This is distinctly evident because most
of the novel deals with Roy's life. Searle alternates chapters from the
present day with Roy and Betty to
Roy's past, starting with the more recent past and going back in time.
Roy's character, or lack thereof, is clearly portrayed over time. He is a
con artist, but he is also a sociopath. The lies he has told are
enumerated, his manipulation of others is revealed, his ill-intentions
over the years are uncovered, and the scams he has pulled over the years
But Betty, when talking to Stephen, her grandson, makes remarks that
leave subtle hints of an agenda of her own. It is not until Roy's story
goes back far enough that Betty's hidden agenda is disclosed.
There is suspense in the present day story with Roy and Betty, but most
of the novel is a character study of Roy while it divulges his past sins
and schemes. The structure of The Good Liar, telling Roy's life
story while moving back in time, is clever and interesting, but it
started to drag-out too long for me and made the pace feel too slow. For
me, the chapters dealing with Roy's past schemes could have been
abbreviated and I would still have the information I needed about his
I found the current day situation between Roy and Betty much more
intriguing than the numerous cons in Roy's past. However, the ending is
well worth the wait and the final revelations are unexpected. Betty is
the far more interesting character, but we learn so little about her
until the end.
The writing is quite good in this debut novel. Fans of historical
fiction may also enjoy this novel of suspense because of the flashbacks
in time in Roy's life.
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of
this book from the publisher and TLC for review purposes. TLC TOUR SCHEDULE