Sunday, January 20, 2019

Once a Liar

Once a Liar by A.F. Brady
Park Row Books: 1/29/19
eBook review copy; 384 pages
ISBN-13: 9780778369974

Once a Liar by A.F. Brady is a highly recommended thriller.

Peter Caine is an eminent, successful Manhattan defense attorney. He is handsome and charming to those he meets, those who could be some use to him, but Peter is, in reality, a sociopath with no remorse, guilt, or shame for any of his actions. His life and career have been carefully constructed on a foundation of lies and the certainty that he deserves more. 

When his ex-wife, Julianne, dies, Jamie, the estranged son Peter gave up custody of and has no relationship with, comes to live with Peter and Claire, his current girlfriend. Peter has been living with Claire for eight years while simultaneously having an on-going affair with Charlie (Charlotte), the step-daughter of his arch nemesis, New York County DA Harrison Doyle. In fact, it was his on and off affair with Charlie that broke up his marriage. When Charlie is found murdered, the evidence increasingly seems to point to Peter's guilt.

As the narrator of Once a Liar, Peter Caine is an intensely dislikeable character. The story, through Peter's eyes, follows events from the past and present and offers insight into his character, or lack thereof. Peter is a very well-developed character, even as his integrity is increasingly in question and his sociopathy becomes progressively clear as the plot advances. He is an unreliable narrator, but an honest one based on his point-of-view.

Once a Liar is a well-written novel, especially in terms of the character development of Peter. Initially Brady doles out interesting insight into Peter's back story and character, which grips your attention, but then the pace of the novel slows for a bit in the middle. Keep reading, however, because all the little insights will matter and the pace quickly picks up again. The ending twist is great. Some readers might guess parts of it, but probably not the complete picture. This is a very satisfying thriller.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Park Row Books.

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